Brina, is cross-dressing a need or a want?
Depends… on the day, where we are on the gender spectrum, and the amount of moola on hand to buy pretty things with. As it is in all things, I want it, but do I need it? First, let me douse some water on the fire. For those who are transgender, no matter where they are, it is a need. Wearing female attire alone doesn’t satisfy a need but aligns the mindset of body and perception. It is always a need and can be a severe need when there is internal conflict.
But to your question in the traditional aspects of crossdressing. A (Mostly) normal guy that has the want to dress in some feminine aspect. By this, any male regardless of sexual orientation dons their perception of femininity and then is over it until the next time (which could be tomorrow…) They could be all in, all the way from hairy beast wearing panties to a completely smooth, perfumed drag diva—or in between. For many, it’s a want. I want to wear a dress, put on makeup, and walk in 6-inch heels. I don’t need to; I really want to. How do I know the difference? I spend days thinking about it and then something manly interrupts (playing 36 holes of golf with the obnoxious guy gang over a weekend) and the feeling passes. The want always comes back, sometimes so strong that nothing disrupts it. One could almost call it a need.
To me, it is simply, “Will I suffer mentally if I don’t, fall into depression, etc.” I want every pair of heels and wig that I can buy and wear them as often as I can. I also need to present as a female (for me alone) to help with my gender feelings. Do I need another evening dress (to go with the 50 I have?) No, but I sure want it if it’s on sale…
Good points. I completely agree that suffering from gender dysphoria or other gender-related maladies is an entirely different set of circumstances. In my mind, needs come down to the basic necessities to sustain a healthy life; oxygen, water, food, shelter, companionship, and strawberry lemonade Svedka on Friday and Saturday evenings.
If it falls into the category of just doing it because it feels good, then I question the need. “Need” is a term used often on the site where maybe it isn’t the correct nomenclature. So, if it isn’t a “need” then what is it? A compulsion? How is this different from other activities that can make life and/or relationships difficult? If you substitute other compulsions for crossdressing, such as gambling, overspending, or extramarital affairs, it looks much different in that context. I could make the same arguments a CD makes to his wife if I wanted to hook up with another man. For example: “I can’t stop thinking about it, I need it, it’s part of me, it’s who I am, I think I can stop until the urge returns, I won’t be happy without it, I only need to do it a few times per year.”
When I lump it in with other compulsions, it makes perfect sense to me… until it doesn’t. The others (save for the affair) are non-sexual. I also can’t think of another compulsion likened to CDing that begins at an early age.
I think labeling it an unnecessary compulsion is an oversimplification and rationalization, much like the other side of the fence that says, “It’s just clothes.”
I think CDs and everyone else have been trying to come up with an analogy to explain us. We somehow need an explanation for wanting to appear feminine on occasion. I totally get the compulsion part… like a drug that I can’t stop using. I think it is more similar to being an alcoholic if I were to make a poor and slight comparison. Even if I were in CD anonymous, it would always be on my mind, and at any moment I might lose my willpower to avoid it. They say the same thing… “I need it, I want it, I can’t stop it.” I drank my first beer when I was 10 (hated the taste but still had another later.) Sometimes I went overboard with it, and there were times when it was less important, and now, I can drink what I want to my set limitations without fear of abusing it. I love beer today, by the way… and most everything, but I don’t need it. It might be days or even weeks in between one. And then… “Hey, girl!” do I feel the urge to have a cold one. I think there is a necessity for some to marginalize what a CD is. Always in the context that it isn’t normal or right to do it or feel that way. When I pull it off and look good dolled up, I am proud to call myself a CD. I also wish I had a special person in my life that would love and accept that side of me.
In general, many CDs look, or at least think they look, exceptionally attractive. I’ve been told how great my legs are. We also go out of our way to add hips where we don’t have them or breasts without the sag… etc. As a woman looking on, what do you shake your head at, and conversely, what is that we pull off or have naturally that you might envy?
