BIND ME: “I’m feeling ecstatic and scared and mum’s feeling sick” – young women binding.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 03.05.26

So wrote one girl on receiving her free binder from the MORF Binder scheme:

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 09.49.09

MORF is a Manchester organisation, established in 2005 for the purpose of helping trans-identified females to support and meet each other. In 2011 MORF started the MORF Binder Schemewhich aims to provide free binders to all transmen who request them’.  In 2015  their website claimed to have provided ‘over 150 free donated binders’ to applicants.

To receive a binder you simply email MORF and they email you back a catalogue. You choose a binder and if it’s still available they send it to the name and address of your choice, in plain wrapping. You pay only £3 postage.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 21.51.04

Of course, binders- always modeled by disconcertingly young women- are available cheaply now on both Amazon and Ebay, although to order one you need an Amazon or Ebay account and a credit card.  There are all sorts of reasons why a child might find it hard to order a binder this way. The name of the company would come up on your, or the account/card owner’s, statement or invoice for a start and writing on the parcel might even give away what it contains. Also, and more importantly, these ‘binders’ are pretty crap and ineffective. The MORF binders are the real McCoy.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 22.21.08

It struck me as a little unprofessional for an organisation spotlighted by the LGBT foundation to be sending out random free binders to anonymous applicants. What if the recipients were under age? What if they had pre-existing health conditions?

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 22.07.16

 

Would MORF send a binder to, for example, an asthmatic trans-identified 14 year old girl whose parents didn’t want her to wear one for health reasons?

I had to find out, so I created Ryan Fletcher and wrote to MORF. (Spelling and grammatical errors are purposeful.)

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 10.39.23

MORF replied ten days later:

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 21.16.22

So it seems that being a 14 year old asthmatic would be no impediment to getting a binder from MORF. I wondered if perhaps that part of my email had been overlooked, so when I hadn’t heard back from X I wrote again; this time mentioning that I’d been recently hospitalised for some tests:

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 21.18.47

Right away I received this: it seems that MORF had so many inquiries for their catalogue that they couldn’t keep up.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 11.16.28

I heard nothing more for several weeks and wondered if MORF had rejected Ryan as unsuitable, but on 14th May I received this email & the catalogue. The catalogue was 20 pages long (see 3 pages below); accompanied by a form to fill in and post back to MORF, who aim to post out binders within a week.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 21.22.19

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 00.28.37

The May 2017 catalogue was 20 pages long. Here are the first 3 pages.

In the end, I didn’t follow through with ordering a binder from MORF.  I knew I would be writing this article eventually and I didn’t want to use my own address for obvious reasons, or put anyone else at risk by giving theirs.  (Thanks to the people who offered, though!)  I felt my point had been made.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 00.00.16

So what’s the problem with breast binding?  When mainstream magazines like Cosmopolitan run articles on ‘how to do it’ and many UK schools have official policies in place to help girls in their endeavours, you could be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. St Ethelbert’s School in Bolton shares a policy which suggests to teachers that if girls who wear binders appear faint ‘short breaks could be offered discretely’. What next? Official  bathroom breaks for bulimics and cutters?  Bowls to vomit in and fresh blades at the side of the gymnasium?  What’s the big deal? After all, it’s all fine if it’s done properly, right? Schools in Manchester, Brighton & Cornwall all seem to be backing it.

Brighton & Hove ‘Transgender Toolkit’

St Ethelbert’s ‘Safeguarding in Education’ policy.

Cornwall schools Transgender Guidance

Well, this for a start.

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 02.36.09

In a recent survey involving 1,800 women who bound their chests, 97% of respondents reported at least one negative outcome from binding.

The Top 4 symptoms reported were

back pain
overheating
chest pain
shortness of breath

Some of the other symptoms reported included: posture problems, itching, shoulder pains, rib fractures, spine problems, shoulder joint popping, numbness, headaches, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, heartburn, abdominal pain, muscle wasting, digestive issues, breast changes and tenderness, scarring, swelling, acne, coughs &  respiratory infections.

Harmless? It seems not. But the most surprising conclusion of the above mentioned survey was this:

“Commercial binders were the binding method most consistently associated with negative health outcomes”

So. Tell me again about that ‘safe’ binding?

 

binding

This photo is of an adult woman who has terrible physical deformities from binding.  When I posted it on Twitter earlier this year several people responded by saying the damage had only happened because she hadn’t done it ‘properly’.  That word again. How can you bind ‘properly’? General consensus seems to be ‘don’t use cling film, duct tape or ace bandages. If you use a proper binder, you’ll be ok.’ The survey suggests otherwise.

But what do I know?  I don’t know how it feels. I’ve never felt the need to bind, and I have never bound my rather substantial bosom in anything more restraining than a ‘firm support’ Marks & Spencer’s sports bra adorned with tiny and wholly unnecessary white flowers. (Not my first choice. It was the only one that fitted.)

I wished there was a way to hear what young women and girls who bound their breasts really felt about the discomfort involved. If only there was some way of tapping in to their true feelings, not the usual social media bravado and swagger of the teen & early-20s transmen… and then I thought of ‘Whisper’.

