As a lesbian-identified woman of trans-history, my criteria for attraction/attractiveness already differ slightly from those of most of the hetero/cisexual public. That said, my wife was shocked when, during a conversation last week about "getting into better shape," I declared that I didn't want to completely get rid of my belly.
The truth of the matter is, I like having a belly. I enjoy being "fat." It makes me feel feminine and in charge of my own image because, with the revolutionary act of simply accepting my body as it is, I've declared both to myself and to the world, that the media will never dictate to me what I should look like, nor what I should find aesthetically or even sexually attractive.
My body is a revolutionary act because, I declare ownership of it and responsibility for it every day. And to those who would cite the fact that I was born biologically male, rendering me incapable of understanding the angst and social pressure brought to bare on girls to conform to media imposed strictures of acceptability, I say this: I am a woman.
I'm a woman who until only recently was perceived as, and expected to behave as a man, simply because, externally, I didn't fit anyone's concept of what a woman should be. Believe me, I understand the pressures of society to conform, and admittedly, I embrace some of them: I take hormones to grow my breasts. I still shave daily (because as yet, I cannot afford laser depilation) and wear makeup. I paint my nails, and do my best to maintain some semblance of a manicure which isn't easy, considering that I've got dry nails that crack and I'm a klutz.
I do all these things and more, because they help me feel more in touch with my femininity, as well as helping me "pass" in the world, but mostly I do them because I like to. It's as simple as that. They simply feel right, like they're a part of me, and if tomorrow, Vogue came out in favor of absolute androgyny, and women everywhere began foregoing their lipstick and makeup for a k.d. Lang-circa-1991 inspired look, I'd walk out my front door in my size 26 pencil skirt, blood red lipstick and matching nails, and, as much as I'd enjoy checking out all the hot androgynous women, I'd thank the universe for the fact that I am who I am: a fat, femme dyke who has, after years of struggling with identity and body dysphoria issues, finally come to love herself, exactly as she is.
First published at Evie's blogspot, The View From Here.