Why I Stopped Posting Pictures of my Top Surgery Results
On December 14th 2015, after many years of waiting, I had top surgery. Like many people in the years leading up to my surgery I scoured the internet for photos for people who had had surgery with my surgeon. Being in Canada and mostly only operating in one province I wasn’t surprised to not find a whole lot.
I also looked for results from other people of colour, other South Asian people, and people with body types similar to mine. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much. I found that the spaces dedicated to surgery results weremainly dominated by white, slim, and muscular folks.
I was frustrated because I knew that that my results would look drastically different than theirs. Despite my best efforts I found myself feeling frustrated with other POC. I knew that slim, muscular white people would be celebrated and get more traction than POC but there was so little out there. I didn’t need the posts or Youtube videos to be popular I just needed them to exist. I thought I understood why those results weren’t as out there, and partially I did, but now I really get it.
When I first saw my post-op chest eight days after surgery I was elated. My partner took a couple pictures of that moment and I happily posted them on the internet (even if I felt a little self-conscious). In the days and weeks following my reveal I kept posting updated pictures though I was more and more hesitant to do so each time. Every time I did I got negative feedback about my results, weight,and body shape; reblogs, messages from anonymous people on Tumblr, and comments on Facebook posts (almost exclusively from other trans folks) left me feeling shitty about my body and results.
Before those comments I felt good about my results and while I had issues with my hips and stomach and lack of muscles I was working to feel better about myself and my body. So I stopped posting about my results. When one type of body is the only type celebrated in a community anyone who looks different is going to feel excluded and self-conscious - when they are then met with negative comments it’s no wonder they stop posting. It’s not a coincidence that it is hard to find top surgery results from non-thin, muscular, white people.
Does posting these pictures mean that I am over my body image problems: hell no. In fact, I have been feeling pretty self-conscious for the last little while (thanks grad school for meaning I’m too busy and poor to work out or always eat right) but I want to share my results. While I know that I’m not plus sized and don’t really consider myself fat (and benefit in society because of that) I’m also don’t super thin or cut. I want other people who look like me to know that there are other people like them in this community. I want to fight the dominance of white people in these spaces by being present.
I know that I’m opening myself up to those comments again but I hope that people reading this will realize this it is not okay to make negative comments about others people bodies - even when those people aren’t super thin, muscular and white.