Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Non-Civilians in Womanless World

Jasmine Bond commented on my previous post:
“Womanless events was something I never heard of until I've been reading your blog. This concept is somewhat interesting but perplexing and I would like to learn more about them. Without having done the research, it seems like these events were not necessarily pro-trans but a way to exclude women and treat them like second class citizens, an unfortunate dynamic that has been too long a part of our culture. Just as unfortunate, this still exists today with women earning less for the exact same jobs as their male counterparts. While there is a certain appeal for the woman in me in that these events occurred, I also can't help feel that they were a way to suppress women. It's too bad that we don't have events like these that promote trans women and are supported by cis women who would provide education, a loving environment and support to trans women like us. I'd be interested in hearing your take, Stana, on my thoughts.”
I have never attended or participated in a civilian womanless event. However, I have seen countless videos and thousands of photos documenting womanless beauty pageants, weddings, fashion shows, etc.

I am of two minds regarding womanless events.

The Bad

I hate the way some of the participants parody women. Shaking their asses, flaunting their boobs and in general, acting like boobs is disrespectful of women. Is that how they think their wives, mothers and sisters act?

I find it difficult to believe that any wife or mother would be OK with their husband or son acting that way. The audiences seem to be very amused by the antics of some of the participants, which doesn’t say much for how the audience respects women, too.

By the way, the younger the womanless participant, the more respectful they seem to be. Grammar school “girls” are well-behaved ladies compared to their middle and high school sisters.

The Good

Womanless events give non-civilians an opportunity to express their feminine side in public with a safety net – the safety net being the event itself where it is OK for guys to be girls temporarily.

I recall my high school’s basketball team crossdressing to perform in my school’s annual Irish Minstrel. I was so jealous and wished I had the opportunity to do the same in public with some kind of safety net. If my school had a womanless event, I believe that I would have mustered the courage to be a participant and I feel that most non-civilians would be similarly inclined.

Womanless events have their good side and their bad side. Does the bad side outweigh the good side? I dunno, but from the perspective of a non-civilian, I believe I would put up with the bad to take advantage of the good.

Source: WhoWhatWear
Source: WhoWhatWear

Austin High School, Decatur, Alabama, 1985
Austin High School, Decatur, Alabama, 1985
As I wrote in my previous post, I killed my flickr account (for economic reasons). Besides a handful of personal photos, the account also included thousands of photos from womanless events that Starla culled from school yearbooks. 

To make up for that loss, I decided to feature some of Starla’s photos in this new “Not a Civilian?” slot. 

During the next 25 posts, I intend to sort through all of the photos in alphabetical order (alphabetized by school name) and each day, feature the “girl” who in my humble opinion, is most likely not a civilian (just like you and me). Boys who dress up as girls on Halloween get 2 bonus points and boys who attend proms en femme get 5 bonus points. On the other hand, boys with leg hair, lose 2 points and boys with facial hair lose 10 points.

Kicking off “Not a Civilian?” with the letter A is the lovely Johnny McLemore from Austin High in Decatur, Alabama.


  1. "I have never attended or participated in a civilian womanless event."
    Yes you have... Busted Fashion Show September 2007

    1. Actually, I modeled once at Fantasia Fair and twice at the TransAdvocacy Coalition fashion shows, but those weren’t “civilian” events. The former was a trans event and the latter, an LGBT event. Nothing like a womanless fashion show in high school. LOL

  2. AnonymousMay 05, 2020

    1. I think that your term "safety net" speaks volumes. So many times I watched civilians dress for Halloween but I never dared for fear it would lead to suspicions about my deepest secret. The first time this happened that I can put a date on was when I was nine years old. I was SO jealous of the boy who came to the cub scout pack meeting in his sister's clothes and a wig. I too had sisters, but I didn't have the nerve. Also, I doubt he had anything to hide.

    2. I'm not sure we should take womanless events into the deeper realms of gender studies, and for two reasons. First, I have been involved in a lot of non-profits and volunteer organizations and these strike me as a near-perfect fundraising device. If people will pay money to see boys they know dressed up it looks like pure profit. I'm guessing the contestants provide their own dresses, heels, wigs makeup, etc. so the overhead is almost nothing. Beats the things like travelling Donkey Basketball teams they had when I was young, where you split the gate with a promoter. Second, the gender studies folks might better spend their time figuring out how it is we live in a culture where we proclaim equality of the sexes but even ardent feminists seem to reflexively laugh at the sight of a man in a dress.

  3. Don't forget that at the same time that womanless events were popular, especially in the early 20th Century, there were a lot of manless events too, such as women dressing as all the participants in a wedding, or women dressing as their male counterparts in colleges or even workplaces. Sue x

  4. AnonymousMay 06, 2020

    how about three slots including slot of femulator

  5. Johnny M Oh Yes not a civilian!!!

    Just a comment on woman less pageants and the parody and mocking,What they are saying is When a male dresses and acts as a woman they are lowering themselves.

