Self-Feminization

sissy

Recently, I received an e-mail from Miss Z bemoaning the fact that her face is too masculine, so she never presents as a woman in public because she fears being ridiculed as a man in a dress.

Over the years, I have received similar complaints from other readers, for example, Miss K once wrote, “It’s easy for you to go out – you are drop-dead gorgeous! But it’s not so easy for the rest of us who are not born with gorgeous genes!”

Thank you, but I assure you I was not born with gorgeous genes. In boy mode, no one mistakes me for a woman. Although I don’t have a craggy-face like Tommy Lee Jones, I also don’t have the beautiful visage of Catherine Zeta-Jones. I just don’t slip on a dress and heels and look like Stana – I have to feminize myself before I can approach drop-dead gorgeousness!

In this and near future posts, I plan to write about some of the things I have learned and used to feminize myself.

Day-to-Day Maintenance

I do not present as a female everyday, but I perform maintenance on my body everyday to enhance my female presentation on those days I do.

I shave my face and neck daily with a Philips Norelco rotary electric shaver.

When I am finished with my face and neck, I shave other parts of my body. One day, I do my legs, another day, I do my arms. My breasts, shoulders and back are also part of this daily routine. So over a four- or five-day period, I shave all the parts of my body that may be exposed depending on what I wear as a woman.

Being an Avon lady, I occasionally receive free samples. About 15 years ago, I received a free sample of a product to deal with wrinkles around the eyes. Looking in the mirror at the wrinkles developing around my eyes, I decided to try the free sample.

After a week or so, the wrinkles were less noticeable. After a few weeks, I had to examine my eyes closely to find the wrinkles. So, I was sold on the eye cream and currently use Avon Anew Clinical Eye Lift Pro Dual Eye System every morning.

I also moisturize my face and neck in the morning using Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer. After many, many years of shunning skin care, I began using a moisturizer after my success with eye cream and it made a huge difference. My skin is smoother, more supple, healthier-looking and my makeup goes on easier and looks better.

I also moisturize my feet every morning using Avon Foot Works Intensive Moisture Foot Cream. I began moisturizing my feet about 18 months ago and it has made a big difference. Before I began moisturizing, my feet were drop-dead ugly. There was no confusing my feet for a lady’s. Eighteen months later, my feet are actually pretty! My thigh highs and pantyhose slip on and off easily; no longer getting hung up (and running) on a callous or other dry skin anomaly. And my high heels feel more comfortable on my silky, smooth feet.

About six months ago, I received a tube of Avon Foot Works Peppermint Reviving Leg Gel which was bundled with a purchase of the Avon foot cream. Since I was already stripped down to my panties when I moisturize my feet, I decided to try the gel on my legs. The gel’s function is to refresh and soothe tired, achy legs with a “cooling gel featuring peppermint oil.” I liked the way the gel feels and smells and it feel when I massage the gel into my legs, so it is now a part of my morning routine.

Until last year, I maintained my weight. For about 45 years, I kept my weight within a five-pound range. Whenever it edged up five pounds, I would take measures to bring it back down.

About a year ago, I started a diet. It was simple; nothing drastic. I just cut down on my sugar and bread intake and tried not to eat in between meals and by June, I lost 20 pounds.

I don’t have to tell you how that missing 20 pounds improved my female presentation. I dropped two dress sizes, lost my back fat, dropped one shoe size, thinned my face, improved my figure and overall, felt better not to mention, more feminine.

Finally, for what it’s worth, I have never smoked in all my 66 years and I seldom drink alcoholic beverages (I probably average less than one glass of beer per month). I am sure that has contributed to my appearance and enhanced my ability to femulate.

Selfies

SISSY

I take a lot of selfies.

I started taking selfies about the same time I started dressing en femme from head to toe. I wanted to see how others would see the female me rather than how I saw myself in that full-length mirror mounted on my mother's closet door.

Self-photography provided the means to do that, but it was expensive back in the good old days because I had to use real film. I had to buy film to take my selfies and then pay to have my selfies processed. I also had to buy flash bulbs to take good selfies indoors.

