Passing and the Masculine Woman

Passing and the Masculine Woman

There actually are no statistics on the number of masculine appearing woman out there as of course it’s very subjective. And although you no doubt know a masculine looking woman, have you given any thought that perhaps they face some of the same issues that we do as transgender women. With the growing visibility of transgender women has also come the mistaken identity of masculine women by those that are not accepting of our presence.

So I was curious and my interest was piqued by a segment on the Today show called Ambush Makeover; stories and videos of women getting a whole new look as we see their before and after transformations

Janet 60 and Brigette on Ambush masculine look

Here are two women recently selected for an Ambush Makeover. Janet Lawler and Brigette Dineen. Neither woman will win a beauty contest and Brigette was seen as having 34% masculine features. Both women were transformed into more attractive versions of themselves through makeup, hair styling, and dress.

Janet before and after_changing masculine to feminine

Janet before and after_


Brigette before and after changing maasculine to feminine

Brigette before and after

Sound familiar?

How did I arrive at that 34% – through a website called Pictriev that analyses your face shape for its masculine and feminine features and determines whether you are male or female looking (in percentages) and your approximate age. It also gives you a range of look-alikes. You’ll definitely want to bookmark this site.

So the process used by Ambush Makeover applies to our transformation processes too. Here is Julie Shaw from Spokane, WA, a member of Classy Crossdressers, in an outfit that she calls “casual chic”. I agree. She has captured the look perfectly.

Julie Shaw

Here is Julie’s face which Pictriev says is 43% feminine. Most women have finer features than most men, so it becomes difficult for most crossdressers to “pull it off,” despite makeup, wig, clothing, and accessories. But Julie, like Kandi Robbins in our Visibility With Style series,  has panache and personality, both key elements in being accepted into the world of women.

Julie Shaw - Face 43% masculine look

These are the 5 Facial Features that Can Make You Look Masculine: nose, eyebrows, browbone, lips, chin,and the adams apple. I remember asking my makeup artist the first time I had a makeover what she was doing to feminize my face and the first item was eyebrows. Women’s eyebrows are higher than mens. The  link above will give you some hints on the differences and most can be achieved through judicious makeup application to lift the brows, give fullness to the cheeks, highlighting to minimize a strong brow bone, contouring to minimize a large nose, and redrawing the lips to minimize the distance between your nose and your upper lip.

No secrets here but the how tos are important and you will find some interesting observations in this article from Quora titled “Is it possible for a guy to crossdress when he doesn’t look feminine?

Then I ran across this observation from a trans woman working in retail, “I frequently encounter a transitioning MTF at my retail store (she told me she is transitioning) and she looks like she must be a late transitioner-nothing feminine about her. She and other late transitioners make me wonder about the whole sexual side of transitioning. Many of these do not look feminine or beautiful and they certainly don’t dress sexily, even for older women-at best they fit the plain looking woman”.

The thought that crosses my mind is why?. Is it a matter of not having sufficient skills or knowledge to dress attractively (notice I didn’t say sexily) or apply makeup well or is there a lack of desire or interest? I don’t know but find it strange.

And your hair (or wig) is critical to soften the features of a masculine face. Julie has done an admirable job with her shoulder length wig that is layered with light waves and bangs. There a lot to consider when buying a wig that will actually feminize your face and we have covered all the essentials that you need to know in our Wig Nook on Sister House.

In my own case, I find the wig sets the tone of my several looks and while I favor a gray (silvery moon) wig (I am in my 70s), my friends like my blondish look. I have terribly hooded eyes which I downplay with makeup while emphasizing my lips and my smile. I have a feminine chin and my adams apple is not prominent. Apparently (and surprisedly) I rated high on the feminine scale which was confirmed by my local lady friends.

Tasi masculine vs feminine look Tasi masculine vs feminine look Tasi M or F

Now least you think that I am not very masculine when not dressed, the Pictriev scale says otherwise

Gene Masculine or feminine


There are always surprises though as when I had one of my blond wigs restyled and when I asked for opinions, well, Maggie Thatcher and I are apparent look-alikes.

Tasi and Margaret

If you are not happy with your own feminine presentation. then you may want to visit Feminine Presentation – The Art Of Being A Lady on Sister House,  HOWEVER  if you don’t pass, you are NOT any less of a woman and frankly most of us don’t.  This message from Anita Green says it all. Don’t let the emphasis on passing within the trans community cause you distress.





[…] 11-25    Being a masculine looking woman is a challenge for a crossdresser. We tackle what you need to know about improving your femininity through makeup and clothes on Tasi’s Blog, Passing and the Masculine Woman […]

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