    When a woman dresses as a man aka they are tom-boys something good.

    How many times have you heard a woman brag about being a tomboy

    Never have you heard a man proclaim he is a sissy

    We don't even have a positive term for a man who is feminine

  6. Thank you, Stana, for taking the time to answer my post with some insightful information. Now that you mention it, we did have the Junior/Senior Pom Pom game at my high school, where the girls played flag football and the boys dressed up as cheerleaders. Yes, I was in heaven both of those years and remember one classmate, who is not trans, shaving his legs for the event in our senior year! While some of the boys mimicked females, I don't remember it being in a bawdy or derogatory way. I, on the other hand, allowed the girl in me to be free because I was being "permitted" to show, albeit it only for one night, my feminine side without repercussions. Such was the misfortune to having grown up in a very rural and conservative environment in the 1980s.

    I completely agree with your assessment on the "good" and the "bad" as you noted above, so thank you again for your comments. And, Paula_56, your statement, while being so, so sad, is also so, so true.

  7. I love looking through those womanless beauty contests in schools and I let myself go back in time and picture myself in one of those contests. My mother was such a perfectionist that I'm sure I would have looked like a girl and have been coached to act the part. Dream on, right?

    But looking at these photos and videos over many years I've noticed some changes. Early on the events were very much males parodying females. "Non-civilians" were the exception. But as we've moved on in time there has been much more respect shown toward females. There are many more girls involved in these events and I think it's clear they're working to have the boys be a reflection of them rather than parodies. Having boys' sports teams doing the dressing is still lagging but even that is moderating. Perhaps the prevalence of Drag and crossdressing on TV and in films has helped. But I think the "Me Too" movement has caused people to show more respect toward women and treating them like parody clowns is finally being seen as wrong.

    So I'm good with continuing these school contests. Let the boys be pretty. Let the girls make the boys over to reflect a female image that might well win the prize. And let these contests be another way to give the schools an opportunity to promote respect for all students. And let the images let my imagination take me back in time.

  8. Sally StoneMay 06, 2020

    Jasmine, You've made an interesting observation regarding the motivations behind womanless pageants. It's thought provoking, but it would be an interesting research project to determine just what it is that makes these types of events so popular. While I suspect there may be some belittling of women going on, the sheer number of these events, and the lengths contestants go to, to look beautiful, points to some other motivation. I'm real curious to know just what it is.

    1. It certainly would, Sally. Seems to me that nearly all of the photos I've seen are at least 20 or more years old. Does anyone know if these pageants still take place today?

    2. Womanless pageants are alive and well. Search YouTube for womanless pageants and limit your search to the most recent uploads and you will see the recent pageants in living color.

  9. AnonymousMay 07, 2020

    For most people a womanless pageant is the only chance they will get to what it is like to be a girl
    They can go as far as they like into female mode
    Halloween they have to stay as men dressed as women

  10. My mom wanted a girl, she got me Nathan. Dad left shortly after I was born.
    I was the first boy in seventh grade to have non-traditional boys hair. It was in a girly page boy.
    I was thirteen, mom started dressing at home. Starting that summer school holidays We went to a town of 50,009 people. I was dressed and given the name Nancy.
    She dressed as Nancy 24/7. The town only knew me as her daughter.
    I told I enjoyed being dressed and being in public as a girl.
    The town was very liberal being the seventies
    They had a large Womanless Beauty Pageant. 13-18, 19-29, 30-45, 46-60.
    Mom entered me, the town then knew I was a feminized boy. I was the only contestant that wore dresses outside the pageant.
    I entered every year till I was eighteen. I won twice.
    When I was fifteen I don't know how she did it. I went to a different school as Nancy.
    Mom enrolled me as a contestant in many other pageants. I meet a girl, she was helping out at the pageant. She was 21 and me 19.
    She was interested in having a boyfriend dressed as a woman. Womanless Beauty Pageant is turn on for the male participates.

  11. I came across this website and found the topic of womanless pagents interesting in that I have dressed as a girl since I was 13 years old. I wished we had events like this when I was in highschool. I so wanted to be a cheerleader and attend school in my uniform leading the school rally.

    I am a closet crossdresser and finnaly did the Halloween thing in my early 20's. I donned a blond wig along with a pink sweater and a denim miniskirt shaved my legs and put on sheer pantyhose. I was very nervous to start and went to a bar that was having a costume contest. I must have been passible as I had guys asking me to dance and buying me drinkes. I was getting hit on. I quickly became very comfortable in my skirt and heels dancing the night away. I did not win the costume contest but came in 2nd.