A bit of help with this please...(27 Posts)
I have a friend who was born a man and is transitioning to female. I understand this is something that this person wants to do and if she wants to live life as a female that is fine.
My issue is that the clothes that she wears are highly-sexual, she wears french maid outfits on stage and while out in the street busking and things and I find it as uncomfortable as I would anyone wearing such overly sexual outfits I suppose but what really gets to me is that this is a person who is keen to point out how female they are and yet this is how they chose to do it?
My thoughts are a bit confused about the whole thing and I hope someone understands what I mean. It almost feels like she is saying 'this is how a woman should be' and I find that a bit tough to take.
How about twisting it around a bit to "this is how I (your friend) wants to be a woman."
I've known a few transgender people, though none have been close friends and their taste in clothes has varied widely from fairly androgynous to mini skirts and pink frills for every occasion, the same way that my friendship group of cis women varies in the same way.
In the end it's just clothes.
Yes on a personal level I can accept she like to wear revealing and garish clothing but I when I think about it in any sort of depth I just get really offended at the suggestion that 'a women' is to be portrayed in french maids outfits and this is what to aspire to when becoming 'a woman'
So, does she only wear this type of clothing when she's performing? What does she wear to go down the shops?
She will wear highly provocative sexualised outfits all day sometimes. Sometimes she down plays it but mostly she is dressing up as this sort of caricature of a woman which I find really hard.
I can only imagine that having spent so long in the guise of a man, she wants to be the girliest woman she can. I agree with you that she's taken it several degrees too far, but if it's just her appearance and not her behaviour that's "off" then I'd say there's a good case for letting her follow her heart. Perhaps when the initial thrill of being a woman is over she'll recognise that femininity isn't about clothes.
But thats the thing, I don't know any women who wear such clothing, I know women who wear lots of floaty skirts and some who follow a particular trend like goth or fairy but I don't know any who dress so sexually.
I just think she is missing the point and I find it quite offensive that she thinks to be a woman she has to dress like a drag queen.
I think I am going to see it as her teenage years, she is getting used to hormones after all and hope that it chills out after a while.
It's incredibly sad because it's playing right into the 'Tranny' image which is what many transgender people are desperate to get away from.
I'm 100% with you on this one, nomorequotes - putting aside the gender reassignment issue I would probably have little in comment with a woman who presented herself as highly sexualised. In effect you're making special allowances for your friend, which is kind.
I'm not missing the point of your OP, though, and have no idea how you can get her to tone it down a bit. Your analogy to her teen years is a good one. Either she'll tone it down or you'll get used to her!
I think the teenage analogy is probably right - she's experimenting with who she is, and how to be a woman. What would you say to a daughter of a friend who was doing this? Would you say nothing, or would you quietly say '"Rebelling is fine, but you maybe want to think about the image you're presenting and whether it's what you want" and engage her in conversation about female stereotypes?
It would be unkind to rain on her parade and say she looks like a tranny, but you could encourage her to think about what it is about looking female that she wants.
OP I do get what you mean, but the idea of telling or suggesting to someone that they're being themselves wrong just grates, but then I've had criticism in the past for a lack of femininity so that's my baggage showing I suppose.
I suppose I hadn't thought about how to tell her anything, I am trying hard not to tell her anything really.
I struggle with the idea of gender-reassignment surgery as it is, I struggle with the concept of 'becoming' a woman by removing a penis and making a hole and adding some hormones. I struggle with the reality that I have friends who have begged and pleaded with the doctors because they get bullied because of their nose or because their breasts are so small they cannot buy adult bras and are told that it is 'cosmetic' and nothing can be done to help them whereas a man can say 'I demand to look like a woman' and receive thousands of pounds in treatment to fit that brief.
I think the whole thing is inherently sexist and in many ways an example of men taking what they chose to take and being whatever they want to be (even if that is a woman) while women have to put up with what we were born with.
