Struggle with femmeness and feminism

timtam163 Posts: 500 Member
This sounds so sad, but when I was bigger I took comfort in presenting butch. But now that I'm more in shape I enjoy presenting more femme. I hate that fitting heteronormative beauty norms affects how I present/identify, it feels confusing to me and to other people. Anyone else feel like their relationship with their body affects how they let themselves identify?


  • Smiler106
    Smiler106 Posts: 124 Member
    This is an interesting question!

    For me I think it's more about perception. I feel like I don't dress or behave any differently however when I am slimmer people perceive me as more feminine. I think this is because smaller sizes of clothes tend to be better fitted and tailored than larger sizes and I have an hour glass type figure. It does not bother me too much as I don't identify as either butch or femme however I find that when I'm slimmer I more often get mistaken for straight which can be irritating!
  • kylaaimee
    kylaaimee Posts: 21 Member
    YES, When I'm bigger I identify more masculine! Smaller I fall back to presenting feminine. Ive been having a study over the years pretty interesting.
  • Krynderson
    Krynderson Posts: 7 Member
    I love this thread/everyone's responses; I've encountered this as well, though in the opposite direction--when I'm heavier, I'm more femme-presenting. But like, old lady witch femme. When I'm thinner, I like to dress like an effeminate the end of the day, I'm nonbinary af and have trouble finding the Right Clothes for what I'm feeling when I'm not feeling good, regardless of gender presentation!
  • Katzedernacht
    Katzedernacht Posts: 266 Member
    Hmm.. when I was bit fat I wore lose clothes but only cos I didn't like that look, the way I looked. I couldn't care less about styles being "heteronormative" or standard or whatever, I got tattoos so I'm already on the "alternative" side. But yes, once I'm "hotter" I'll dress more and more "alternative girly" I love that stuff anyway.
  • timtam163
    timtam163 Posts: 500 Member
    Interesting responses! Yeah I think part of it is that I perceive myself as more masculine when I'm heavier and more feminine when I'm slimmer but in reality the difference isn't that big.
  • timtam163
    timtam163 Posts: 500 Member
    Speaking as a trans guy with an eating disorder, the one thing I've learned about this is that you need to do whatever makes you feel most comfortable living in your own body. You need to. And yes, sometimes that means you'll end up conforming to a certain ideal just because it's treated with less disdain and it makes your life easier for social reasons. That doesn't make you a "traitor" or anything like that - it just means you're doing what you need to do to survive.

    That said, because of the unholy combination of ED+dysphoria, I don't feel like I'm really allowed to exist until I lose the weight. After all, trans guys are supposed to either be lumberjacks or hot androgynous models, right? Now, on a conscious level, I know that's a load of crap, but...that doesn't mean it doesn't have an impact on me. I try wearing whatever I really feel like wearing, but none of it really feels right because it doesn't look the same on me as it does on a more "ideal" guy...

    It's frustrating.

    Yeah representation in the media is skewed in general, but doubly so for trans people; youtube transmen are almost exclusively skinny young white boys pre-T, then post-T jacked hairy dudes...
  • explodingmango
    explodingmango Posts: 171 Member
    timtam163 wrote: »

    Yeah representation in the media is skewed in general, but doubly so for trans people; youtube transmen are almost exclusively skinny young white boys pre-T, then post-T jacked hairy dudes...

    Same goes on pretty much every social media platform I've used. It's pretty depressing; public social media is supposed to be for sharing the whole wide varied human experience...but it's still only conventionally attractive people who conform to the popular narrative who get noticed. It's even worse on Instagram, and tumblr - god, tumblr. Tumblr is the worst to me just because of how loudly people declare that they're so body-positive and accepting!! ...while doing exactly the same crap as everyone else. The disconnect ends up feeling to me like "All people are beautiful!! Too bad you're not really a person. uwu"

