Achieving Feminine Body Proportions
Pictured above is Jessica Pérez, a fashion
model who has appeared in numerous beauty magazines in Europe,
the US, South America, and elsewhere. As I was admiring this
photo taken on Easter Island, Chile, I marveled at her figure:
She’s 5'8½" tall (1.74m) and weighs 134 pounds (60.8
kg). Her measurements in inches are 34B-24½-35. Her
waist-to-hip ratio is an ideal 0.70. How, I asked myself,
could I possibly look as pretty as her? Would sitting on
the edge of a cliff be worth a try after all … maybe?
No matter what I did, my chances of being able to look as good as Jessica Pérez would be slim and none, and even “slim” is a wild fantasy! Still, you’d be surprised how good a CD can look if she focuses on proportions. If we are to express our feminine instincts as clearly and as well as possible, then we need to nurture our alliances with genetic women, win them over, and foster a comfort-level with them that allows us to ask them important questions, even in areas that might be a bit sensitive. I usually try to avoid comparing myself (or other crossdressers) to exceptionally good looking genetic women, because we are different categories of human beings and each category has its own special features and appeal. We are not in direct competition with genetic women. Even those CD’s who might seem to be competing with women for male attention are interested in quite different categories of men. CDs ordinarily would be most interested in so-called “CD admirers,” whereas most genetic women would be interested in the more usual kinds of masculine men. It’s also true that women whose sexual preferences are other women are interested in categories of women that differ from those in which CD’s might be interested. In short, crossdressers and genetic women are not in any serious rivalry, yet both want to look good; and genetic women have more know-how and better insights into that area than we do. That is where genetically female friends can be a real blessing for crossdressers.
People who are striving to be their best in any particular area — music, science, rock climbing, or any other — typically look to a prototype of perfection (or near-perfection) in that area to provide them some guidance as they pursue their objective.
CDs who have given serious thought to their objectives and their strategies for achieving them know they can never achieve absolute perfection; but they also know that they can come closer to it if they: (1) compare themselves to an appropriate prototype; (2) identify the most glaring disparities between themselves and that prototype; and (3) develop a plan for reducing those disparities. Jessica Pérez, a Costa Rican fashion model, is regarded as having one of the best figures in the industry, making her a good prototype for crossdressers who are striving to be their best at feminine presentation. Unlike the fashion models favored by top modeling agencies a generation ago, who often were painfully thin, Jessica is part of a new breed, combining realistic feminine proportions with exceptional beauty. Can we achieve a feminine appearance at her level of perfection? No. Can we move closer to it? Yes!
In an earlier version of her Flickr® profile (also in various other places), Cathy Vermaak wrote, “I’m a homosexual tranny, which means that I want to be with men. I also admire women of all kinds, always trying to learn from their dressing sense, their make-up, etc. … and if you’re prettier than me, then I’ll be jealous (just kidding)!!” Regarding the last part, she may have been just kidding, but her more subtle point was that if other CD’s study women and learn from them, and she does not, then those others surely will become better looking than she is, which would make her envious. She and other crossdressers who want to look as appealing as possible will best achieve that result by learning as much as they can from good looking genetic women, especially those who relate to us at some level and are willing to give some help and advice.
Helen Fisher PhD, a biological anthropologist, is a Senior Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute, a member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies, and a professor in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. Professor Fisher is one of the most prominent bio anthropologists in the world. She has theorized that human beings have evolved three core brain systems for lust, romance, and attachment: (1) lust, raw sex drive, or libido; (2) nonsexual warm emotional attraction; and (3) feelings of security and union with a partner who would be desirable in a long-term relationship (see Fisher, Why We Love, chapter 4, pages 77-98). Among other implications of her theory, a crossdresser or non-crossdressing man could have deep positive feelings for a woman, yet (like Cathy) still feel strong homosexual lust. Some significant proportion of crossdressers welcomes attention from men (and vice versa). Being what they are, some crossdressers are likely to have occasional or even frequent sexual encounters with men in spite of wanting to keep their female-male relationships unharmed. The target for lust is not always the target for warm feelings or for feelings of long-term appeal and union.
I am a strong believer that all crossdressers — straight, bisexual, or homosexual — should cultivate friendships with persons of both genetic sexes. In terms of Helen Fisher’s core brain systems, some friendships should be sought on a nonsexual basis, accepting the person’s raw sexual feelings (whatever those might be) unconditionally. Being genetically male and gay is not a good reason for avoiding friendships with women or strictly heterosexual men. You just build those friendships on a nonsexual footing. Friendships that are largely platonic can be among the very best. As a transgender person with a sexual preference for men, Cathy Vermaak would not want to have a sexual relationship with ltany genetic woman (not even one as attractive as Jessica Pérez); but I’m sure that Cathy be delighted to be friends with her and to learn from her. People can have strong homosexual feelings, yet still want and sometimes have close other-sex relationships. Crossdressers can befriend genetic women without rejecting their own sexuality or that of those women. Straight men can be good friends with lesbian women; and gay men can be good friends with straight women. More generally, a person’s raw sexual preference may be largely independent of her or his compatibility with others who are just fun to be around, reflecting the three core brain systems that Helen Fisher identified. How people would prefer to spend the night when they’re horny as heck reflects only one of those!
