I turn heads. People talk about me. My presence garners lots of attention. I love it, so why would I want to be invisible? When I was a fledgling T-Girl though, I absolutely hated attention, because it meant I was being clocked, that I wasn't invisible, that I didn't pass.
I have come a long way since those early days, however, and thankfully I no longer cling to the troublesome notion of having to pass. Okay, I am not naive. I do realize that many transwomen need to pass because if they don't it might affect a relationship or their ability to find work and in some cases, it might even cause them physical harm. It is so sad that in today's society transwomen are actual murdered because they failed to live up to someone else's standard of what a woman needs to look like. Yes, the bar is often unreasonably high for transwomen, where beauty standards are concerned, so I don't discount anyone's need to pass, but for me, it is no longer a concept I'm going to let hold me back.
In fact, it wasn't until I let go of the need to pass that I found true freedom of expression, freedom to be myself without being concerned about what others were thinking. And something else happened, something quite surprising. I discovered that without carrying the burden of needing to pass, that my feminine personality flowed more freely and more easily. By not trying so hard to blend in, I was actually blending in better than ever.
Again, I realize that my view on the subject of passing may not sit well with everyone, but as a part-time woman, it has been quite effective for me. Thinking back on it, I find myself surprised by how negatively passing was impacting my self-esteem. I, like so many other transwomen, and cis women for that matter, had become a slave to our society's beauty myth. I bought into the idea that to truly become the woman I wanted to be, I needed to ascribe to the social standards of feminine beauty.
When I looked in the mirror and didn't see a fashion model staring back at me, it kept making me think there may not have been a woman inside of me after all. What a sad thought, that my self-worth would be based on some artificial concept of feminine beauty. I can only believe that other women struggle with self-esteem for the same reason.
When I finally recognized that I was trying to live up to someone else's beauty standard instead of my own, it was an important distinction that contributed to my liberation. After all, passing is really all about measuring up to someone else's standard. If you just refuse to accept that arbitrary standard, then you free yourself of that need to pass Ultimately, the only person you must satisfy anyway, is yourself.
Today, when I go out into the world as a woman, I'm self-confident and I'm fulfilled, and it's all because I've stopped trying to measure myself against an aesthetic appearance standard that is not achievable for all but a few. Instead, I focus on the attributes I've been given. Those, coupled with my internal beauty make me all the woman I need to be. And not so surprisingly, when I feel beautiful and confident those around me recognize it. Oh, why would I ever want to be invisible?
|Leslie Marlowe gets femulated in the 1967 film She-Man.|