Cross-dressing in James Joyce’s Ulysses

All is changed by woman’s will… with this ring I thee own.

Leopold Bloom, drunk in the brothel at midnight, is effortlessly dominated by Bella Cohen. The massive whoremistress is dressed in a three quarter ivory gown, and cools herself with a black horn fan.

-Married, I see. And the Missus is master. Petticoat government.

He confesses it is so.

-You are mine. It is fate.

He begs her to dominate him. She lets him retie the knot in her boot. She places her heel on his neck, and grinds it in.

-Bow, bondslave, before the throne of your despot’s glorious heels.

Having dominated, Bella is coaxing: “Come, ducky dear, darling, there’s a good girly now. Oh, ever so gently, pet, get ready, I want to administer correction.”

“No more blow hot and cold. What you longed for has come to pass. You will shed your male garments, you understand? and don the shot silk luxuriously rustling over head and shoulders and quickly too.”

“You will be laced with cruel force into vicelike corsets of soft dove coutille, with whalebone busk, to the diamond-trimmeď pelvis, restrained in nettight frocks, pretty two ounce petticoats and fringes stamped, of course, with my hoseflag, wigged, perfumesprayed, with smoothshaven armpits. The frilly flimsiness of lace round your bare knees… ”

He confesses again. “I tried her things on only once, to save the laundry bill… ”

“It was Gerald who converted me to be a true corsetlover when I was female impersonator in the high school play.”

She will make him work as housemaid, emptying the chamber pots. She auctions him off to the Cailiph Haroun Al Raschid. “The scanty, daringly short skirt, riding up at the knee to show a peep of white pantalette, is a potent weaponand transparent stockings, emerald gartered, with the long straight seam trailing up beyond the knee, appeal to men about town.”

Bloom, broken, closely veiled for the sacrifice, sobs, his face to the earth.

Sculpture Victorious

How wonderful to see a sculpture which so beautifully expresses my sexuality! It is at Tate Britain, their exhibition Sculpture Victorious whose last day is tomorrow (Monday). Here it is:

Hylas surprised by the Naiades 4

The description on the wall calls Hylas Hercules’ “beautiful boy companion”. Ha. He gazes into the eyes of his abductress in surrender, symbolised by his water-jug, lip downwards. I love her determined look. The other, abandoned, smells his hair. I note the position of their hands, restraining his arms, waist, neck and shoulder. I know his leaning slightly back like that is a wonderfully vulnerable position. I moved on to the rest of the exhibition, but went back to examine it: the depth of pressure of their hands, pressing into his arm or side, the curl of her hair flowing down her back, their postures; and drinking in that gaze. The commentary, “the obsession of grown women for a boy”, misses the point. I think of Simon’s meeting with Axel: I identify with the boy, and it is a gorgeous feeling. I have now (6 Sept) taken more photographs of the sculpture.

Hylas surprised by the Naiades 6

The exhibition starts with two busts of the Queen, young and pretty then venerable, and an explanation of how busts could be reproduced in miniature with a machine. Softer materials were better for this: at one time between 3,500 and 6000 elephants were slaughtered annually for the British ivory market. We move into a room of church sculpture, and my disgust increases. A model for the restoration of the tomb of Philippa of Hainault has huge kings and waist-height angels. Of course, there were no portraits of Baron Saher de Quency, part of the Magna Carta putsch seeking power for themselves, so the face and figure are from imagination. The commentary notes the complex detail of his chain mail, but I see his noble manly yet modest face in his helmet, eyes downcast: he’s an ideal Victorian!

In anger and disgust I turn to the Eglinton Trophy. The Queen of Beauty, Lady Seymour, giving out the victor’s crown, is an exact precursor of a Disney princess. Nearby is a heavy silver top to a bishop’s crook, the very contradiction of Christ. What a wonderful start to the exhibition, showing the Victorian Values I so despise, showing how alien they were!

The next room has the Naiades, and the Paul Comolera peacock. I can’t imagine it being made now, but I find it completely beautiful, its jutting chest, its strong talons, its Colours! It is taller than I. On to the Greek Slave, her wrist restraints so delicate and tasteful, contrasting with the chains. She inspired music, poetry and obsession. Then there is the Abolitionist John Bell’s The American Slave, a contrast to it.

Finally, William Reynolds Stephens, a Royal Game. I love her erect carriage, and her legs, and note the complexity of detail on her dress, and her jewelled necklace. There is also a Burne-Jones, with the man silver and the creatures gilt. The picture here does not do it justice: he shines.

Friday was a day of magic, liberation, new understanding, amazement and delight. More on this tomorrow.

Fetishes

Wxhluyp commented on my Autogynephilia page to say there is no such thing as autogynephilia. AGP is the theory that gynephile transwomen are aroused by the suggestion that we are female, and that creates dysphoria. I disagree, but Wyxlhup disagrees for a different reason. S/he says that the fantasy is not of becoming women, but of being emasculated. Being “feminized” is only the symbol of being emasculated.

