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Facial Gender & FFS:
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My Facial Feminisation Thesis

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Body Dysmorphic Disorder and FFS



My Facial Feminisation Thesis


Part 7:

Objective and Subjective Femininity


FFS, like any other facial surgery, always involves risks - tissues, bones and nerves are damaged and scarred. Even when all goes according to plan and the end result looks great, there is always some degree of damage underneath. It's not unusually dangerous and much of FFS consists of very standard facial surgery techniques like rhinoplasty but the risks are always there.

For this reason the potential gains of FFS always have to be balanced carefully against the potential risks. Balancing these gains and risks means being able to judge just how important any particular masculinity is. Analysing the face according to established research on facial gender obviously helps but there is also an element of subjective judgement for which I have to rely on my instincts as an artist and my experience of feminising faces. And of course, surgeons must also make these subjective judgements.

What I have found is that some masculinities often seem to be more important than others. This varies from face to face so you have to be somewhat flexible but if I were to divide facial masculinities into 2 categories of "more important" and "less important", they would probably run as follows:

More Important:

Hairline shape,

Eyebrow thickness,

Nose profile,

Lip to nose distance,

Chin shape and width,

Brow bossing,

Cheek fullness,

Adam's apple,

Eye size,

Beard shadow

Less important:

Hairline height,

Eyebrow height,

Nose frontal view,

Lip fullness,

Chin height

Jaw width and corner shape,

One of the interesting things about these lists is the way they contrast different aspects of some of the same features. For example, the hairline shape is more important than the hairline height, the eyebrow thickness is more important than the eyebrow height, the nose profile is more important than its frontal view, lip to nose distance is more important than lip fullness and chin shape and width are more important than chin height.

The way the relative importance of features varies from face to face is something I find endlessly fascinating – you just can't put together a set of rules that will work for all faces. This is something to always bear in mind – just because some aspect of your face is technically masculine, it does not necessarily mean that it makes your face seem masculine to others, nor that it detracts from your beauty.

The reasons that the rules don't always apply is, I suspect, down to the complex interactions of so many variables. For example, a small amount of bossing may not seem important on a face with large eyes and full cheeks but even mild bossing may need urgent attention on a face with smaller eyes and hollow cheeks. When you consider the number of things that the eye takes in; the infinite gradations of masculinity or femininity of each aspect of each feature and the way these interact with the persons natural expression and demeanour, it is not surprising that no basic set of rules can hold true for everyone.

An important thing to take from all this is that subjective femininity is more important than objective femininity. In other words, it is more important how feminine your face seems to other people than how technically masculine any particular feature or group of features is. After all, we are not trying to pass for female to computers, we are trying to pass to other humans. The general public will usually give you a good indication of your general passability - don't go by “funny looks” it's so easy to misread a glance if you are insecure about your appearance (as so many trans women are). But if you are regularly called “Sir” or people make direct comments on your gender and trans status, that is a clear indication that there are problems and some of those may well be facial.

It sometimes takes a skilled eye to judge what those problems are but it's surprising how many people do have a good eye and I regularly have clients coming to me who have a very thorough understanding of their own faces and what needs to be done. Don't assume that all surgeons are good at evaluating faces – they should be but I can assure you there are some who are not.



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