An avid BWQ reader herself, A. Rose Bi proudly identifies as a bisexual woman. She currently lives in New England with her cat who loves to sleep on her lap while she spends most of her time watching TV and playing videogames. In addition to being an out bi woman, A. has a degree in Cognitive Science, has completed trainings for LGBTQ+ and sexual assault survivor advocacy, and has experience answering calls for an anonymous LGBTQ+ help line. She is passionate about feminism, the bi+ community, LGBTQ+ and female representation in the media, and helping others.
A. Rose Bi’s column relies on questions from readers like you! You can send any questions you may have or suspect other readers may have to the author directly at email@example.com or by posting on the Bi Women Quarterly’s facebook group. All questions are anonymous, nothing is off-limits, and anything related to upcoming issue topics is extra-encouraged!
Dear A. Rose Bi,
I have a weird condition called pectus excavatum where my rib cage indents inward on the right side. I’ve noticed I’m much less worried about it around people who identify as male, but I’m much more self-conscious around people who identify as female because I compare myself to them and find them to be so much more attractive. This has reached the point where my fears have gotten in the way of my relationships. What advice do you have for overcoming the fear that people of the same gender presentation are comparing themselves to you?
Same Gender Self-Conscious
Dear Same Gender Self-Conscious,
While I don’t know much about your specific condition – only what a quick internet search taught me – I have a feeling a lot of people will relate to the issue of being more or less self-conscious with partners of the same or different gender presentation as themselves. As women, we often talk about body expectations we feel from men (read: the patriarchy), but I think as a queer community, I’ve rarely heard discussions about body dysmorphia around same-gender partners. And I love your question because I think we need to address it more.
First of all, as is true for nearly all things we’re self-conscious about, I would bet that you notice your condition far, far more than anyone else does. I would also bet that any partner you have who’s worth your time cares much more about being able to spend time with you than judging your physical appearance, regardless of gender. And if someone ever makes you feel otherwise, kick ‘em to the curb!
But, I know that’s all easier said than done – getting over insecurities, even if you logically know other people aren’t judging you for it, is still extremely hard. Plus, when you’re partnered with someone who presents more similarly to you, it’s so easy to compare apples to apples (which is, I promise, not a boob joke).
Hopefully some of this is helpful, but overall my advice is that in the same way you’re self-conscious about one thing, the person you’re partnered with is likely self-conscious about something about their own body, and while you’re busy worrying if they’re noticing your “flaw,” they’re too busy worrying if you notice theirs to notice yours. And probably, vice versa. At the end of the day, honest conversations with a partner you trust can often help quell some of these fears and concerns, plus can often build more trust and a stronger bond in your relationship.
My parting thoughts to you are: You are gorgeous. You deserve love. And anyone who disagrees doesn’t deserve to take up space in your life or mind.
Lots of love,
A. Rose Bi