Well. Whuxlyp has a wonderful-sounding phrase, “masochistic emasculation fetish”, but a quick Google shows that only Wuxlyph uses it.

Were it believed that this was a cause of transition, Trans-exclusionary feminists could argue that we should certainly not be admitted to women’s spaces, as we did not even really want to be women; and trans women, who judge ourselves harshly before transitioning, might worry that there was a possibility that this was their condition, and they should therefore resist transitioning.

Fortunately there is no research to back Wux- wxyu- wotsisname’s conjecture. All there is, is one person on a number of forums banging on about how any sort of pre-existing femininity or transgender psychology is etiologically adjunct to whatever he calls his fetish; and being told to shut up, and go away. No, that is not the primary fantasy of those of us who transition.

I am, actually, hard-wired to find ways in which I am bad. A friend said how talented I was, and I heard a judgment that I was not using my gifts well- then realised how silly that is. I am where I am.

Disclosure. I went to Wxhluyp’s site, and found an erotic picture by Prissy. I made a page, Prissie’s Sissies, (now deleted) not accessible from my home page but accessible from here, and from Tucking and Autogynephilia. I only included one involving penetration, but most had the cartoonist’s trademark erection inside panties.

I have never been tempted to “little girl” costumes like the ones in Prissy’s cartoons, but I was aroused, and that is the main motivation for collecting the pictures (through a Google image search). While searching, I found a picture of a transvestite I used to know, who is the only person who has admitted to me doing such role-play. Grayson Perry, who sometimes appears in “little-girl” dresses like no little girl ever wore is reducing shame- because of course I am tempted to the old line I may be a pervert but at least I am not as bad as him, which divides people and empowers kyriarchy.

I find the dominant women in the pictures arousing. There.  I have submissive fantasies– though as a psychiatrist told me, in fantasy I am in complete control, manipulating the dominant as well as the submissive with whom I identify. Pictures are safe, too. I tend to feel that there are no rigid boundaries between Prissy’s fantasies and mine, but they shade into each other.

I am posting here because I am ashamed of it, and I am working my shame out. But- this is now one of my most popular posts, getting views most days since it was published. Tell me: what did you want from this post? Has it given you what you want? Please leave a comment. What do you think of the women with strap-ons pictures in the comments?

Strap-on Femdom pictures

There are femdom pictures in the comments, which I hope please you.

The Stranger

File:Seattle Pride.jpgKelley gave me a gift of a three month old free newspaper. “I think you’ll like this, there is some pretty radical stuff on gender identity in it,” he said. Oh God, not more “My transition struggle” articles. Nothing I don’t know, haven’t seen before so many times. Gosh. Thanks. It is from Seattle, that not-quite Canadian city in the rain where the ripoff of Forbrydelsen was set.

I have not seen anything in Britain like the Stranger. We have magazines with articles as serious, but not a free paper. The trans stuff is nothing I have not read before: the heartwarming story of a couple who fell in love, got married, and when the husband transitioned to female it brought them closer together, and the story of a couple, one M-F TS, whose partner transitioned F-M while they were together.

This is the Marriage Issue. There are articles on legal marriages: one is an interracial marriage- unremarkable except that it was illegal until 1967 in eighteen US states. Here, my friend whose wife was black notices the racism, but has rarely had serious problems with it. This shows that we reinvent marriage, often. One woman held one of many, many kinds of party which I don’t go to- in this case, a sex party- and a married woman did various things then told her husband all about it on the phone. For some people, marriage makes perfect sense. A gay man writes of a married couple who both came on to him: he thinks the husband was gay and had married as a cure. He was disgusted, but as a writer stayed around to see how sad it would get.

When his father told an eight year old that he wanted to arrange his marriage with a baby, the son thought of dropping the baby he was cradling, to end it. When, later, he came out as gay, his father threatened to kill him. He says the most traditional marriages are arranged marriages- common in white society in the 19th century- and that is not what “traditional marriage” defenders are defending.

File:Lesbian married couple.jpgThere is a marriage which has got better, with less conflict and greater happiness, since on the husband’s suggestion the wife has dominated him. It works for them, and it is simply between them- why should others regulate their relationship? Outside the bedroom it comes across as the husband seeming “gentlemanly and attentive”. Another marriage is sexless, effectively, the couple are house-sharers.

Mitt Romney’s great grandfather had four wives, and he joked once that “marriage should be between a man and a woman and a woman and a woman”. Good to see a man sticking with the faith of his ancestors. And finally there is a traditional religious marriage: a couple married by their church, with four sons and a suburban lifestyle, who happen to be gay.

Through this publication I have learned the term “zoobiquity”, bringing together doctors and vets to treat diseases shared by different species. There is a review of the top ten: I have never understood the musical snobberies of cool people around pop music- I like Classical music, and all not-classical music is either fun or not-fun- and the reviewer hates Carly Rae Jepsen. I heard “Call me maybe” with my friend’s thirteen year-old granddaughter in March, and I liked her playing on the leading note creating anticipation. Not just C would be smiling to herself and thinking, “Call me, maybe”.