It occurred to me recently that a part of our recovery and healing process as former crossdressers should be to examine our hearts to specifically repent of our sexism, and ask God to transform our hearts and minds. Why do I say this? My experience with crossdressing fiction reveals just how much sexism is in the crossdresser’s heart. While it is well known now that pornography reveals the sexism in men’s hearts and how we treat women as sexual objects, crossdressing and transgender fiction is in some ways even more revealing about what we as men truly think about women.
What evidence do I have for this claim? To begin, let’s look below at a few of the topical categories from some popular fiction sites. Here is a sampling of some of the more interesting topics:
Bad boy to good girl
Dominance and Submission
Maids or French Maids
Very High Heels
I will first note that many of the topical categories at these sites about crossdressing represent the same male sexual fantasies about women that we see in pornography and mainstream culture – nurses, cheerleaders, school girls, maids, etc. This is another reminder that while some of us do experience gender dysphoria, many of us are consumed by crossdressing purely for our heterosexual lust for women. It is only that our desire for women and sexual pleasure has been inverted to self. We have found a shortcut. It’s easier to dress up and lust after ourselves than to find and be with real women.
Otherwise, these topics might seem relatively harmless, but I think some of them bear reflection. What does it say about a person’s view of men and women, boys and girls, to think that boys tend to misbehave but that girls are obedient, and that a crossdressed boy will start to behave? What does it say that Bimbo is a whole category of stories? Do the readers of these stories really view women that way, or maybe they don’t see all women that way, but the women they are most attracted to are the ones they see as stupid?
There’s more that could be said on these topics and others. But I want to focus more on what is actually contained in the stories represented by these topics. I don’t want to cite specific stories as evidence for the claims I’m about to make. For anyone like me who has spent far too many hours reading such stories, the patterns are abundantly clear and need no argumentation. While some stories are PG-rated and rather tame or boring, there are many that are full of rape and violence. Sometimes the reader is intended to find sexual pleasure by reading stories of men who are crossdressed and then forced to perform oral sex on other men. Or they are overpowered and raped by other men while they are crossdressed. Sexual abuse and physical violence are some of the most common themes. Crossdressed men or women in the story are slapped, whipped, beaten, chained, locked up, blackmailed and more. Then there are stories of women or crossdressed men who act like idiotic bimbos. Crossdressed men who have no brain cells left. Crossdressed men who find nothing interesting in life anymore except for shopping and makeup. And there are plenty of stories of bondage, slavery, and forced submission. Many women or crossdressed men are made to live as slaves who do nothing but work for the others in the stories. I don’t have a percentage in mind, but I would wager that a majority of the stories on fiction sites include elements such as these. Back when I was in addiction to crossdressing fiction, I would search for hours to find pleasurable stories about crossdressing that didn’t contain such elements, and it was very very difficult to find what I was looking for. Some of us who used to read such sickening stories full of violence towards women, or men dressed as women, need to repent. Reflect before God about why you found these stories pleasurable and what it says about what is in your heart and mind. What are your true feelings about women? Do self-reflection and repent. And don’t stop at repentance. Ask God to transform your heart and your view of women, so that you see them as God’s creations, worthy of respect and honor.
James 4:7-10 – 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
But it’s easy to see the speck in the neighbor’s eye, and not look at our own issues. For those of us who never enjoyed that type of sick story, and that includes myself, do we still see some sexism in ourselves based on the other stories we liked to read? I have often wondered about the many seemingly tame stories which show the crossdressed man being transformed and becoming a real servant for his wife or for a man in the story. He may start to have his whole life be only about meeting the needs of that other person, and having no other real desire or personality of his own. In other stories, you see such a man living to cook and clean and doing all the work. You see women or crossdressed men in such stories needing to not only do all the work, but to look absolutely made-up and beautiful and sexy looking 100% of the time while doing it. What does this tell us about our view of women if we like those stories? Might this still reveal an attitude in us that women exist to meet our needs? That they exist just for us as men to have a beautiful wife to look at and someone to do our work for us? Such attitudes need our repentance and intentional actions of change as well. Let us search our hearts and confess our sins to the Lord.
