Thursday, September 13, 2018

Being Thankful for YouTube

By Kathy Hamilton

Hands up all those who remember the bad old days when crossdressers who wanted a photo record of their beautiful selves had to either use a relatively low-quality Polaroid instamatic camera to take a “selfie”, or set up their SLR camera on a tripod, and try as hard as they could to capture that perfect shot—wasting roll after roll of film in the process?

Of course, the advantage of a Polariod camera was that the photograph was almost instant (ie you’d wait about 60 seconds whilst the image began to materialize in front of your eyes, shaking the paper dry as fast as you could); the key disadvantages being that you never knew if the lighting was good enough or the shot was in focus or the angles to make you look feminine were right.

The good old SLR had different pros and cons: better photo quality if you got the lighting and focus right, plus the opportunity to practice multiple shots with your 24 or 36 frame film. The big downside, apart from having to make sure the film was wound on and exposed correctly? You had to take your undeveloped roll of file to the photo shop (often a pharmacy) to have your precious photos developed—and wait with bated breath for 4-5 days while the shop did its work. Then there was the overriding fear of the photo developer scrutinizing your photos with bias or disgust, maybe even reporting such obscene photos to others and or telling someone who knew you about your strange habit of dressing in female clothes.

Thankfully, most of these issues with photos are now in the past and, with the rapid development of digital cameras and, perhaps more importantly, high-tech smartphones with excellent photo and video taking capabilities, crossdressers can show, present and exhibit themselves to the world while dressed in their En Femme finery.

YouTube was really the first video platform which allowed people to upload their own videos or collections of still photos for others to see and, when you think about it, this has opened up so many opportunities for crossdressers and transgender people to connect and reveal themselves and, hopefully, educate others about us and advance the level of social acceptance.

On YouTube you can see videos which:
  • simply show our crossdresser enjoying herself walking around her house or, perhaps, taking a few tentative steps outside in the relative safety of her garden… some girls staying fairly anonymous and not showing their face, others happy to let the world in on their secret
  • show the more daring crossdressers wandering around a shopping center or other scenic place, sometimes alone or, at other times, with friends
  • view our cross dresser getting ready step by step, pulling on her underwear, body shapers, EnFemme dress and wig… until she is finally ready and can prance and preen and stand looking into the mirror and admire the persona, her alter-ego, which she has created and is now proudly revealing
  • involve crossdressers changing back from female mode to male mode, although these types of videos are rarer—possibly as the changing back is more deflating than exhilarating—and many crossdressers don’t enjoy the change back anyway!
  • tutorial videos, showing cross dressers how to: o apply make-up, starting from face cleansing preparation to beard cover to foundation to eyebrows, to mascara and eyeliner and so on; how to take care of your nails and apply nail polish; or do your hair or select and care for wigs.
  • The variety of such tutorials are endless and, as they are usually being presented by other people from within the community, are a great boon to those looking to improve and develop their dressing skills
  • offer or advertise transformation and photography services, usually showing how the studio in question can dress you up, do your make-up and let your inner self be revealed in a series of photo shoots; sometimes such studio will offer to escort you on out on the town (if that’s what you wish to do)
  • demonstrate some of the great clothes and accessories which can be purchased online from En Femme Style
  • share real life experiences from those crossdressers who have decided to do cosmetic surgery (plus, of course, the fascinating stories of transgender people and their transition journeys)
  • view documentaries about crossdressers and their relationships with their wife or girlfriend or other family members; plus, how the rest of society is now reacting to them
  • feature lectures or talks by other crossdressers or transgender people (such as TED-X) about the social or general gender related issues we all face (e.g., bathroom usage when out and about)
For those of us who grew up feeling isolated and unaware that there were other crossdressers, the ability to, by pressing a few buttons, tune into a fantastic resource such as YouTube has transformed isolation into connectedness and community.

Whatever you need to know about crossdressing and expressing yourself can now be found on YouTube—but I guess the only real downside is information overload - but that is something you have to manage for yourself!

No comments: