Makeup is not a mask that covers up your beauty; it’s a weapon that helps you express who you are from the inside.
~ Michelle Phan
I told a crossdressing friend that I was speaking to somebody in Sweden about men who dressed as women using latex or rubber masks.
The response was, “Bizarre.”
To which I responded with, “You mean, bizarre… Like crossdressing?”
I found the comment ironic and funny, especially when cross-dressers themselves are still considered bizarre and fetish-y. To have a narrow view of what is considered normal – especially in a community where most of us already live as fringe players – is unfortunate.
There are several sub-genres of moderately common subtypes of maskers. There are the Kigurumi who have their own community, wearing the Japanese style big head anime masks. Also, there are the enclosure fetishists, who generally like rubber catsuits and masks for restrictive play. Additionally, there are dolls who just want to look cute. Heck, we could even include furries, doms and subs, and cosplayers into the mix—some of them wear masks of some type, too.
Why would a crossdresser want to wear a mask? That seems like a strange thing for a crossdresser to want to do, right? Well, there are a couple reasons I can think of. I have known crossdressers who use masks to keep from being recognized in their photos on their social media channels. This same dresser may also use that same mask in public events for the same reasons. Another reason to mask could be because the man does not want to sacrifice his facial hair for his feminine presentation. Lastly, I have met CDs who are lacking in confidence in their feminine appearance and makeup abilities, therefore turning to pre-fabricated female masks that already have perfect makeup baked onto the surface. So, let’s not forget that crossdressers may not feel confident enough in makeup for a public appearance, may want to keep their facial hair for themselves or their loved ones, or may be concerned that they will be recognized in their local community.
And, of course, there is a second ironic to be recognized. When I transform from my male self into Savannah, I am also wearing a mask that hides my “true” identity. The makeup, the wig, the padding, and all of the other things that help to re-create my feminine persona are masks. Chris Rock once performed a stand-up routine that outlined the following ideals… Women who wear heels aren’t that tall… That weave is not their real hair… That push-up bra isn’t fooling’ anyone…! Crossdressers inherently mask their appearance in order to facilitate their female form. I think we are the last people who should casting stones at others who love to wear disguises!
This article is just a quick note to hopefully open and expand our understanding of one of the many types of people out there in the world. We must understand that we cannot point fingers and judgement toward others that do not share our specific “kink”. To understand what motivates others is the first step to accepting and embracing who they are as people, not as a habit. We don’t have to even enjoy or fully understand what they do in order to love the person. How many football or bowling wives are still out there, abandoned by their husbands in favor of beer, their guy friends, and a large-screen television. They still love their husbands, but leave them to what makes them happy. I don’t think I would enjoy putting on a latex mask (aside from my cosplay domino masks), but I can’t really cast judgment on something that I have never tried myself, can I?
An insightful, inclusive and valuable post. Thankyou. I bought your book this morning on the strength of it and look forward to devouring it. Whether my wife will read it is yet to be seen.
A number of years ago during a personal growth workshop, we made plaster of paris face masks and painted/decorated them. I meditated on the face mask, and thought about having a femme face mask I could wear that was already made up. Pure laziness on my part. The face masks I’ve seen in profile pics on FetLife don’t look real, blank facial expression, no emotional content. That’s okay for some but not this gurl. Make up can be like womans ‘war paint’, I’ve played with make up and while it’s not my forte, it helps me recognize my woman within, when I make the time and effort to doll up, especially when I forget to take off my make up, and wake up to see her in the morning mirror still!
Thank you for your insightful comments on masking. I too wear a very lifelike mask for the reasons you stated (not wanting to shave my beard). Keystone was a refuge for me, as most folks were very accepting and a number of them didn’t even realize I was wearing a mask. One woman asked me how I got my skin to look so smooth!