Transgender Woman Madison Werner on Breaking Gender Norms and Finding Her Personal Style
“At least you can put on halters. I have male shoulders,” the well known Regina George gripes in “Mean Girls” as she stares at her representation in the mirror. Meanwhile, Cady Heron searches, observing every girl-coded corner of Regina’s extravagant pink room in awe. Complaints like “I dislike my calves” and “my hairline is so unusual” precede the Plastics’ glare towards Cady, as they await her payment to their collective routine of self-loathing. The Plastics subscribe to the misconception that femininity equals constantly pursuing excellence, however Cady is unaware of this narrative. “She’s like a martian,” they say.
The Plastics characterize cisgender, heteronormative womanhood, and Cady is their competitor. I’ve witnessed this dynamic plenty of times as a trans woman, and also I find Cady to be a fitting depiction of how trans ladies expand the cis confines of femininity. Ends up, Regina had a point: I, as well, seem like halter tops accentuate my shoulders, which are wider than the characteristic bone framework of AFAB (appointed woman at birth) people. Tight trousers, miniskirts, and short shorts were additionally a nightmare that drew attention to a mysterious lump between my legs.
I always thought about gender change as an algebra equation: starting hormones, staying clear of manliness, and also undergoing GCS (gender-confirmation surgical treatment) all equalled some grand concept of femininity. As well as, in order to balance the equation, I required to multiply the womanly pieces in my closet and also deduct the manly ones– a computation that puzzled me.
In 2015, I opened my closet and stared at the very first feminine item I ever before got: a pair of women’s skintight faux-leather trousers, which I wore till the seams ripped. I informed my family members that, since I was relatively little for a boy my age, I ‘d drown in guys’s apparel. They understood this to be true; I put on children’ pants via all four years of high school, which supported my reason. The natural leather pants were a simple intro to seeing their boy wear women’s garments. Gradually, I added fundamental heels and also flowy tees, acquiring a grand total amount of 6 womanly clothes items in my wardrobe.
When I wear those leather trousers currently (yes, I still have them), I use a top that’s long sufficient to cover my crotch, so as to avoid invasive blazes from unfamiliar people. Trans individuals commonly walk a slim line between wearing what really feels genuine and what keeps them safe from examination.
That sensation of relief is interrupted when I remember that trans bodies aren’t dealt with the same as cis ones. If a trans woman is “clocked,” implying her being trans is discovered in public, the cis folks around her scan for features that prove she was “born a young boy.”
I transformed New York City sidewalks into my runway while showing off to my NYU courses. I always took an hour picking the ideal outfit yet generally arrived on the exact same nude pumps, white slim jeans, crop top, as well as light-weight coat in 20-degree winter season weather condition. Absolutely nothing was more crucial to me than confirming to everyone I could be “unclockable,” even if it implied running the risk of hypothermia as well as hiding my heels in snow.
A year right into my gender change, fashion influencers like Carli Bybel led me to a solution for my heel-in-snow problem: she teamed charming tennis shoes with two-piece sets from Naked Wardrobe. Mocha-colored leggings don’t leave much area for creativity when you have a bulge in between your legs.
One YouTube video clip suggested air duct tape, which I didn’t realize was quite unsafe. I selected some up at a hardware store down the street from my university dorm and reached work. I endured the pain of duct tape managing my skin just so I can use tights without judgment. Trust me, it wasn’t worth it.
I had simply spent 2 years conforming my body to a criterion that didn’t also provide me gender euphoria. I did everything the Plastics advised: I concealed my “guy shoulders” from halter tops, purchased hair extensions to mask any “unusual” parts of my hair, and also tucked in tights so I can display my slim calves. As if those features of my body, which are all linked to cis-masculine standards, were somehow not beautiful.
Masculinity in women does not identify their level of beauty, yet we’ve been educated that it does. It took me 7 years and a great deal of endurance and also freedom to deny that fallacy.
I no much longer tuck unless I genuinely desire to, and I do it safely using Tuckituppp: a trans-owned business that makes convenience a concern for trans bodies. I’m honored that my tennis shoes currently exceed the heels in my closet.
To the trans individuals reading this, I prompt you to be patient with yourselves. You get to mark the phases of your style narrative, and the trip deserves it– no matter how much time it takes.