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Man-breasts and boob jobs

March 18, 2009

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.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Textual Fury permalink
    March 22, 2009 9:09 pm

    Thank you for this Essay. I am Cisgendered and female, yet, some of what you said strikes home. The universal truth of body acceptance is so beautifully explained here. I have sent an email to a male friend, also cisgendered, who is dealing with a very similar set of issues with in his own body.



  2. March 22, 2009 9:36 pm

    I know how you feel, but in reverse. I’m a transwoman, and am often annoyed at the slowness of the physical changes brought on by hormones.

    Somebody recently asked me what it meant, since, hey, I’m a woman anyway, but yeah, it just really bugs me not being femme enough.

  3. sr. Rago permalink
    March 26, 2009 2:10 am

    Esto quiere decir que ya habías entendido lo que estaba intentando hacerte entender. ¡Hurra! (relativo, porque es difícil decidir si adquirir la conciencia de nuestra debilidad constituye buenas o malas noticias).

    • genderkid permalink*
      March 26, 2009 4:02 pm

      Estabas conectado a las 2:10 de la mañana?!
      Como sea; yeye =)

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