Summary: When it comes to the news, Caityln Jenner, fresh off her gender reassignment process, has been all over the place. And she has received mostly positive feedback and encouragement over her transition. This is a good thing, but it’s worth remembering that Jenner is not the only one who has felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body (or vice versa). It might be useful, then, to use Jenner as a springboard to talk about various aspects of gender reassignment, some of them more obvious than others—but all of them worth discussing.
Caitlyn Jenner’s Gender Transformation
It’s difficult to discuss plastic surgery these days without stumbling on the topic of Caitlyn Jenner. The former athlete has now, by all accounts, completed her gender transformation (or enough of that transformation to adopt the new identity). As with most celebrities, we tend to think that far too much attention has been given to Jenner as a singular person. This isn’t uncommon, as I mentioned, with celebrities, but it is too bad in Jenner’s case, as there is a lot of fruitful discussion that could come out of such a widely known case. As it stands, the general public possesses a great deal of dubious information when it comes to gender reassignment surgeries—and the transgender community as a whole.
The Truth About Gender Reassignment Surgeries
Most people think of gender reassignment surgery as one single procedure, and most people tend to think it revolves around the genitals. This is true, in part—there are certainly surgeries designed to make the genitals appear one way or another. But most gender reassignment procedures actually have little to do with the genitals and, instead, focus on other areas of the body that have significance to gender. Indeed, most gender cues are social—society, broadly speaking, has decided that certain traits are feminine and other traits are masculine.
Perhaps the most obvious example here is breast tissue. Obviously, having breasts is considered to be a female trait—lacking breasts, on the other hand is considered a masculine trait. Of course, that doesn’t stop all kinds of men from developing breast tissue for any number of reasons. And women who have small breasts are still considered feminine (or, at the very least, female). I don’t say this to destabilize all kinds of gender assumptions, but simply to point out that these social cues may not be as straight forward as they may at first seem. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that breasts of a certain size and shape are considered to be the most feminine.
Breast Procedures for Gender Reassignment
It’s not uncommon, then, for one of the most potent aspects of gender reassignment to focus around the breasts. In the case of women transitioning into men, breast tissue is removed. This is, arguably, the more simple form of the surgery, because tissue does not have to be added. With male to female transitions, things get a little more complicated. Though the process often begins with hormone therapies, tissue has to be added to the breast. Sometimes this tissue is donated from another part of the body, as with breast reconstruction surgeries. According to the website of the Minneapolis transgender breast surgery experts at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, sometimes this can also be accomplished with artificial implants, such as saline or silicone implants.
Being Happy With Who You Are
However it’s accomplished, breast surgery is often one of the most noticeable ways that surgery can aid in the transition process. But it’s not the only way. Caitlyn Jenner, for example, had surgery on her face in order to make it appear more feminine. Masculine features include hard angles along the jawline, ending with a strong, flat chin, a strong, as well as a strong, angled nose and prominent brows. Feminine features include a more gracefully sloping jawline ending in a point, a smaller nose, and small brows. In whichever direction the patient is going, from male to female or female to male, many of these effects can be accomplished with plastic surgery.
It’s All About Happiness
Now, there are few procedures more divisive than gender reassignment. But it’s important to keep your opinions about the procedures separate from your opinions of the people undergoing those procedures. Plastic surgery procedures are big, after all, on refraining from judging others getting plastic surgery. And at the end of the day, gender reassignment procedures are not terribly different from any other plastic surgery procedure: they’re designed to help the patient feel more like his or her authentic self. And that’s all any plastic surgery procedure is trying to do, whether it’s a little bit of Botox or a breast augmentation, these procedures are designed to, essentially, help the outside match the inside.
So when we discuss Caitlyn Jenner it’s important to applaud what she’s done for the same reason we would applaud any plastic surgery procedure. We’re happy that she’s more content with herself, and we’re happy that, in being so public about her transformation, she may encourage others who yearn for the same relief to act. But it’s important to remember that Jenner is not the only one who has gone through this transition, and it’s important to applaud everyone else too.