OK, I will grant you are an exceptionally tolerant and forgiving person. After all you're a crossdresser (or at least involved positively with one if you're reading this) and you can probably stand and deliver a fifteen to twenty minute lecture on how crossdressers should be respected, and how it doesn't really matter what you're wearing, you should be treated with respect. Maybe you're one of the activists, willing standing up before God and all Her children in a dress to prove your point. I applaud you for your positive mental attitude and congratulate you for your "broad-minded" sensibility. So now I'm going to mess with your mind.
Let's act out a little scene. The setting is your local crossdresser's club. There are diverse persons of both apparent genders seated around the room chatting and schmoozing. Enter, stage left, yours truly, looking foreword to an evening of fun and games among my crossdressed peers. Suddenly the conversation stops. Tableaux: shocked faces, disapproving stares and icy silence. I quickly take inventory: shoes match the clothes, slip not showing, blouse buttoned tightly, (grab head) wig in place. Everything checks OK. So why the dropped jaws?
(Portentous drumming, then a voice offstage with lots of echo.) "Check your face, stupid!"
Quick, a mirror! There's got to be a mirror around, crossdressers simply can't exist without a reflection to ponder. There, lots of eye shadow, long, thick lashes, ruby red lips, high neckline covering the Adam's apple. Still no clue what's wrong.
(Voice offstage, downright exasperated.) It's not the makeup, dummy, it's the hair.
Oh, now I get it. If you guys in dresses are so gol darned tolerant, so ready to demand acceptance of your crossdressing, why do you get so nervous at seeing me in a dress if I haven't shaved my beard?
Relax, it's a rhetorical question, I don't expect you to answer it. In fact, I will admit that I am as unwilling to show up at a meeting in dress and beard as anyone. To be frank, I was more than a little embarrassed to dress up at home and have my wife see me, even though she actually encouraged it. Why is it unacceptable to express your femininity with hair on your face?
My wife the social worker explained it to me as she was reading over my shoulder while I typed this. It's called, in a typical social work phrase with far too many words, Internalizing the Mind of the Oppressor. (Why do social workers always need so many words. If you're going to use jargon at least invent one simple word and save me some typing.) It's the old story of the kidnap victim joining the kidnappers, the battered woman announcing "It's really my fault." If we're so ready to demand uncritical acceptance of gender expression, why is the presence or absence of facial hair so important?
I'll freely admit I have internalized the view that I mustn't want to go out in a dress with an unshaven face. So go ahead and admit it, you think so too. Then take a minute to ask yourself why. Reach down to the liberated woman in you and tackle this hairy problem, then go forth with a new vision of tolerance and acceptance. Who knows, maybe I'll catch up to you after I've shaved the beard so I can go out in public.
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