And then there was the potential for being embarrassed and outed if the person processing the film realized that the girl posing in my selfies was actually me! I wonder how many femulators built photo darkrooms in their basements to avoid being outed?

Eventually, I worked around the problem by using a Polaroid SX-70 camera. Polaroid film was more expensive, but I did not have to take the photos of my "girlfriend" anywhere to be processed. The expense did prevent me from taking mass quantities of selfies. Then the Apple QuickTake digital camera entered my life and changed everything.

Quality-wise, the QuickTake was a step backward from the Polaroid, but the film was now "free" and I could take as many selfies as I wanted, at least until the camera's battery ran down.

And I did take a LOT of selfies! Thousands to be exact.

As digital cameras improved, I graduated from the QuickTake to the Canon PowerShot. And as the Canons improved, I upgraded my PowerShots and currently own my third, a Canon PowerShot SD940 IS. It is full-featured, takes excellent photos, and I thought it was the cat's meow until I started taking photos with my iPhone.

Comparing photos taken during the same photoshoot with the Canon and the iPhone, the iPhone does a better job in my opinion. Or should I say, I do a better job taking photos with the iPhone than I do with the Canon. Perhaps if I was a better or more knowledgable photographer, I could do a better job with the Canon, but for now, the iPhone is my go-to camera.

Sister blogger, Faith DaBrooke of Adventures of a Gender Rebel fame, takes a lot of selfies, too. Viewing her selfies, she seems to be an expert at it. After her latest selfies knocked my pantyhose off (see the photo above for an example), I asked her what tools she uses.

Faith replied, "These photos were taken with a smart phone. And yes, I use a tripod, a little one. If you go on amazon there are a bunch of options. Mine is about 8" high with bendy legs and it came with a remote."

Those are the same tools I use, but if you ask me, Faith's selfies are much better than mine.

Almost all of my selfies are taken in my home where the lighting and scenery is not optimal. I need to do remote selfie photoshoots, but I have been shy about taking selfies out in the great outdoors. (What will people think?)

Nailing It with Your Eyebrows

Tammy, had this to add to my Self-Feminization: Brows post.

I loved your article on eyebrows. Most girls have no idea how important improving your eyebrows can be. By having my eyebrows waxed once a month, I find I can navigate either world quite easily. By having trimmed eyebrows, you add just enough ambiguity so that others just aren't quite sure if you are a man or woman. It then takes very little extra to help them decide.

I live in the north where we get cold winters and we need to bundle up for shopping. Let me share a couple examples of what happens when I go out with a close shave, trimmed eyebrows, gender neutral winter clothes and a stocking cap.

Last week I went into a shoe store and was asked if they could help me find something. I just said I was looking to see what they had for sale. The saleswoman then asked, for men or women. Without any gender-specific clothing visible, I doubt that without nicely-trimmed eyebrows they would have asked that. They would have just sent me to the area where men's shoes were on sale.

I asked for women's shoes and was directed to that area. Awhile back my wife and I were leaving the grocery store with me dressed the same way. As we left, the cashier said, "Have a nice evening, ladies." Wearing less "gender neutral" clothing, I make it easy for others to put me in the "camp" I desire. When I dress fully feminine, the eyebrows don't give me away.

So how do you go about achieving these results? I started with the person that cuts my hair. She does both men and women's hair as well as eyebrow waxing. She always trims eyebrows of both her men and women clients. All it took was a couple of times saying, "I wish my eyebrows weren't quite so thick because it gets my glasses greasy," for her to say, "Well, we could always wax them." I said, "Sure, I'll give it a try."

I now have it done every month when I have my hair cut. After that, it was just fine-tuning the waxing with comments like "Maybe just a little thinner so they don't rub on my glasses," "How about a little arch at the end so they aren't so close to my glasses," "Maybe a little shorter because they grow so fast." And before you know it, I had eyebrows that work in either world.