University of Utah psychology professor Lisa Diamond also distinguished between strong attractions to others and sexual preferences for others (see Diamond, Lisa M. 2003. “What does sexual orientation orient? A bio behavioral model distinguishing romantic love and sexual desire.” Psychological Review. Volume 110. Pages 173-192). No matter what our sexual attractions, we can admire women’s smiles, their personalities, their characters, and their talents … and all their knowledge of dresses and makeup that we are yet to learn!
Although we all have to be realistic, we can make excellent progress toward looking good if we go about it rationally. Compared to Jessica Pérez, my chest is too large; my hips are too small; and my waist-hip ratio is too large. Although I weigh more than she does and my Body Mass Index (BMI) is larger than hers, the crucial differences are in body proportions, not in weight per se or even in BMI per se. A reasonable effort to get closer to her prototypic figure would include reducing my waist size, increasing my hips size, and AVOIDING any change that would significantly increase my chest/bust size. Regarding the latter, I wear A-size breast forms, which provide some shape without increasing my chest size very much. Hip padding and a waist cincher would provide the biggest bang for the buck, the greatest improvement at a reasonable cost.
Of course, professional models pay a lot of attention to diet and exercise, which are part of maintaining their attractive body proportions. Ms. Pérez probably eats a balanced diet and consumes only modest quantities; she probably works out at a health club, and perhaps she also does some cardio exercise. Nevertheless, my results from copying her diet and exercise regimen would NOT be very dramatic — they surely would never cause anyone with good vision to look at me and say, “Hey, I think that’s Jessica Pérez over there!”
My BMI is lower than that of Ashley Graham (a plus-size model), which suggests that I could look reasonably attractive if I were to manage my body proportions skillfully — with a little help, of course, from shapewear. I mention Ashley Graham to help make the point that we can look reasonably feminine even if we’re not as slim and fit as Jessica Pérez. For looking feminine, body proportions are more important than weight or BMI. That’s good news for some of us! Many crossdressers should take heart from it. Looking good is just a few items of shapewear away!
I do not know Jessica Pérez personally. If she or any of her family or friends reads this page, I hope that they will not take what I’m about to say the wrong way: I love the appearance of her body. Part of me would love to have a face and body just like hers. I remember when I first saw a photo of her and couldn’t take my eyes off it! But it would not be feasible for me to have a body and face just like hers, permanently. I would like to have a better approximation of it when I dress in femme mode. But my situation requires that I be part-time.
For me and for many other crossdressers who are not full-time, the largest improvements toward that goal would come from hips padding to increase hips circumference perhaps 4 inches, waist cinchers or corsets to decrease waist circumference by 2 to 4 inches, and a minimal amount of breast enhancement just to add a bit of feminine shape without increasing bust circumference much.
Those who are determined perfectionists and are very committed to achieving ideal feminine proportions could supplement those shape-wear additions with surgeries and female hormones to achieve even better results; however, many of us probably would be happy with the improvements brought about through well-chosen shape-wear. Most of the major crossdressing stores on the Internet (e.g., Classic Curves, Glamour Boutique, Janet’s Closet, etc.) carry body-shaping items that can help a lot. Across historical eras and geographic locations, much evidence supports the same basic conclusions about what constitutes good body proportions. For more on body proportions and the changes most crossdressers would require to look their best, see the following continuations of this topic:
Finally, if we ever feel discouraged about not being able to look as spectacular as Ms. Pérez (or other pretty fashion models), it’s worth reminding ourselves that genetic women come in all sizes and shapes, and many of them look very good in spite of having Body Mass Indexes quite a bit larger than Jessica’s. Maybe I will never be asked to pose for the cover of Votré Beaute magazine or walk on the runway for Oscar de la Renta; but I can look more like my very pretty sister and my two dazzling cousins …
[Psst! I had to say that or they’d kill me!]
In the unlikely event that I were to have dinner
with Jessica Pérez, what questions would I ask her?
Presuming she knew that I was a crossdresser, also that we were
on friendly enough terms that personal questions would not be
offensive, I would ask some things about her hair, eyebrows,
lips, other makeup, and figure, all of which I think are exactly
what I would want if I had the ability. I think she would have
good suggestions. And, of course, I’d ask her,
“How’d you get so pretty? Teach me! Teach
§ § §
I wish you blessings.