Man-breasts and boob jobs
I used to be critical of women who wanted bigger breasts. I felt they were superficial and I mentally accused them of buying into the media’s beauty standards. Then I became aware of my own breasts and discovered the possibility of FtM top surgery; and I think I finally understood.
When I started binding, I was ecstatic about my new appearance; but whenever I became conscious of the bandages against my chest, I’d feel sick to the stomach: I thought that, as long as I had those things, I wasn’t a real boy. At best, I was a deformed male; at worst, I was a monster.
As I became more comfortable with my transmale identity –and my transmale body– I started seeing myself in a different light. I can now look at my bare torso in the mirror and I see a boy, even though I still don’t like my chest. I think this newfound comfort is related to my internalization of the idea that genders and sexes are constructed. Lots of men have boobs, whether they’re trans or cis. I started paying attention to the men I cross every day: some guys’ breasts are almost as big as mine.
Maybe the reason I don’t like my tits is that the ideal men portrayed in the media –TV, magazines, even biology textbooks– have flat chests, just like most women who are shown as “pretty” have big boobs. If that’s true, then I shouldn’t blame myself or people who want boob jobs for disliking our breasts: we’re just on the bad end of societal expectations. (And I shouldn’t be critical of anyone’s feelings, anyway; that’s kind of mean.) We can challenge those expectations, but they still deeply affect us.
Thinking all of this doesn’t make me like my breasts any more, though. I can tolerate them, at least for now, which is definitely better than hating them; but if chest reconstruction would make me happier and more comfortable in my body, then I hope I’m able to have it someday. The personal may be political, but at some point taking care of myself becomes more important than challenging the gender binary.