This is a self-portrait made by Zoe, a precocious, articulate and self-possessed sixteen year-old who blogs as Posh-Lost.

I admire her spunk.

Admiration aside, I have misgivings about posting this—not the least of which is the image maker being too young to ‘legally’ browse this site. Also, does displaying her work alongside more explicit content unnecessarily sexualize it?

Laurie Penny uses an ingenious coinage to refer to the well-intentioned worry we shower on the behavior of teenage girls: concern-fapping.

It is patently fucking absurd to think young women are not foundationally aware of the degree and extent to which their bodies are sexualized by society.

Further, anyone looking at this picture should know better. This is not some cell phone bathroom mirror selfie; light shines in through a window visible along the left edge of the frame, a la the Dutch Baroque. Further the staging speaks to an interest not in seeing while being seen but something closer to a preoccupation with the perception of self by another.

The flimsy, semi-sheer camisole is sexy; but whether sexy translates to something libidinous or reciprocally desiring remains pointedly unresolved.

Granted, it is not free of flaws. But it is thoughtful and I find it thoroughly and unironically interesting. But I can’t lie—there is something else to it that gets under my skin.

Long story short: I have never disclosed my gender on this blog. I’ve implied through omission, undertaken some linguistic gymnastics and mostly embraced opportunities to shore up ambiguity.

I have mild-to-medium gender dysphoria. As a child, I wanted to be a girl. When other kids played super heroes—I didn’t give a fuck about the perpetual fight over who got to be Superman because I was Wonder Woman. This was frowned upon. Frowns became stern words escalated to outright threats.

A dear friend suggested that if I was meant to be a woman, nothing would have stopped me. I think that is sage advice.

If you need a hammer but you only have a wrench, it doesn’t really work the best but you can more or less make due. From the standpoint of how my body relates to my sexual identity, this metaphor serves.

I pass as male and straight although I’d never embrace either. This creates a-whole-nother layer of complication. On the one hand, there are social expectations of me with which I find so uncomfortable they are debilitating; on the other, I have privilege in that I can somewhat function under the assumption that I am cisgendered. My ‘problems’ seem charmed compared to the struggles of the rest of the gender dysphoric community.

Additionally, I have a pathological aversion to anything related to medicine. Gender reassignment surgery is not a consideration. It’s that I feel more feminine that masculine. azura09 always says she thinks of me as a really dyke-y Daria Morgendorffer.

And yes if there was a Matrix like scenario where I could take the red pill and wake up female-bodied, I would do it without a second thought. Even if the ante was upped and I would die five years after taking the red pill, my choice would be the same.

I know this image is Zoe and she seems really amazing and the last thing I have any desire to do is co-opt her experience or her own depiction of her body but—fuck me—this is to a T the way I see myself in my head.

If there were surgical procedures that would make this awful body conform to this image, they couldn’t cut fast enough for me.

Maybe then someone might be able to love me.

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