Sunday, October 31, 2010

Permission to be Feminine

Recently, I had a day off to participate in a few speaking gigs, and with a little bit of time between two of the sessions, I decided to do a little shopping. My work wardrobe needed a little pick me up with the cooler weather approaching and it's always fun to stop by the sports store to see what they have. I've been really bad in sports stores lately, significantly upgrading my sports and running attire to the tune of way too much money.

As I was shopping, though, I ran across a Halloween store. "What fun," I thought, and stopped in to see what they had. I looked through all of the female adult costumes and picked out the ones that looked nice, while also covering the bicep. My arms just seem too big, and thus, I have a bit of an issue with anyone seeing them. I found five outfits that I liked: a superhero costume, a vampire costume, two fantasy costumes, and one schoolgirl costume.

I eventually ended up trying on a few of the costumes last weekend, but walked away with none of them. They just don't quite seem to look like they do on the front of the package, nor do they fit me as well as they do the model who is wearing it.

I previously showed my selection to a few friends, though, and many of them were gaga for the superhero costume and the naughty schoolgirl one. I was hesitant to get the schoolgirl costume for one was too cliche for transgender women.

There are a number of stereotypes of transgender women. We're tall, we're hookers, we're out to deceive straight men, and we all dress a little bit too feminine. (There are a few other stereotypes such as wearing clothes a few sizes too small or a few years outside our generation.)

I'm not tall, I've never been paid to have sex, and all of my sex partners have known of my status...but sometimes I do have trouble dressing feminine because of that damn stereotype that we all dress too feminine.

And I hate that.

Sometimes I hate dressing like I'm some vegan lesbian living in a Berkeley co-op (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I tend to feel comfortable wearing long sleeve stylish layers with my North Face sleeveless jacket. It would be nice to just let go and dress like some slutty woman who's looking to score with a guy from the bar, though.

The problem is, most of the slutty little outfits that I see would not fit me the way they fit most girls. I have bigger arms and a bigger chest, not to mention the lack of a super tiny waist. And so, I feel like I would be judged as a "man in a dress".

One of the muscular butch girls on my team once told me she doesn't wear dresses or makeup because she says she looks like a tranny if she does. I suppose there is this perception that if you appear masculine, and you wear anything feminine, you're almost instantly tagged as a transgender person, and I'll admit, it definitely affects my attire.

I've found that I tend to only wear a dress on special occasions, and it's almost as though I need permission to do so. I hardly ever wear a dress or skirt to work mainly because I'm cautious as to how they fit and I don't want the extra attention by wearing them. And yet, I want to, and I'm jealous of the women who can and do wear a dress or skirt to work, or even out into public for a night out, for that matter.

It probably doesn't help that most of my friends are lesbians, although some of them do tend toward the feminine side of things. It's probably the lesbian environment combined with my own anxiety over the muscular build that stops me from dressing super-femme.

At least I won't have to buy new clothes if I decide to go vegetarian in the future.