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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Binding questions

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Author Topic: Binding questions
EasyAPlus
Neophyte
Member # 104702

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I just have a few questions about binding, not how to bind, but how common is it. I have two friends, both female, and I don't believe they've ever had any gender identity issues. A few days ago I was having a conversation with them and they brought up binding. One of them, Sarah, is a lesbian and the other, Jane, is pan-sexual. Sarah had said that she binds her chest everyday, which I had figured just due to the shape of her chest in the clothing she wears. Sarah also tends to be on the more "masculine" side of things as she has a short haircut and wears clothing that is stereo typically for males. Jane, on the other hand, doesn't wear lacy dresses or anything, but she doesn't seems to have a problem wearing clothing that sometimes shows off her chest and I was actually pretty surprised when she said that she sometimes binds. So, in my whole long-winded story I pretty much have just a few questions: How common is binding? Do people do it for comfort? To deflect unwanted sexual attention? What are the reasons some people bind *other than* to present themselves as the opposite gender?


I wasn't too sure where to post this, but hopefully it's in the correct forum. Also, no those aren't their real names, I just wanted to refer to them as something other than "the lesbian" and "the pan-sexual"

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'm not sure we have the kind of broad data or study on binding you're asking for to share. I just don't know of anyone who has studied and published that kind of data.

However, I certainly think just leaving this open, and asking people who bind themselves, or have, or who know others who do and why, might be a good way to hear some of those answers directly.

I've bound for various reasons sometimes in my own life, so if you want to do this this first-person way, I'd certainly be okay with getting that ball rolling.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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EasyAPlus
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Thanks! I really just want to hear what people have to say on the topic [Smile]
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Heather
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No trouble, happy to start this.

So, I've bound on and off over the years (decades, actually: think the first time I did was in high school) for a bunch of different reasons:

• I used to sing and train in opera, and the vocal range I had meant a lot of the parts for me were boy-parts, so I bound for those.

• I used to box/kickbox and teach boxing, so I've bound for that sport. I still do often do the double-sports-bra thing with a lot of different sports or kinds of exercise, both for comfort and just so I can do better with those sports.

• I have a body type that tends to get very frequently filed as being very femme or feminine -- a bubble butt, large breasts, wide hips, a small waist, etc. -- but that often doesn't match the way I feel about my gender or how I like to have my gender ID perceived (I tend to fall more towards/feel more at home in a soft butch or agender place), so I've bound for that reason, especially with certain kinds of clothing that can look more femme. And sometimes I do that even when there's no one else around and I just feel like binding makes me feel more at home with my own gender on a given day.

• I've bound to better fit into certain kinds of clothing that don't fit right or look right, to me, when I'm not binding.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Molias
Scarleteen Volunteer
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I have some experience with this too, if you want another view on it.

When I had breasts I would bind them sometimes, although I found the amount of binding I needed to achieve a pretty flat chest to be much too uncomfortable for daily wear, sadly.

At various times I bound my chest to feel better wearing men's clothing that wasn't designed with breasts in mind, to perform at a drag king show, to indicate that my chest was an area I didn't want a sexual partner to interact with, and to remove my breasts as a gendered cue for others to pick up on.
My binding motivations were pretty inextricable from my gender identity, but that's definitely not a universal experience.

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Cricket
Activist
Member # 96015

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I bind occasionally for gender identity reasons, but I've known folks who bind for aesthetics (looking better in clothes from the men's department, etc.) in order to do theatre work or cosplay as flat-chested characters from shows and books they like, and also several women who dance lead in my college's ballroom dance troupe and bind because they say it makes the dance positions easier. In short, though binding for me is gender identity motivated, I know folks who identify solidly as women who have probably bound more than I have for their own personal reasons. It really varies for each person.

Also, if you'd like to read a pretty interesting piece of fashion history that showcases some of the variety of gender expression, here's an article about butch folks in the 1950s that talks about binding a bit: http://www.autostraddle.com/thank-the-50s-for-your-underpinnings-and-other-fashion-freedomshas-160277/

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