On Selfies, Porn and Balls

Just one of the things that baffles and distresses many partners of autogynephilic men, is the apparent need these men have for posting “selfies” on social media and file hosting/sharing sites. What gives with the trans and the selfie? Really, what is going on here? Say the word “selfie”, and it probably conjures up a face pic, perhaps. Someone smiling or pouting into the camera, perhaps with a landmark in the background, or a kitten held to the face.
In the case of autogynephiles, these photos go way beyond the flirty head and shoulders shot (that’s when a head is even visible in the photo), and stray into the territory of faux “glamour” shots, or even full on pornography. Often times, it is a disembodied body part – I could pay my rent for a year if I had a penny for every “looking down the stocking clad legs to the shoes” shot. Or a body shot from the neck down. I see two functions for these headless shots. One for the sake of anonymity (what if Bert’s co-workers found that!?), the other because they just don’t “pass” – and anyway, who needs to look at the face when one is banging one out? For the record, my torturer is particularly fond of photographing his repellent, hormone-induced “breasts”, cupped in his hands with his oh so long nails on display. Conjuring up that image is actually making me queasy. Apologies to those of you with a delicate constitution.
Discovering such photos on a phone or a computer, and quite likely (with a bit more digging) hosted in the public domain on sites such as Flickr, is a sick-making experience. In fact, if you are brave, go to Flickr, search for “transgender”, look at what you find.
Reading the comments underneath from similarly deluded men such as “Wow, babe, gorgeous!”, or “Mmmmmm, yummy – show me more, hon.” almost made me vomit on more than one occasion. And no matter how many times I asked him to “STOP THAT SHIT”, it never would. More and more would appear. As usual, my voice may well have not been there.
He would say things like, “I like to look at them when I’m depressed. It cheers me up”, or “Some sites won’t let you join unless you have photographs” (what sites, I would wonder, require members to post semi-nude pictures of yourself??) Or “I like getting feedback as a woman”…. the “validation excuse”, as I called it. The fact that this “feedback” consisted of men (in dresses or otherwise) telling him how much they wanted to “fuck his tight, Tgirl pussy” wasn’t lost on me. This wasn’t the validation of “Hey, you are a strong, gifted woman – I like your character and views on the world!”, this was the “validation” of a porn soaked-man’s idea of what “validation” means to women.

 

I don’t argue that there are girls and women out in the wider world for whom pleasing the male gaze is a source of validation. Anyone with a smidgeon of feminist consciousness could un-pack the politics behind that. But the fact that this was *the only* form of validation being sought….I told him countless times that I didn’t even want to be friends with the “woman” he thinks he is, let alone a romantic partner.
In my time online looking for help with this whole experience, I would often ask these men why they did this. I didn’t ever get what I felt was an honest answer – too invested they were with normalising the obsessions, and papering over the obvious sexual motivations. And over time I saw many partners come into these “support” spaces and ask the same question – “Why does he do that?” Maybe I can’t ever get to the answer of that (I can certainly theorise), but I can speak about the impacts on myself, and on other women who have found themselves dealing with this behaviour in their relationship. I was disgusted and alarmed. I felt betrayed, and gaslighted by the excuses and lies. I felt powerless to stop it. All the female partners I spoke to shared these emotions.
One female partner, who I became quite close to, spoke to me of her disgust at finding a carrier bag under the desk where her husband used the computer with sperm encrusted socks and towels in them. He liked to play the submissive and had many photographs of himself as “Maid M*******” (I don’t want to publish all the name out of discretion for his wife). The socks and towel were from his hours and hours in front of the screen, reading comments and viewing photos that other “maids” and “mistresses” had left under his thousands of photos, and in chat rooms for the perverted.
Yet still they insist it is “not about sex”. They insist this to their wives and girlfriends who they tell that it is a result of an innate “femininity”, that they are “born this way”, that they deserve respect and honour for their feminine selves…
And it doesn’t just stop with a few “cheesecake” photos. Like most of the behaviour common to these men, it escalates. More and more photos, more and more sites, more and more fetish. On and on and on. I knew it was never going to stop when I found pictures of his panty encased (sometimes exposed) penis on a photo sharing site. He admitted to me that he had an online “mistress”, and one of his “tasks” was to post a photograph of his penis (and make sure he was wearing underwear of her choosing) any time she asked for it. So this could be several times a day, and even in the middle of the night. He would recieve a text, and he would pop to the bathroom and take a photograph and post it on the site. The mental image of him furiously wanking in a toilet cubicle at work and taking a photograph of the result to post on the internet for all to see won’t ever leave me. It didn’t seem to register with him that this “mistress” was quite probably another fetishist in a dress, and not the woman in the porny images on the profile for “Mistress Carolyne”. It didn’t seem to bother him that once out there, he couldn’t take the photos back. In fact that seemed part of the thrill for him. The “exposure” fantasy so common in these men and their demands for “forced feminisation”. In the end, it is all porn. In the final cut, these men are their own pornography. Viewer, actor and distributor. The male gaze catering to the male gaze.
Another time, he accidentally sent me a mirror shot of himself taken in a toilet cubicle (the kind with a sink and mirror contained within the cubicle) of himself in a corset top with his skirt pulled up exposing his crotch and suspenders. He sent it by SMS. While we were out for an evening. So even when we were having “a couple’s night out” the photo taking and sending wasn’t abated. The sexual haze was strong.
(Who am I kidding? “Nights out” never actually involved me.)

