Masculine women are women too.
Despite the confusion that our appearance or attitudes may present to the heterosexual community, at the end of the day we are female- with female issues. Now, tackling these issues may require a different and more delicate approach due to the adaptation of some negative heterosexual stereotypes on gender and masculinity, but at the end of the day, ignoring these issues means ignoring our bodies, and ultimately our health. In 2018, it’s time that we as butch/ studs/stems/non-binaries/masculine-of-center individuals embrace our biological bodies and processes with a natural acceptance and educated understanding of what health and wellness means for us.
I’d go so far as to say that these health issues are even more rampant among our population of the community. So I wrote this for my fellow bois as a way to point out certain health and wellness issues that affect us specifically. At the end of the day, the responsibility of health and wellness is ours alone, and because we don’t know what we don’t know, we might be directly or indirectly affecting our own well-being.
The Pap smear, also called Pap test, is a screening procedure for cervical cancer. Yes, it’s totally invasive and slightly to mildly uncomfortable (to say the least), but it’s necessary. This type of cancer can be deadly and is the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide. Need I say more? Just get the test done… a clean bill of health is worth a few awkward minutes spent in a doctor’s office.
Mammograms are an absolutely essential part of a medical check-up for women 40+ years old. Even if you don’t have any symptoms or discomfort, it’s still strongly recommended YEARLY! It’s a relatively painless procedure that takes a total of twenty minutes. Make sure you don’t put on deodorant before you go as it can show up on the X-ray as white spots. Don’t be afraid! The American Cancer Society says that “only 2 to 4 screening mammograms in 1,000 lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer.”
Periods/ PMS/ Tampons & Pads
The tampons vs pads debate is a personal one, and quite frankly, whatever you use is your choice. All I suggest is that you consider effectiveness, convenience, and sanitation. Using a tampon doesn’t make you any less “butchy/studly/hard/etc” and in many cases might be the more practical option. In addition, don’t be afraid to address your cramps and any other PMS symptoms you may be experiencing. Besides over-the-counter and homeopathic remedies, I find that a heating pad works just fine! There’s no need to suffer helplessly through something all us women experience monthly.
Sexual & Personal Hygiene
As women, us bois still need to maintain a standard of cleanliness and sanitation. If we can’t embrace our body and its processes, we will have a hard time to maintain it and treat it the way it deserves. Have you ever tried a bubble bath? I suggest you do. Many masculine women make it a point to perform maintenance in the form of manicures, shaving, facials, etc. and whatever your regimen may (or not be) that’s perfectly fine, as long as you’re clean and healthy.
When it comes to sexual health, it’s always recommended to have safe sex. Sometimes masculine women don’t worry much about infections and diseases because there might not be direct vaginal-to-vaginal contact, but certain viruses such as herpes can be passed through the skin, even asymptomatically. Furthermore, the use of improperly cleaned and recycled toys can put your partner at risk of everything from an inconvenient bacterial infection to something much more serious. So, please make smart decisions when you’re thinking of becoming intimate.
As a masculine woman myself, it is understandable to feel the pressure society places upon you. There’s a certain stigma for a masculine woman to act, walk and/or talk like a man. Even within our own LGBT community we have certain expectations of that of a woman who identifies as masculine. We see a masculine woman and expect her to “be the boy/man” for some reason or another. Time and time again after being expected to live up to those “expectations,” we (masculine women) eventually believe it ourselves. Don’t allow society to place you inside of a bubble and tell you how they THINK you should act. To hell with feeling the need to follow hetero gender roles. Create your own role.
There is no wrong way to handle depression as long as it’s healthy and that you don’t go untreated. If you believe crying helps cope with your depression, let loose. It’s ok. Often times we forget that it’s okay to cry. That it’s okay to show your emotions. We get so caught up on that stigma that we forget that we are women. Another way to fight depression is to find a positive outlet; whether it being drawing, knitting, exercising, you name it. If it keeps you in a “happy place” and it helps to remove any of your depressive thoughts, find what makes you happy. But one of the best treatments for depression is therapy. Don’t be afraid to seek guidance from a therapist if you believe to suffer from depression. You’d be surprised how effective it can be. Rome wasn’t built in a day so don’t feel the need to “fix” yourself in one session. Everything is a process and if you believe in it and stick with it, then you’ll be a much better version of yourself.
Almost everyone has a few things they’d like to change and improve about themselves. But when these completely human, natural, and fleeting thoughts become obsessions and pain points-- it’s time to deeply confront the sources of of these feelings of inadequacy and then fill the wound up with self-worth and self-love. Of course we all know that there are many more different types and styles of masculine-of-center women than what is portrayed in mainstream media. Unfortunately we also know that at times the community itself propagates the very same shallowness. But chin up, because ALL Butch is beautiful. It’s ok to be perfectly imperfect! Chances are there’s a lovely woman out there who will love you for you! So stand tall (bad posture and body dysmorphia go hand in hand), and proud, and give yourself credit for being masculine-of-center--living honestly in the skin you’re in!
Pressure to be “Masculine” Acting/ Looking
Sadly, some masculine-of-center females feel a pressure to live up to hetero stereotypes of what they envision is a portrayal of masculinity. This can create an unhealthy duality where a stud or butch is projecting a facade of being someone they’re not. Over time this can become stressful and depressing. Self-love and self-confidence is rooted in the freedom to be yourself unapologetically.
Look, we’ve all been there… we’ve all had that phase of being a masculine female that makes us cringe-- the things we were wearing, and doing and saying were just totally… awful and embarrassing. Most of us at some point walked around acting like we were little teenage boys. As we got older, we learned that embracing our gender didn’t make us any less masculine, and that actually emanating some of the less desirable characteristics that some men project was NOT good thing and was in fact extremely misogynistic and disrespectful to the women we wanted to attract. We learned that peer pressure and judgement among fellow bois in the community are extremely harmful activities, and we’ve seen just how beautiful androgyny truly is-- as a physical manifestation as well as a state of being. It’s a wonderful thing to be a masculine woman on your own terms. Even by forging your path you are providing visibility to masculine-of-center everywhere, and potentially giving confidence and hope to a young butch or stud who was previously afraid to express themselves. You never know what inspiration your life path and story provides to someone else. Show our younger generation of masculine women what it means to be healthy, happy, balanced, AND masculine-of-center.
Wellness is a process, but it’s also a mindset. It’s really hard to be “healthy” when you’re not completely aligned mind, body, and soul. If I can provide any life lessons on how to be happily masculine-of-center:
written by Anonymous, edited by Veronica Wildchild
Did you like this article? This is just one of MANY topics that will be discussed at the Annual “Retreat Yourself” Women’s Weekend, happening November 16th-18th 2018 in South Beach Miami!
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