So I hold that inside me, that duality of respect for this person who I have utmost respect for in many ways but in others I just can't agree with.
Its trying to make myself able to deal with another aspect, this of presenting herself as an overly sexualised 'woman figure' and what that really states about transgender people and in fact mens view of the 'ideal woman'
I want to be open minded and have a variety of friends but I am finding this very difficult. I want to be able to say I am accepting of her and the choices that she has made but so many of them make me uneasy and not least societies reaction to them (to allow it when other things are not allowed when it involves making a woman happy with her appearance) and then I realise I am not as open minded as I would like to believe and that is worrying for me.
I am hoping someone says something that allows me to feel comfortable with it all.
I don't think the teenager analogy is right at all. I don't see teenagers wearing sexualised clothes and certainly not fetish items like french maids outfits (well maybe to a fancy dress party). When teenagers do wear those sorts of clothes in normal life, most people are uncomfortable and wonder if there's something behind it.
You don't have to participate in your friend's sexual fetishes nor support their attempts look like a pornified version of a woman to suit the male gaze. This is not a woman's image of a woman. I have friends who used to be into a fetish scene and they did not parade themselves around in all sorts and expect other people to validate their fetish. It's ridiculously entitled to expect you not only to put up with this but to support and validate it.
I agree with you that the whole thing is inherently sexist. I'm sorry I can't say something that allows you to feel comfortable with it. I wouldn't be comfortable with it either.
teenagers do attempt to 'shock' though don't they and sometimes do dress up as caricatures of 'goths' or 'punks' or what not while they are creating their own style.
Yes I would agree with that but goths or punks are not the same as fetishwear like french maids outfits. Teenage girls have to learn how their bodies are perceived by the male gaze and particularly how to deal with sexual attention from creepy old men. This is a time of life when girls feel the pressure to accommodate the male gaze and the dangers of both failing or accommodating too much. Your friend is not a teenager but it sounds like your friend is aping an image of what would be attractive to the male gaze. French maids are particularly bad given the combination of submissive servant and sex object. I'm deeply uncomfortable with the notion of adults saying they are going through the experience of a teenage girl. They absolutely are not.
she also tries to dress as 'manga' style characters with very short skirts and blue hair etc.
I just find it deeply uncomfortable.
This is not uncommon. I was at a gamer event recently (with my DS, honest!) and the only person in costume was a transwoman dressed in a pornified version of a game character. This game character wasn't even porny in the actual game, unlike a lot of manga characters.
It also reminds me of Paris Lees talking about how validating it is to be groped on the bus. This is not an experience of womanhood but you are expected to go along with this.
Can I just say, someone wearing a French maid's outfit is not this man's idea of the ideal woman. Nor similar revealing, so-called sexy outfits. It's a caricature, and it's sad that your friend chooses to adopt it in his/her attempt to be a woman. How demeaning, I don't blame you at all for being upset by it. Caricatures are easier to deal with than real people. Maybe that's why some men want to turn themselves into one.
I agree with oneeyedbloke, it is fairly offensive to represent as an overly sexualized caricature and demand to be accepted as a woman.
Don't feel bad. You don't have to continue this friendship if it makes you unhappy
If you were black and a white friend said "I am transitioning to a black person," started wearing dark make up, put corn rows in their hair and started speaking in a stereotypically 'black' way, do you think you would be ok with it? Would anyone be ok with that?
Men who are trans expect women to be ok with their 'womanface.' Not only that but they expect women to accept them as actual women, thereby denying women any sort of identity. The level of arrogance and entitlement that attitude takes is staggering.
You find it offensive because it is offensive.
To be clear, I have no problem whatsoever with man wearing traditionally feminine clothes, be that a skirt, a blouse, a french maid's outfit (though if he wears it to the shops he can expect at least some stares).
But for a man to go about his daily business wearing a french maid's outfit and claim that he wears it because he is a woman and that's what women wear is beyond offensive.
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