 

Even prior to the internet, men who think they are women took photographs. The film developed and printed by private and “discreet” services catering to the needs the “fetish community”. There is a long history of this behaviour, and archivists have uncovered photographs of men dressing in clothes normally assigned to women that go back to the earliest days of photography. Some of these were made into postcards for private consumption and sharing. Just as the images produced today are.
More recently there are the photographs discovered in a thrift shop that went on to form the basis of the book Casa Susanna , a collection of photographs of transvestites from the 50s and 60s taken at a hideaway ranch in the Catskills. These photographs are described a “poignant” and “moving” by the gay man who found them and gathered them into book form. The book is now considered a cultural classic, and Harvey Feinstein has even made a play about it. I can’t help but wonder if these men’s wives (likely unaware of their husband’s “hobby”, or living in silent fortitude while their husbands took off for weekends with others who shared their “fantasies”) would have thought these photo’s “poigniant” …
One more story involving photographs. The torturer and I were in a “tranny friendly” bar one time. There were two old transvestites there. One I dubbed Mrs Silk because of his obvious satin fetish. The other I named “Wee Ernest Borgnine” because well, he looked like a short Ernest Borgnine in drag. They asked if they could join our table, so we made room for them.
Ernest Borgnine, pretty much out of nowhere, leant over the table and said to me “Do you like balls?” I must have looked slightly taken aback, since he followed that with “I mean, do you like going to balls?. Still slightly phased, I replied do him that no, balls aren’t really my thing, in fact I don’t think I have even been to or invited to “a ball”. He asked me, “Would you like to see photos?. Not knowing what to say to that I mumbled something like, “Hmm, yeah, s’pose so…”.He produced from his handbag, not a phone with some snaps he had taken stored on it, but a photograph album. In fact I saw in his bag that he had three or four more such albums. He proceeded to show me these photos of himself and other transvestites at what looked like formal functions held in hotels. He wore an impressive arrange of formal gowns, as did his friends. I honestly didn’t know what to say to Ernest Borgnine till he came to one particular photograph. It was of him, in a white halter neck pleated dress posed in Marlyn Munroe’s iconic, legs apart, bent slightly forward pose from “The Seven Year Itch”. His Borgnine face grinning into the camera, a fan heater on the floor in front of him, blowing up the skirt of the dress and showing his skinny man legs encased in nylon. “Um, well, that’s quite a pose”, I said. He beamed and told me that he had even better ones than that to show me, as he reached into his bag for another album.

 

You like balls, Rover?
You like balls, Rover?