Friday, 26 July 2013

Strange envy

The world of trans women is a very topsy-turvy one. What would otherwise be fine and very practical, such as big strong hands, serious musclepower, and height sufficient to reach whatever is on the top shelf, is actually regarded a misfortune, because women typically have little hands, no strength, and are short.

Nothing much is said, or at least I've never heard much said, but I suspect that some trans women are seriously envious of other trans women whose physical characteristics are closer than their own to the female norm. I've been guilty of it anyway. And the joke is, ordinary women don't find weakness and shortness very amusing. It may make you look cute, but it's just not practical and makes life difficult. There must be a lot of women who would like to be stretched somehow, so that their squat dumpiness would turn into slim elegance. And a bit of height and clout does make a woman harder to browbeat and treat badly.

And yet (it seems to me from observation and conversation) most trans women have this tendency to be unduly self-critical of their bodies, and tragically envious of a life with small extremities and a permanent crick in the neck from having to look upwards too much. It's an understandable envy, but it's a bit strange all the same, because Big and Strong can indeed be Beautiful. Or at least Very Useful.

Believe me, when I'm trying to clean the outside of the caravan, or push it about, I'd welcome a longer reach, more push, and more power in my grip. I've got some heft (meaning fourteen and a half stone) but that's not terribly helpful. There are times when I wish I could bend iron bars, ot at least unscrew bottle-tops without spraining my wrist. For a solo lady who has to do it all herself, bulge is no sustitute for brawn. I think that I would find changing a tyre on Fiona or the caravan truly beyond my capability. In fact, that's the real travelling nightmare: not getting lost, nor getting stuck in traffic: it's actually the fear of picking up some sharp object and suffering a flat tyre as a result. No, not even that, because I'd just call the breakdown people. It's the wait for a fix, knowing that you can't do it yourself. 

I've twice had a breakdown towing. The first time was in September 2006, in daylight, when a caravan tyre burst far from home in Shropshire. The second was in October 2008, in the dark, on the M11 in Essex, when I lost power in the engine. The first incident was part of the Old Life. The second was at the beginning of my transition. Both incidents involved the old car, the Honda CR-V, which was getting old and less reliable, and not super-reassuring Fiona who came along in 2010. But even Fiona has had her punctures.

Lack of strength sometimes doesn't matter if one has an inventive mind. My cousin R---, a retired headmistress a few years older than myself, has a maxim that there is always a way of approaching any lifting problem. She is clever enough to figure out the workaround. I'm not. So there is a lot of physical stuff that I've mentally dismissed from my DIY repertoire. Such as shifting furniture from room to room. Or landscaping my garden. That actually sounds quite feeble, but I honestly feel that the Melford physique isn't up to it, at least not without risking injury.

My take: don't knock natural advantages too much. Think in terms of uselessly short weak fingers, and a frustrating lack of height. And being ignored or pushed around because you are small and lightweight. I'm even thinking that my big conk may be better than a tiny retroussée nose: it has more presence - more force and individuality. All the most famous Romans, male or female, had big noses.


7 comments:

  1. You've obviously not met some of the women I know who buck the trend! Most women are fairly short in height it's true but what I really hate to see are the very short women. They are just like children to me. I went out for a walk earlier today and ended up in town. desperate for the ladies room I went into Debenhams to use their toilet facilities. The place was almost empty but there were three natal girls standing by one of the tills chatting. All three of them were tall, two the same height as myself which is 5'9" and the third was taller by two or three inches! Must be the salt air hereabouts! LOL. You might be surprised to know that many women are quite strong physically but I agree, they are in the minority. Unfortunately we have to accept what we have been dealt but even so I get offers for assistance from the guys all the time. Naturally I accept gracefully as a woman should.

    Shirley Anne x

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  2. No, I'm not in the least bit surprised that you have encountered some robust women. Talk of what's typical and normal must acknowledge that there are plenty of female persons who are physically strong. You see them whenever there is a TV report from some country in the Third World: women who labour in fields, carry children and heavy loads, and who pound grain for bread. And any woman in this country who keeps seriously fit is going to have surprising strength.

    I was saying that a lot of women are under-endowed with useful musclepower and stature. And if you're like that, the simplest option is to ask a man to do it, or let him intervene. Sometimes that's nice, sometimes it's galling. All things being equal, it's an advantage if you can get things done without anyone's assistance, and that's the rational situation to wish for, not one in which you are too slender and small.

    Lucy

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    1. Oh yes Lucy I fully agree and the same is true for men too, not all men are strong and muscular. We sometimes view others stereotypically when we ought not. I myself am typically independent and will try most things before crying out for help.
      About the size of hands. Although mine are not large they are if I compare them to women's hands in general but I will say this, I have seen women whose hands are just as large as my own. Added to that, they are in proportion to my size in general so they don't look out of place. To make my hands appear even smaller I keep the thumbs turned in toward my palms. After so long doing this it has become natural for them to assume this position. Result? My hands don't appear as big as they might do otherwise. Try it and see what I mean. If you curl the fingers inwards, especially the little finger, the effect is even more pronounced. I keep my nails as short as is practicable too but there is another reason for that, it is easier to hold down the strings of my guitar! LOL

      Shirley Anne x

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  3. first i think GG's check each other out and many feel they are not as what ever as the next gg.

    2nd a respected electrologist who was retired and lived in my town said that of all the clients/patents he had helped the one think that people can not change is their hand size.
    i am lucky to be only 5'6-1/2" tall average build and have more effeminate hands. i recently had a gg in a beauty supply who didn't know me refuse to believe i was not a gal even after i showed her my male drivers license she said "so who is that?" so i guess for the most part i blend in.

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    1. You should tell her that it is your twin brother Diana. You must be doing something right.

      Shirley Anne x

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  4. Hand size is indeed one of those particular issues that make some trans women despair. I say: celebrate your large but sensitive hands, call them pianist's hands, and make out that you are artistic. And if you are still self-conscious about them, then don't draw attention to them by having long painted nails, or by waving them about. (But that's not going to go down well with some!)

    There are probably as many trans women who are short (and small handed and footed) as tall with extremities to match. But you tend to notice the tall ones, to the extent of wondering whether there might be a height gene that goes with being trans. Not a speculation I want to turn into a post, because it might be seriously contoversial, and upset a few people. But you do wonder! However, the great thing about being tall would, I imagine, is being able to see what's going on, to look men in the eye, to reach for that item on the top shelf, and to have an incentive to stay slim and willowy and stylish.

    I'm an inch shorter than Shirley anne, and I haven't her willpower to keep fit and trim.

    Lucy

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    1. 'I'm an inch shorter than Shirley Anne'

      Yes even when she is wearing her six-inch heels Diana.......LOL

      Shirley Anne x

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