The Chest Is Always Flatter…

DK was the latest to post something about the hazards of being misgendered by others. Because DK is an awesome storyteller, it is, of course, a good read. I was surprised, though, by the feelings it (and Bond’s post on the topic) brought up for me. Specifically one feeling: envy.

Especially now that I’ve cut my hair short, donated to Goodwill four huge Hefty bags full of “girly” clothes I haven’t worn in years, switched completely to boxers and men’s jeans, and acknowledged that this is who I am, I find myself envying my friends who have more masculine physiques. Of course I roll my eyes at the people who mistreat them, and offer sympathy to their tales of being thrown out of women’s restrooms, hassled at the gym, and all the other social awkwardness that comes with being misgendered, but there’s a part of me that wishes someone would one day mistake me for a “sir”, that a child at Safeway would say in a stage whisper, “Mom, that guy has blue hair!” instead of “that lady.”

I wish I didn’t feel like I was treading on corns around some of my male friends whenever I claim some aspect of masculinity for myself. I wish I didn’t feel like such an imposter all the time.


I wish I had tiny flat breasts, or no breasts at all. I’m grateful beyond measure that I have narrow hips and broad shoulders, but the boobs are my Waterloo. If I could even find a binder big enough for me, I’d still likely end up with the dreaded “monoboob”.

How petty is that? How petty I feel, when my friends are struggling with what is a real problem, and I’m sitting here silently thinking, “I wish that was me.”

But there it is. I do wish it was me. I wish I was more me on the outside. I wish I was masculine looking enough that I could wear my favorite watermelon-colored men’s sweatshirt and not look girly. I wish I could be part of the club, instead of on the outside looking in, when my butch friends live their butch lives.

Maybe this is just a phase. I mean, up until I finally went ahead and cut my hair, I told myself I was happy being in the middle, neither butch nor femme. But this isn’t about being butch, so much, as being female. And that’s the other ugly little secret. I’ve never been happy being female.

Actually I’ve been trying to find some MtF blogs to read, to try to understand how on earth a person could want to be female. Is that tragic? Yet I’m aware there are aspects of being female that I love. I love, for example, the safety of women’s spaces. I love the fact that friends I’ve made online can get together with me without fear. I love my facility with emotions, and with words and language, which science says are at least somewhat due to the female architecture of my brain.

There are trappings of femininity I love, too: dangling earrings, painted toenails, bright colors, soft fabrics. Why are men’s clothes so drab? I love being free to get teary at the movies, the license I have to watch a chick flick when I want to, and the right to order and drink a Cosmo in public. I love being free to smile at a kid in the store, or help a lost child, without a public assumption that I’m likely to be a pedophile.

But that’s kind of the end of it. There are aspects to female privilege I enjoy, but I would trade them all away, I think, if it were easy to do so.

Your thoughts?


~ by Nezu on 31 March 2010.

9 Responses to “The Chest Is Always Flatter…”

  1. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve always considered you butch. Because I’m willing to erase others’ declared identities as I see fit. Because I’m an ass.
    Maybe because I’m one of those ‘lucky’ flat-chested butches (they do call boobs “the curse”, after all) I found myself getting comfortable being female for the first time. Trying to be feminine, *that’s* when I felt like an imposter.
    The best you can do is find out what makes you most comfortable that particular day. If you want to try binding or disguising your breasts, why not go for it? Normally I wouldn’t ever advocate it, but ace bandages are a cheap way of experimenting (they’re about $2 in Canada), though not for the long-term and with care not to bind too tightly.

    Re: the drab men’s clothes, I totally feel that. But fortunately at least the younger ‘men’ seem in to bright colours–pinks, greens, blues–for their dress shirts; big, graphic, colourful designs for t-shirts and so-on, which is a godsend for me. I can’t do blah.

    • Actually… It does make me feel better. Thanks. And if you’re an ass, well, I think you’re the sort of ass I’d be happy to call friend.

      I’ve ace-bandage bound before, for a theatre production in which I was playing a man. And I’ve worn the OMG SO TIGHT sports bra in a size or so too small. With that one it’s the ouch factor that holds me back. I think if I wanted to get serious about it, I could probably get an actual binder made for big barrel-chested me. I just have to decide to get serious about it.

      Totally yes re: young men’s clothes. I’m about to shop for something to wear to some friends’ wedding. Need to find a formal dress shirt with some awesomeness to it, and plan to head to the young men’s sections straight away.

      Anyway, thanks. I was in a crummy mood, and you helped me out of it.

      • Aww, you’re welcome buddy. Hey, I’m shopping for a wedding too! And my graduation. I don’t know where you’re at, but I’m eyeing up Le Chateau. Lots of bright coloured dress shirts, and a good selection of vests and pocket squares, too. And i found the bitchin’-est shoes at Payless (which carries size 5 men’s shoes!!!), but I didn’t buy them yet.
        My partner is another one of those “cursed” gender-variant folks, she finds layers and loose-but-not-baggy clothes help quite a bit, too.

  2. One of my friends, a poet you have met. once commented on a similar subject when I told her I had given up on wearing bras. She told me to wear vests. They did not bind and they make hide boobs quite well. Another possible item in your new wardrobe?

  3. If it helps, there are a lot of butch women with large chests. I’ve seen pictures. I dated one. šŸ˜‰ It doesn’t make you less butch; it just means you have some new things to deal with. People out there have dealt with it before, and might even have some pointers. *hugs* Good luck.


    • You’re not kidding, JB. *grins*

      Likewise, Nez, if you still manage to genderqueer sucessfully despite the double-Ds, you damn sure know you’re doing something right.

  4. I’ve just found and started reading your blog. I also have a large chest, and a very feminine body. I do have big shoulders, but I definitely have an ass and oh boy, do I ever have hips. My mother has often remarked that I’m the easiest woman to shop for in the world, because my body is the type that off the rack clothes are trying to fit. I feel terrible sometimes that I’ve rejected so many biological “gifts” that I’ve been “lucky” to receive. Despite the body, I feel butch anyway. And I’ve met femmes who are police officers with no asses, narrow hips, and shoulders so big that they are forced to shop in the men’s section. And they still feel femme. And then, I know lots of people of all different types of bodies who are never going to identify with any of these words.

    I also enjoy bright colors!

    • Hey welcome! Is it wrong that the first thing I though on reading this is – where can I meet these femme police women? *grins* I’m finding myself inhabiting the concept of butch more comfortably these days, surprising myself at how swiftly the changes have transpired with my haircut. Thanks for the encouragement. It’s good to hear from a fellow traveler.

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