There is yet another very different kind of sexism in these stories I’d like to point out. It is much more subtle. Let me give some examples of what I see and then I’ll give a name to it. In the stories you see that the crossdressed male protagonist is able to feel something different than he could as a regular man or boy. As a male, he felt stuck and trapped. While pretending to be a female, he feels free. As a male, he feels out of touch with his emotions. While pretending to be a female, he is able to experience a whole range of emotion in a positive way. As a male, he is out of control, making bad decisions, violent, or disobedient. While crossdressed, he is able to be calm and at peace and have self-control. As a male, he doesn’t care about people’s feelings or the needs of others. While crossdressed, he has become sensitive and attentive to the needs of others. As a male, he doesn’t give any attention or time to grooming, bathing, or attention to his appearance and dress. While crossdressed, he finally is properly groomed and cares about his appearance. As a male, people pay him no attention and he feels ugly. While crossdressed, people find him beautiful. As a male, he is socially awkward and has few friends. While crossdressed, he is expressive, easy to talk to, and even able to dance. And he has no shortage of friends, both girls and boys, or men and women. As a male, his relationships with parents are strained. While crossdressed, he receives affection from both parents, and he is willing to hug and kiss both father and mother.
To me, these patterns reveal a different type of sexism than the more derogatory types I mentioned earlier. This type of sexism is still harmful to women, and in a different way it is also harmful to men. While the first examples of sexism above were about viewing men as better than women, and as women existing only to meet the sexual and physical needs of men, this other kind of sexism is in some ways the reverse, believing that women are better than men. We may call it misandry, a hatred of or contempt of men. It is about gender stereotypes which might be generally true, but not universally true. Besides the stories making certain traits to be universally true, the stereotyped traits are exaggerated to a ridiculous extent. Being a boy becomes something bad and shameful, someone not even fully human. The protagonist is unable to be handsome/beautiful as a boy. The protagonist is unable to have friends as a boy. The protagonist is unable to be in touch with his feelings as a boy. When this kind of sexism and harmful stereotyping is taken in to a male reader’s heart it only fuels his self-hatred and strong longing for crossdressing or gender change. It might be a chicken and egg kind of scenario, where a boy reads such stories because he already has taken in such messages (and in turn the stories fuel his crossdressing desires), but also reading the stories also indoctrinates him even further into feeling shame as a boy and wanting to be a girl instead. Of course the real solution is not to flee our male bodies, but to learn that we can be in touch with our emotions, have deep social relationships, and look good in appearance even as men! Read this post – Integration and Contentment.
Many of us need to repent for our sexism. Maybe you have have taken in a wrong and offensive view of women, but maybe you have taken in a wrong and offensive view of men and yourself. And some of us may have had elements of both operating in us at the same time. I think that is entirely possible. We are complex creatures, and we are not 100% internally consistent in all of our feelings, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.
Lamentations 3:40 – Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!
Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
Let’s ask ourselves some probing questions:
- What qualities am I looking for in the women I’m dating?
- Am I attracted to women who act stupid or do I want a woman to be smart and able to converse with me?
- How do I treat my wife?
- Do I expect my wife to have sex with me whenever I want regardless of how she feels?
- Do I expect my wife to do more than 50% of the work at home if we are both working at jobs?
- Do I expect my wife to take care of her health, weight, and appearance to a greater extent than I am taking care of my health, weight, and appearance?
- Do I expect my wife to be attentive to my needs while I am not being attentive to her needs?
- Have I ever inflicted physical or verbal violence on my wife or another woman?
- Am I promoting sexism through my continued use of crossdressing fiction or pornography?
- Do I expect my wife to behave like the women in pornographic videos?
- Do I manipulate my wife to dress in the way that I want her to even if it makes her uncomfortable?
- Do I believe subconsciously that women are more holy than men?
- That women are better and more desirable than men?
- That women are more loved by God than men?
- Do I falsely believe that women can show affection better than men?
- Do I falsely believe that women can have deeper friendships than men can?
- Do I falsely believe that women can be more free with emotion compared to men?
- Do I falsely believe that I as a man cannot be handsome or attractive?
- Do I falsely believe that only women can be lighthearted, fun, and spontaneous?
Remember God made men and he made women, and both are good. Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. We must not misuse or abuse either men or women. And we must not view either one as inferior. Men and women have different roles according to God’s instructions in his Word, but both are equally made in the image of God, both are equally valuable, both are equal partners in salvation, and both are given spiritual gifts. We must not be ashamed to be either one. We must not lock either men or women into stifling gender stereotypes that are not biblical.
Consider making these questions and reflections a regular part of your recovery process. Add such items to your prayer list. Sanctification is a long process and does not happen over night. Keep praying for God to change your heart. It takes time. As you pray about it, you are reminded about it, and as you pray about it, God will respond and help you to change. You can become a man who treats women with love and respect. You can become a man who embraces his own manhood with thanksgiving rather than shame.