    On top of everything I said before, it makes it hard for me to figure out what I want out of my body, especially since so many of my life goals have a heavy social component. My ideal for myself is somewhere between the two, and I don't know how much of that is just from me vs. how much of that is social, and I wonder how much it even matters to break it down beyond trying to get rid of what comes from my disorder,'s all a mess.
  • armstrongchloe
    armstrongchloe Posts: 43 Member
    I find this post very interesting simply because I am like this without realizing it too
  • dpkolanda
    dpkolanda Posts: 20 Member
    Please stop worrying about social media or what society says we as people should dress like or look like. I understand easier said than done, but look at you. What makes up you? What makes you feel good when you put it on? We all go thru different stages different days different times none the same but dont let that dictate who you are. I dont know any of you but it sounds like you each have a passion and desire to please someone so why not start by pleasing yourself and everything else will come together. Take care of you! You all are awesome! I would love to be friends with any of you. Send me a friend request if you would like.
  • KolleenS
    KolleenS Posts: 33 Member
    It's very hard to get into your own brain and sort out what culture has ingrained in us vs what we would really feel without the socialization. And in the end it doesn't matter as long as you're not disrespecting anyone or yourself. So if you feel more femme when you're light in weight, then go with it.
  • sgriska
    sgriska Posts: 109 Member
    I wouldn't call myself either particularly butch or femme. Kinda fall somewhere in the middle, wear fairly gender-neutral clothes most of the time. I've been heavy all my life, obese since puberty, morbidly so since my early twenties, and I do know from past experience with massive weight loss just how very, very uncomfortable it is when my body starts conforming to a more "feminine" shape and I have to start dealing with crap like the straight male gaze and gender performance pigeonholes people want to shove me into. Not looking forward to going through that again, but my weight is seriously affecting my health as I get older and I don't really have much choice.
  • trezell87
    trezell87 Posts: 5 Member
    I considered myself a hardcore butch lesbian much of my young adult years but as I think about it, it had less to do with my weight and more to do with a lack of control. To me, men are to be feared and therefore being masculine helped to keep me safe. Not necessarily a reality but it helped me get through some tough times. The change for me occurred when I met a woman who saw me as I was. To this day she says she never saw me butch; I had far too feminine qualities and behaviors. She told me this when I cried to her, telling her I didn't want to be "hard" anymore. I was exhausted. She assured me she would love me regardless of whether I sported a faux hawk and facial piercings, or had long hair and girlish clothes. So I just let myself bloom. I lost a lot of weight and became the sexiest little fem around and I felt great! Until I found a mass on my breast. It turned out, I have FATTY BREASTS! Thankfully it wasn't serious but damn if I didn't gain 20 pounds thinking I was dying. I'm a premed student and the first place I went after feeling that mass was my lymph nodes, which happened to also have some knots. So of course, I ate as if I had six months left to live. And even after that passed, the bad eating habits stuck around. I gained everything I had lost. It is now summer and my cute and girlie shorts are like three to four sizes too small. It is hot as hell and I am not about to wear jeans... I am stuck with Nike shorts and tank tops. I feel masculine again but I don't hide my feminine side. It is what it is and I am who I am. Even being thin, if I felt threatened, or I felt my wife was being threatened, in heels I would go butch in a second. Voice goes from Britney to Mr. T, stance changes, the whole bit. I'm a protector, I'm badass, I love my muscles, I love short hair, I miss long hair (until I again get long hair), I like showing up dudes who think I can't outlift them... Why do we have to chose one way? I am very definitely both and each have their own unique gifts and that's freaking okay. Long live the two spirits!!!!!!!!
  • joshmiller602
    joshmiller602 Posts: 6 Member
    It’s possibly because when thinner you feel more beautiful and want to show it off and are less defensive about your appearance. When bigger you may feel more defensive about your appearance (“what are you looking at buddy?”) which can bring on more masculine “don’t mess with me” traits. Also when bigger you can kind of pass off the “I’m building muscle from fat” identity more easily.

    With all of that said, switching your personality based on how you look is unbelievably NORMAL. For instance, everyone acts different in a suit or dress than they do in PJ’s. Adaptability is what makes us human.
  • VictorSmashes
    VictorSmashes Posts: 173 Member
    I agree with @explodingmango about how sometimes dressing to look/feel good means following societal norms. I’m nonbinary masculine and because I’m overweight/curvy and on the cheap side, I dress in less expensive, more feminine clothing despite my gender identity. It still makes me feel good when I look nice but don’t “present” the way I would prefer. Yes it frustrates me and honestly losing weight to lose curves is a huge motivation for me.
  • monicaai14
    monicaai14 Posts: 10 Member
    I am pretty Femme, but I like to challenge certain gendered assumptions. It is frustrating for me when I do try to dress more butch, but I feel like either it looks like I'm still hugely overweight due to the size of my boobs, or it would fit my stomach and my boobs won't fit. :(