If I go to a stylist in an area away from home, I just tell them I want them waxed very femininely. No one waxing my eyebrows has ever complained and not taken my money. Also, no one I know socially has ever asked me about my eyebrows. If someone ever did and I was the least bit concerned about their comments, I could always say, "I have them trimmed so they don't rub on my glasses" or "the woman that cuts my hair trims my eyebrows and got a little carried away." But being retired and not caring so much about what others think, I'd probably say, "Yes, I really like them, what do you think?"

With my eyebrows waxed and this knowledge, I feel comfortable going into any store shopping for clothes, regardless of the gender. If I want to go one step further, I just put on a stocking cap that is a little more feminine, then there's no question in most saleswomen's minds.

The results I shared so far are just wearing mainly gender-neutral clothes. Let me end by telling you about the last time I went out with a nice little black dress, full makeup, wig, etc. I stopped in a shop where the saleslady has helped me in both boy and girl mode (and know it's one person). Her comment was "Wow, you really nailed it! "

Review: Caitlyn Jenner’s The Secrets of My Life

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After years of intense training, Bruce Jenner won the 1976 Decathlon at the Montreal Olympic games. After winning, a fan handed him an American flag and he took a victory lap. With an American flag held proudly, a handsome and smiling Jenner rounded the field and that iconic moment was seared into a generations mind. He became the all-American hero.

Ironically, Bruce had painted himself into a corner.

I’ll start with a note: Caitlyn Jenner constantly refers to “Bruce” in her book. She states simply that “he,” “Bruce” did exist and to deny that would be disingenuous. She does this much to the chagrin of others in the transgender community where she is a controversial figure. I will follow Caitlyn’s example in this review.

Her narrative will speak directly to readers here at Femulate. Winning the Olympics brought not only jubilation, but the thought “I’ll never be a woman now.”

If you’ve perused through online profiles of other sisters, Caitlyn’s story will ring true. Always wanting to be a girl, at the earliest age, borrowing clothes and dressing up. Sneaking out in the neighborhood for nighttime strolls and praying at night to wake up as a girl.

He proved himself on the high school football field while envying the cheerleaders on the sidelines.

He hid women’s clothes in the college dorm.

In public, Jenner was the ultimate visage of American manliness — handsome, athletic, and financially successful.

In reality, she would endure decades of emotional loneliness, three failed marriages, parental shortcomings and bouts of self-loathing.

As a transgender person, reading this book at times it seemed she was writing about me. The book is oddly familiar in its writing style, a biographical timeline made up of trials and tribulations that are personally reminiscent and feel like countless transgender profiles that I’ve read online.

In the 1989, after two failed marriages, Bruce would attempt to transition. He started HRT but found little support or acceptance. Then financial reality set in. “If I lose 'Bruce,' I lose my way to make a living and so does the family that depends on me.” Twenty-five years later, there would the transgender websites, medical advances, support groups and a growing community of transgender persons to support her.

A longtime Republican, Caitlyn received a huge negative backlash from many activists in the transgender community. She's realized that as Bruce, she “ ived in a world of white male privilege” and yet was still entitled enough as Caitlyn to have voted for the Donald Trump-Mike Pence ticket. Her remarks about gay marriage on The Ellen DeGeneres Show also drew anger from the LGBT community.

She also took much criticism from the transgender community for her views on transgender women and appearance.

“I think it's much easier for a trans woman or a trans man who authentically kind of looks and plays the role. So what I call my presentation. I try to take that seriously. I think it puts people at ease. If you're out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable. So the first thing I can do is try to present myself well. I want to dress well. I want to look good.”

She has been attacked and berated by transgender activists as being “a clueless rich white woman” and shouted at with chants of “you are an insult to trans people, you are an insult to women.”

To her credit she has raised considerable amounts of money for transgender causes. Her Finally Free lipstick with MAC cosmetics has raised over $1.3 million dollars for transgender youth. She personally has spent countless hours working with families and transgender persons. She knows she has made mistakes, “I’ve grown into Caitlyn,” she said. “It’s tough to take 65 years of being Bruce and being male, and then like, overnight, everything changes.”

It’s common to censure historical figures. We could easily condemn Thomas Jefferson as a slave owner or we can view him objectively and see the paradox of a man who wrote the Declaration of Independence and advocated for a new system of government that brought democracy to the modern world.

