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Protest and Apps

Maddie continues to make herself at home here (and I love it!).

By Maddie Smith

It is nothing other than an absolute fact that I belong completely in the group called – ‘heterosexual, only want to let my femme side out sometimes, not live permanently as a woman’.

And I’m good with that; it is a perfect fit. But, as I learn and the more I read, those of us into the ‘craft’, as opposed to those who suffer from dysphoria (to whatever degree) need to pass, and therefore concentrate hard on creating the perfect external image of the woman we feel inside.

Let me make clear I am not alienating any other group. I don’t care if your thing is to be a bearded guy wearing a dress and makeup. I will support your right to do so just as strongly as my need to blend and pass.

Being more than 5 decades in before discovering Maddie puts me on the back foot when it comes to experience. And let me tell you, it’s overwhelming. Worse, it borders on depressing! The images of you girls with flawless makeup and incredible dress sense was nearly enough to make me change my hobby …

So. after another one of my long introductions, let me move to the topic today – I recently protested.

Ok, so it is a pretty ineffective protest and up until this point I’m pretty much the only one that knows I’m protesting, so let me tell my story.

But before I do, let me say, this blog is cool. It is populated by wonderful people, led admirably, and looks like my permanent new home. Well until I get banned for saying something I shouldn’t have …

As you all know, there are other places on the web. So, if I said my protest took place on the ‘other site’ you’ll all know where I mean.

A bit over a year ago, a big push began there to stop people posting images that were enhanced in apps. I was far from impressed. Let me explain why.

I have a beard that hadn’t, at the time, been removed for more than 30 years. I also spend too much time behind the desk and you all know what that does. And while getting hair in all the right places was a bonus as a teen, it is just the opposite when I don’t want it visible now. Those of you who have participated in the craft for many years won’t have experienced this, as apps are a relatively recent addition to the world, although Photoshop (which I work with most days) has been an option for a long time.

So, here I am, a recent member of the group, wanting to develop the external look to match the internal feelings. Then I look at images of you lot. It could drive someone to drink. Except there is a way around the initial problem. I simply had to load an appropriate app into my phone, change my gender and then play with possible looks. And it was a godsend! Suddenly I could see what could be done to feminize my look while keeping my features as they actually are.

All of a sudden this was completely possible and maybe even achievable!

Playing with the options started to bring the Maddie look to life. On the other site I made friends with likeminded people. To be honest they come and go over time, mostly go sadly, but hey we all have busy lives. But one didn’t. She became my role model and did me the huge favour of writing out her complete makeup routine. That was a massive time saving. We have even shared other parts of our lives and non-dressed photos, and you all know how huge that is. I will forever be grateful to her for the support I got.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know here; I write off half a day if I want to play with makeup, and that doesn’t include three days of shaving to get the face and other areas ready, and inevitably there are even more hours of taking photos. For that reason, the apps became invaluable to test things and search out looks when I didn’t have that much time. I could try on new purchases, take photos, alter them and see how my features worked with any outfit. Without the apps to let me see that this really was possible, I’d have given up at the start.

When the other site started the push to ban altered photos, I saw red. The reason why should now be clear; everyone needs to find their way and get the confidence to know they can do this. All I saw was members with all the skills from long experience, and in some case no doubt ego, who knew they looked good and didn’t want to know or couldn’t remember how it was for them at the start, imposing their will. Probably they didn’t have the advantage of apps. Maybe they were jealous.

Now let me make clear, not once did I ever post an altered image. I used apps as a tool, but at the same time if I had found something I was proud to share I would have liked to be able to post it. I don’t have any problem with having to leave the watermark, or noting it is altered in the post, but I firmly believe the option should have been retained.

I protested by pulling all my details, apart from name, and no longer contributed. I check in occasionally but really I have found other places that fit better.

I’m sure a number of you won’t agree with me. And that’s fine, I just know that people shouldn’t be frightened away by feelings of inadequacy. That, however, should be tempered by reality. I recently watched Anna Christina’s interview on YouTube. Now I know I will never create even 10% of the incredible image and mannerisms she presents, and I know I will never ever speak, but I also know, after seeing the results in apps originally, in time I should be able to get to the point of travelling out and about with careful planning. And I can live with that.

But whatever you do, don’t forget those just starting their journey. They need and deserve every bit of support and encouragement they can get. And if that means using an app at the start, well, bring it on!

Completely unretouched, cropped only, this photo was after our first makeup lesson. I had hoped to go out for coffee and some shopping but it was a lesson, so the look wasn’t quite what I had hoped. However, it was still good enough for me to be able to sit in the car while my darling made a couple of stops. It was still in public view. Baby steps are good! I’ll get there, just not at the level you girls do. Without an app at the start to see what could be achieved, this day would never have happened.

If only I could show you the before photo! But then I’m sure most of you have the same issues to deal with. One of these three is made with an app, one is my makeup efforts and the third is a joint effort with my makeup artist. Shouldn’t be too hard to work out which is which, but.without the apps to give me the confidence to see the potential, Maddie would never have seen the light of day. I won’t get to the level you girls do but it’s improving!

