This topic was brought up on a video vlog by Whitney of Butch Talk on Youtube. I thought it was a great subject, and one that we do not discuss much, but which needs discussing. Butches and body image, yes, we all have our own thoughts about our bodies. Often I hear my trans friends discussing “dysphoria” or the discontentment they have with their bodies, body parts and how they deal with those thoughts. Seldom do I hear this discussed in the Butch community, although I know as a Butch that we also suffer with dysphoric thoughts about our own bodies. Sure, everyone probably does in some way, maybe they don’t like their teeth, or eyes, or nose, or weight…we’ve all got something that we can isolate on our bodies and say “hey, I wish that was different.”
As a Butch lesbian I definitely experience body dysphoria quite often. I will go out on a limb here and say that I believe that many Butches think about their bodies with some discontentment and discomfort, but we tend to talk less about it out of our own discomfort surrounding being masucline and perhaps being mis-labeled as transgendered.
When a Butch suggests that she would like to have no breasts, or smaller breasts, we often hear the old addage “oh, so you want to be a man.” or the question “Are you trans?” comes up. And this opens up a whole new line of explanation that no, we don’t want to be a man, but we don’t care for our own breasts and would like to change that part of our body if it’s possible. We just don’t care for the more female aspects of our Butch bodies, breasts seem to be singled out quite often in my experience.
Personally I present to the world as a very masculine female. I enjoy a certain degree of an androgenous look, just because of how I am built to begin with. Let me be clear though, while I would quickly change my body if I could, I still do not wish to be a man. Nor I do not wish to have a male body. It’s just that I do not care for my own breasts as they are on me, and would be much more comfortable and far less self-conscious and less dysphoric with much smaller breasts, a flatter chest that isn’t the focal point of the middle of my body. I don’t necessarily want to be “male chested” or to have a completely flat chest, but I would love to be able to have a reduction from my 36C’s to as small as I can go.
I have been known to bind my chest, to use the underworks binders which I have purchased online at the recommendation of other Butch friends who have the same dislike for their chests. Binders are very tight, they do the job quite nicely, but they also come with a certain degree of discomfort, make it hard to breath sometimes and have been known to do damage to one’s rib cage and constrict one’s diaphram dangerously. I have gone to wearing good quality Nike sports bras, they make ones that are specifically for compression even. They’re much more comfortable, and while not flattening me to the point that the binder does, they do the job quite nicely. I’m fine with having some breasts, just not the larger ones I was unfortunate to inherit with my genetics!
I also wish I were taller. I’m a short, fairly squarely built kind of Butch. I envy those with some good height. I would love to be about 5′ 7″ instead of 5′ 3″ish. …another piece of my own personal body dysphoria.
The chances of me doing anything about changing my body are slim to none. The breast reduction surgery, unless it’s covered at some point by insurance down the road, is just too expensive for me to justify. I am fine with just dealing with what I’ve been given, and feeling blessed that I am healthy and happy in life. Yeah, they may be a pain in the brain, but it’s more important to me that I am healthy overall and there are just so many other things that I have to worry about that are just more important to me on a personal level than getting too wrapped up in my body dysphroia. I will continue to focus on those things that I do like about myself, and focus on just trying to look good sporting the stalky little body I was given to work with through life. It’s not sooo bad…I can deal with it.
Now I do know that some people who get body dysphoria really bad cannot deal with it such as I have chosen to do. I realize that my dysphoria is probably mild compared to the suffering that some go through with their bodies. I feel for them, I wish it were easier and less of a fiasco to have body corrections done. Perhaps that day will come, with constant medical advancements things are changing every day. We just have to continue to believe and have hope for ourselves and others.
In the meantime, I will live life to the best of my ability. Be who I am, just as I am. I’ll keep trying to look into the mirror and remind myself that I am a good Butch with a good heart and that counts more in the long run.