As a baby boomer, I see and relate to Caitlyn Jenner as a transgender woman who came of age in a time when the word “transgender” did not exist. To put it mildly, less flattering terms were used to describe us. You couldn’t even find a doctor to get treatment and therapists knew nothing about “sex changes.” You could get arrested for dressing as woman in public. In fact, crossdressers met in secret. The Tiffany Club here in New England would meet new members in cloak and dagger fashion in order to keep their meeting location a secret.

Obviously, that has changed in recent years. Transgender persons are no longer banished to tabloids at the back of the Maybrook Sweet Shop. Many have sacrificed before us and have fought for our rights. To credit any one person would be disrespectful.

It is my opinion, the night Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympic icon, graciously walked up on stage in front of a national television audience and accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for courage was the moment when transgender persons had reached the proverbial tipping point. All of our pioneers and their sacrifices were finally brought to light in the American collective cognizance.

Our fight for acceptance and rights would be far from over. It was what I like to call our “Will and Grace moment.” It put us on the map and in the minds of America. Now it’s not unusual to see transgender high school students, while universities across the country have programs to assist transgender students. Most Fortune 100 corporations have non-discriminatory policies for transgender persons. Transgender persons are now sons, daughters, cousins, co-workers and friends.

Like any other woman, Caitlyn has been shaped by the experiences and ethos of her life and like any other women, is subject to foibles and shortcomings. In this case, she’s a transgender woman, a member of our community, who believes in us, fights for us and is one of us.

Like any other community in times of adversity, we need to put aside our differences and worked together.

How to Start

SISSY

As we move into the new year, I remember a resolution I made to write more for Femulate. This also helps justify the luxurious office suite that I occupy here at the sprawling Femulate World Headquarters.

It also compels me to spend less time at the water cooler sharing makeup and fashion tips. Although CEO Stana can be a taskmaster, we keep a close watch on the Dress Barn sales flyers knowing well those days are best for our long lunches.

I am often asked by transgender persons who want to start expressing their femininity, "How do I start?"

Whether you just want to experiment at home or want to go out and about as a woman, being a girl takes work and time and it truly is a lifestyle.

It will take time to find your niche or comfort zone as a woman. It truly is an evolution. It’s important to enjoy the journey, new shoes, a good hair day, perfect eye makeup or your first steps out the door. I recommend starting with something that interests you, begin small. Maybe you want to get that first wig or start learning makeup skills.

The important part is to start, nothing will happen if you do nothing.

I’ll cover three areas where you can initiate a positive move toward your feminine core.

First is makeup. Back in 2009 I approached the cosmetics counter at Lord and Taylor trembling inside asking for a foundation to provide good coverage. The first woman I spoke with directed me to the NARS counter.

At this point I thought, “Oh no, they are freaking out,” but the young woman I met (Kasey) was polite and helpful. Over the next few months, I would come back to build my needed stock of makeup. Each time, Kasey taught me how to use the cosmetics and also encourage me. We had some in-depth conversations about transgender people and the world. During this time, she would extend the repeated offer of a makeover. I never would have dreamed of going out in public. But over that year I started to get my proverbial transgender wings and started going out regularly.

Kasey worked for NARS and has since moved onto a career in the corporate world. So I became a devoted MAC girl. I cannot recommend them more highly. Other Femulate readers will concur that the policy at MAC is highly inclusive; they have many transgender customers and will treat you with the upmost respect. If you recall, MAC sponsored Caitlyn Jenner’s “Finally Free” lipstick and donated the proceeds to transgender youth.

What you are really looking for as an emerging transgender person is to slowly open yourself up in a positive environment. You will begin to feel good about yourself and in turn, slowly build a collection of makeup and beauty products that will help you with your goals.

The guidance and support you will get from the makeup artists at MAC will surely be worth the added expense of their product.

There is nothing more liberating than telling another woman, "This makeup is for me, I am transgender."

It all flows forward from there.

Next week, we will talk about building a wardrobe.