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6 Responses

  1. Ooooo Maddie, a nice controversial topic for a Friday!!

    When I started this particular phase of my ‘journey’ back in 2019, it was only because of FaceApp that I had the confidence to stick my head above the parapet on Flickr. I still remember the feeling of joy the first time I took a selfie, gender changed it in FaceApp and then marvelled at the results – recognisable enough for me to know it was me but different enough for me not to have any concerns about posting it on a public forum so I did and gathered some rather nice comments in the process. But then I stepped onto the slippery slope – photos I took of myself during dressing sessions never looked good enough so I’d ‘post-process’ them in FaceApp before posting with even more nice comments. I always disclosed the use of the app on any doctored photos I posted.

    But as time went on, some girls would leave a comment along the lines of ‘very nice but the unprocessed original is always better’ and I started feeling a little bit of a fraud; were the compliments for me or for the programmers who wrote the app? The final straw came when I got a comment on one photo along the lines of ‘I’ll never be as pretty as you’. I then stopped posting ‘apped’ photos and uninstalled FaceApp soon afterwards.

    Looking back, I see FaceApp and similar apps as an important part of our evolution – a bit like stabilisers when we’re learning to ride a 2 wheeled bike. But, in the same way that the stabilisers come off when we have the confidence and balance to ride the bike without them, there comes a point when we need to stop doctoring photos and work at improving our look the hard way. Although I have now deleted my Flickr account and am no longer active there, I used to find it particularly frustrating when girls would attempt to pass off obviously doctored photos as the real deal but, equally, in the end it’s their photostream and they can post whatever they want in it. I just can’t help thinking that they had far more to offer the community than a collection of AI enhanced images.

    1. Hi Amanda. Well wait until I start to play devil’s advocate then!
      I guess the thing is we have different needs. For me, looking at an enhanced image I just want to replicate it in real life. And each one is an affirmation that I can do this.
      I don’t post a lot of images, as Maddie I tend to keep them within a narrow group, so things like Flickr won’t ever feature. And the enhanced image with this article is the first I’ve ever allowed to be published.
      I guess we all have different needs. Stabilisers is a perfect analogy!
      The key thing for me was that others shouldn’t be dictating the needs of newbies finding their way and gaining confidence. Of course the other side is those who don’t ever use anything but apps and sell themselves as something that they aren’t. There’s a name for that. Which is not my style, or that of anyone else here. Which, I guess, is why I’ve been happy to spend time writing content for Kandi!

      1. That’s a good point. Being a newbie can be terrifying at the best of times and, without FaceApp, I don’t think I could ever have got to where I am now (in terms of being able to play an active part in the online community). Even though I eventually grew out of it, I will be eternally grateful to what FaceApp gave me – both in helping me see the inner woman and in giving me the confidence to connect with others.

        One thing I forgot to mention in my little rant about experienced girls passing off ‘apped’ photos as the real deal – there is a well known makeover place in London (not BWBG where I went, though) where photos are apparently routinely post-processed by the proprietor. Perhaps I’m in a minority here but, paying several hundred pounds for a session, I’d want the photos to reflect the makeup artist’s skill with the brush, not the mouse!

  2. Maddie,
    I was a member of a forum for many years , it served it’s purpose in giving me the strength and courage to reveal Teresa to the World . Also as a member I met trans friends who invited me to social group meetings , most of this was before the availablity of apps . We may worry about what other people think but within the trans community it shouldn’t be a problem because we are all in the same boat , we should repeatedly tell ourselves it’s not a competition . BUT ! the trans communtiy can be callous and brutal on occassions , over the years I discovered some members are the biggest BS’s out , I have been hurt far more by members of the trans communty than I have being out in the RW . So it comes as no surprise people will jump at the chance of fakery at times and even worse use it to fool others . This is a shame when people like yourselves see it as an opportunity to work out the intricacies of makeup and the style of clothes that might work for you . Perhaps a word of warning is don’t aim for perfection , this was something I had to learn quickly , you can stand out as much by going OTT than not bothering at all . Take a real good look at women around your age in the RW , fitting in with them isn’t so hard , personally that’s what it’s all about for me .
    Looking stunning maybe wonderful but there’s far more to it than that , I had to work on losing the man , women do things differently which at times can be very subtle . On a basic level consider how a guy coughs or sneezes compared to a woman , how carefully a woman will scratch an itch , at the same time try not to ” camp it up !” Most women’s actions are more careful and protective than male ones , she’s more careful of not spoiling her makeup , she’ll take better care of her clothes when wearing them and she’s more aware of needing protection from others .

    1. Sage advice thankyou Teresa.
      Perfection isn’t even on the radar. I’d be happy to be able to go out with the girls in age-appropriate clothing with no one taking a second glance. Being comfortable with that part makes everything else work for me. Once that’s squared away then I can keep working on mannerisms.
      That said, I am a bad combination of perfectionist and selfish when it comes to Maddie, but fortunately with a dash of realist. Plus if I do something I have to do it 150%.
      But I’m not looking for a lot from this. The ability to go out with the girls a few times a year for coffee, shopping, maybe a museum or film, is all I need to satisfy spirit 2. The rest of the time I’m happy testing, learning, taking photos and anticipating while embracing my other spirit!

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