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Body Dysmorphic Disorder and FFS



My Facial Feminisation Thesis


Part 10:

Self Perception (The man in the Mirror)


A problem that many trans women have to deal with is that no matter how well they pass and no matter how feminine their face actually is, they still see a male face in the mirror. I'm no exception - I pass fairly easily but I very often see a distinctly male face looking back at me from the mirror. I must either be seeing something that isn't there, or I am focusing very closely on details that normal people don't notice.

What I think happens is that we store males and females in different parts of the brain and once a face is stored in one department, the brain is extremely reluctant to move it to the other. Even if that face was altered to become 100% female in every aspect, it can still seem somehow male to you because of it being stored in the men's department of your brain. It is hardest of all to change our perception of our own faces but this is not surprising as we have had a lifetime for our faces to be burned deeply into the male department of the brain.

Other people who knew you as male, like colleagues, friends and family may also continue to see something male in you even if they fully support your transition and desperately want to see you as female. However, the fact that your face is now female can be seen in the reactions of people who have not met you before, who see you only as female and can't imagine you were ever male.

Almost everyone has some characteristics of the opposite sex and as I mentioned in part 8, it is very rare to see a female face that is completely female in all aspects. FFS has its limitations too so even after FFS, hormones and beard removal, the vast majority of FFS patients will still have some facial masculinities. Those masculinities may be within normal female ranges and typical of the kind of mild masculinities you might see on an average non-transsexual woman but if you are already seeing a man in the mirror and feeling anxious about it, your brain can easily start to focus in great detail on those little masculinities and they start to look more and more significant to you. This can leave you feeling quite dysmorphic about your face and can lead you to think you need more FFS than you actually do. Please see the page on Body Dysmorphic Disorder for more on this

So, the important thing to remember is that if you pass well, then the man in the mirror is probably an illusion. In fact, our eyes deceive us all the time - we don't see what's actually "out there" - our brains actually make a lot of it up.

If you are willing to accept that your perception of your own face can be misleading, you can decide not to take the man in the mirror too seriously. That's my approach – I just smile to myself and think how interesting it is that the human eye and the human mind are so easily deceived!



Please use the links below to navigate around the thesis:



Part 1: Common Misconceptions

Part 2: The Established Research

Part 3: Prototypes

Part 4: Sexual Dimorphism of the Face Feature by Feature

Part 5: Relative Proportions

Part 6: Female Neoteny and Feminisation as a Subtractive Process

Part 7: Objective and Subjective Femininity

Part 8: How Feminine is Feminine Enough?

Part 9: Beauty

Part 10: The Man in the Mirror/Self Perception