Trans Women; Fetish or Fashion Statement?
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Politics and Activism

Trans Women; Fetish or Fashion Statement?

Hint; it's neither.

Trans Women; Fetish or Fashion Statement?

If the title of this article upset you, good. If the subtitle of this article upset you, then consider the following tailored just for you.

A lot of the “discourse” around trans women being women stems from the idea that their identity is somehow a fetish; that they’re just men who get off on dressing/acting like a woman. There’s a number of issues with this, not least that asexual trans women exist, but also with the narrative that feminine=sexual. Society has a long history of sexualizing everything women do and now that’s evolved to basic femininity being sexual within itself. A woman in a dress with makeup on is seen as more sexual than a woman with no makeup in pants and a shirt despite the fact that both could have the same “coverage”. (As shown below.) We also view the “shape” of a woman as sexual. Women with large chests and wide hips are default seen as more sexual than women with flat chests and narrow hips. The latter type of woman can wear things without facing scorn, while the former must dress MORE conservatively in order to avoid people’s stares or comments.

The above photo is of a news anchor who was criticized for dressing “inappropriately” for her job despite the fact that her outfits covered most of her body merely because the outfits were also form-fitting and she’s a “curvy” woman. This isn’t as much of issue for many women dubbed “fat” by society, though, because the issue lays in the hip to waist to chest ratio being seen as sexual. Fat women’s bodies are policed in other ways but that’s another topic for another time. If we accept the fact that women’s bodies, and by extension, “female” or feminine bodies are seen as sexual, we can start to understand why trans women are accused of having a fetish rather than simply being themselves.

Oftentimes, people assigned female at birth who go through puberty as females and develop young, or simply develop more than is “average” will have to deal with being told their outfits are “inappropriate” despite having worn the same outfit before puberty hit with no issues.

When it comes to male bodies, oftentimes nudity is no problem, even in strange settings. A young boy taking his shirt off on the playground *might* be told off, but a young girl doing the same will cause a *scene* despite the fact that the skin being shown is no different. BUT. “Acceptable nudity” changes when the WAY the boy is dressed/not dressed is feminine. A boy in a crop top at the beach will garner more stares than a boy who’s shirtless. This is partially due to femininity being seen as weak/shameful but the sexualization of femininity is closely tied to the shame society puts on feminine things. The fact that sex is private and secret and should be kept out of sight and the fact that women are inherently sexual creatures and femininity is sexual and the fact that women are shamed for their bodies and sexuality are all interlocked.

So. When a boy, or anyone perceived as a boy, begins to dress femininely? It MUST be sexual. Gay culture is seen as sexualized and adult in part due to gay men often breaking gender roles and behaving in a way that society has designated as feminine. It’s the reason that so often the complaint about “inappropriate behavior” or “the gays cramming it down our throats” or “what will I tell my children” often revolves around the sight of two men being affectionate with each other in public, or one man behaving “gay” (Code word for feminine, and vice versa.)

Drag is another huge part of this. Strip clubs and brothels market women in a very specific way, and drag clubs often mimics the burlesque/strip club feel. It’s not often you see a drag queen in a muumuu reading Hemingway as a performance. (But it does happen.) Instead, you see a scantily clad/glammed up performer making d*ck jokes. It breaks the societal taboo of sex being a secret and femininity being a shameful thing that women are resigned to but men should avoid at all costs because they CAN (the lucky bastards).

But. The men that don’t? The men that wear makeup or skirts or jewelry, or hell, tight pants? SHAME. SHOCK. SCANDAL. It’s seen as lewd and disgraceful and they’re told to keep it in the bedroom. Why? Women are afforded SOME leeway with their dress. They’re usually expected to perform to some ideal of femininity. Butch women are shamed for not performing to a certain standard that society has set for them. Sure, women can wear pants and have short hair but they’d BETTER look PRETTY while DOING IT. Why? Because it marks them as lesser. They have no CHOICE. If they want to find a mate and succeed in this world they have to look good, but not TOO good or they’ll be dismissed as a vain whore.

Men? As long as they’re relatively clean, there are very few standards that the average man must adhere to in order to succeed. Sure, there are standards for attractiveness, but not for day to day life! A man isn’t expected to wear makeup and style his hair every morning before he goes to work! He can shave his head and have a unibrow and still be seen as a competent worker.

But a woman in a button down and slacks with a buzzcut and no makeup? Nope. Must be a lesbian. And a slob. And what if, *gasp* a MAN shows up in MAKEUP with his HAIR STYLED? Gay and probably too focused on his looks to succeed. And should a “man” step forward and say ”I am a woman”

A) they're forced to prove it by performing to standards of femininity far past what cis women are expected to do

B) they're dismissed as crossdressers who pretend to be women for the sexual thrill.Why aren’t trans men called out as fetishistic? Why aren’t drag KINGS as popular as drag queens? Why aren’t women who wear suits told to keep it in the bedroom, cause they’re scaring the children with their inappropriate and public sexual fantasies? The double standard is more like a quadruple standard. If trans women don’t wear makeup and skirts and heels at all times they’re just faking it. If they DO it’s a fetish. And trans men? Well, they’re just in it for the POWER. They dress and act like men because we want to be STRONG and PRIVILEGED. All of it is bullshit. Dressing up and feeling sexy is FUN. I feel bad for the men who will never know the power that comes with hearing your high heels clack on a marble floor. I pity the cis women who think that’s the ONLY way they can feel powerful. I pity the people who think that dresses and skirts are inherently feminine rather than just being fun and swishy. I pity everyone who has to adhere to gender roles in order to survive.
There’s no ending moral to this besides me reminding you to respect trans people and abolish gender roles.
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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