As a young girl, my friends and I would play dress-up in my mother’s old bridesmaid gowns and we would pretend to be what we imagined grown women to be. We pranced around with exaggerated gestures and talked in unnecessarily high and dramatic voices. We pursed our lips and pretended to apply copious amounts of makeup. When I look back on those days, it makes me smile because what we imagined grown women to be largely missed the mark. This story represents two things: One, putting on the clothes and mimicking mannerisms did not translate into what women are in reality. It was almost a caricature in that we exaggerated things to feel authentic. Two, although we played dress-up often, it did nothing to enhance how we appeared as women, and it did not give us any insight into what navigating the world as a grown woman is really like.
I shake my head because a crossdresser’s image of a woman is over the top and it focuses on the glamorous aspects of being a woman. A crossdresser’s representation of women is that of beauty, attraction, and often sexually appealing.
I often see postings on the site discussing dressing and having a wonderful time while cleaning the house. It may come as a shock to some, but women do more than clean the house, cook, take care of the kids, and look sultry while we wait for our husbands to come home for an evening of sex and subservience. I shake my head at the clichés and stereotypes that pop up again and again. We are too often represented based on outdated views and ideals.
Now to the part you will all love! I envy many things that the crossdresser has or does to the point which, at times, threatens my femininity. Top of the list are your legs and hips. You bitches have tight legs without a spec of cellulite and I hate you for it! My husband has thinner hips than I do and can (depending on the cut and brand) wear panties a size smaller than mine. I love how dedicated you all seem to be to fashion. You know your styles and cuts and can put outfits together way better than I can, and I find that truly impressive and inspiring.
I think that I would have to almost agree with your assessment totally. If I only looked at it from what I see as the “Illusion” then, of course, we only want to portray, mimic, emulate, and strive for the aspects of femininity that, not just men, CDs, but women as well epitomize and caricature. If a woman had time, money, personal trainers, dieticians, professional beauty help, fashion designers, plastic surgery, and more money… then they’d all be a Kardashian or glamor model. They don’t and we don’t (most of us, anyway). We do it the Walmart way, which is why I think we can easily be perceived as “over-the-top,” or exaggerating (again, the things that CDs and men consider the most appealing in women) the truthfulness of what a woman really is all about.
After a day in glamor mode, my feet hurt, the corset is killing me, I’m sweating profusely, the long nails are driving me crazy, the clip-on earrings hurt, and I can simply take it all off and throw on my baggy man clothes and wait for my SO to come home. Maybe I do the cooking or cleaning (a maid day…) or male-oriented projects in stilettoes, but I mostly ignore the finer points of being a woman, as you stated. You said it best about outdated ideals. I will say that being a CD does give me some much-needed appreciation for what the typical woman goes through just to function in today’s society. And… I/we have so far yet to go. Not that conversely, women understate what it is to be a man…
I am also amazed at how proficient many of the CDs are at makeup and fashion. It might be all that internet studying we do in trying to present our best inner woman… I have no butt and that is my biggest envy of women… oh, and the boobs, pouty lips, and open eyes that pop out (mine are squinched into holes that only tape or surgery can help with). I am proud of my legs and ankles…
One thing I have come to admire about the crossdressers I have spent time talking to is the willingness to listen to what I have to say. There is value in corresponding with each other because we get a brief glimpse into what it is like on the other side of the fence. When you have an understanding combined with mutual respect, much can be accomplished. In six months, I have had so many peeks at the wizard behind the curtain and it has only benefited my relationship with my husband. I’ve been assured that the wizard is not Tim Curry as Dr. Frank N. Furter, but I’ll be the judge of that if I ever get to pull that curtain all the way back…
My thanks to Betty and to all of you who read and comment on our discussions. These are our opinions, and we invite you to share your own thoughts. Be mindful that everyone is in their own place in the CD world and what we share isn’t Gospel.
Until next time…
Betty and Brina
More Articles by Betty Rockwell
- Betty and Brina Take on the CD World Volume 3
- Betty Rockwell’s Guide to Great Turkey
- Betty Goodall and the Crossdressers
- Betty and Brina take on the CD world
- Becoming Steve