 

“A secret is not something unrevealed, but something told privately, in a whisper.”               Marcel Pagnol

‘Whisper’ is a completely anonymous social networking app, started up in 2012. Users post ‘confessions’ by writing text on a picture chosen from Whisper’s gallery of pictures, and share them with other users. Whisper is valued at $200,000,000 and has more than 30 million monthly active users, with the average user opening the app 20 times a day.  Although users are supposed to be 17 or over, there is no checking process. 90% of users are under 24, it is estimated that 4% are under 18. Founder Michael Hayward had this to say about Whisper’s success:

“You are who you are when no-one else is looking. Anonymity is a really powerful tool.”

Webwise describes Whisper as:

‘a great space where young teens can release their built up emotions’.

and ‘Fortune’ magazine had this to say:

“Whisper became a viral hit in 2013… Young people who felt intense pressure to project a perfect appearance on social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram appreciated that Whisper let them express their true feelings anonymously.”

                                                                                                     Fortune Magazine

 

So what do young women have to say about binding when they have guaranteed anonymity?  I spent an evening scrolling through ‘Whisper” and capturing what these young women had to say. Here are 72 ‘confessions’ about the pain of binding. This rest of this article is about giving those anonymous voices a platform.

binder12

binder1

binder10

binder2

binder9

binder3

binder4

binder8

binder5

binder7

binder 8

binding13

 

YouTube is chock-a-block with videos on how to bind ‘safely’; how to make a ‘DIY’ binder…  and nestling among them is this.  I’ll give the last word to this brave young woman who has dared speak out on YouTube about her relationship with binding. I hope more young women see this: I hope more young women hear her voice: I hope more young women find the strength & courage to destroy their binders.

“I talk about my relationship with breast binding in this video, exploring what drove me to conceal my breasts for years as a form of self-harming coping behavior. At the end I make a commitment to ending my own binding through destroying my breast binder.”

                                                                                                                         Kat KatKat

.

POST SCRIPT 8/11/17

Writing this article was quite emotionally draining, and I forgot to add one last very important thing- this message from MORF, to all those teenage girls out there whose parents want to protect them against the damage binders can cause.

Your parents hate you.

morfbinder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

About Lily Maynard

Shamelessly gender critical. There's no such thing as a pink brain, a lesbian with a penis or a gender fairy. Transitioning kids is child abuse.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to BIND ME: “I’m feeling ecstatic and scared and mum’s feeling sick” – young women binding.

  1. Thanks Lily. Thank you for exposing breast binding for what it is…another form of teen girl self-harm. It is also a required garment to belong to the trans social class. How can you be trans if you’re not binding?

    Like

  2. Artie Choke says:

    The first time I heard of binders, I thought they were some new type of bra, and that it might be a good idea to try it, since I had often had problems finding good bras in the past. It sends shivers down my spine when I realize what it actually is and does to the body. Thanks for posting this, I hope many people see it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. S says:

    Thank you for another great article and for your work in general.

    The transcult is way out of control but everyone is afraid to speak up and speak in hushed tones. You get these young ‘Third Wave’ ‘queer’ girls (most who never seem to have anything other than a boyfriend) scared to ask why there’s some hulking man in lipstick who looks like he’s on a stag do in their Roller Derby team. If they speak up they will be destroyed as a bigot and lose all their ‘queer’ friends.

    Gay men that know full well that most ‘trans women’ are little more than cross dressers that get hard dressing up as some caricature of a woman – some are straight (the ones who harass lesbians), while some enjoy being ‘taken’ by another man as part of a submissive fetish and even those that seek drugs and surgery to feel even more womanly are really no different to extreme body-madders that make themselves look like cats. Literal women? No way! But can gay men speak up in the dissent-free world of LGBT? No. In fact, gay drag queens are under attack for ‘parodying’ trans people. It’s crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. AngryAndSelfIdentifyingAsTERF says:

    Wow. I’ve been reading my way through a number of your posts having found your site (I’ve been awakened to the dark forces of trans-activism by a friend who is campaigning against the changes in the GRA regarding self-identification) and this is the first thing I’ve read that really took my breath away. As I’ve been thinking about it, it seems that what is happening, much as it sounds like you experienced with your daughter, is that the “normal” confusion of adolescence, as we quite literally change from a child into a young adult, is being by taken away from our youth by the certainties that are promised by those who have bought into transtopia. I remember my own experience of adolescence well – watching your body change is strange, the urge to be seen for who you are is strong. I would say for myself it took until my 30s to really feel comfortable in my own skin and I think one of the reasons I feel compelled to educate myself on this issue is because I feel there is a part of me who might well have got caught up in this cult myself had my adolescence happened now and not 30 years ago. The idea that girls are being encouraged to bind their chests makes me weep, literally. How do our youth not see this mutilating practice for what it is? I was quite happily just living my life a year ago but now I am really fucking angry about all of it. All of it.

    Like

  5. SwearyGodmother says:

    What an excellent article. Thank you.

    The video was particularly illuminating for me as an anorexia sufferer. Kat spoke about her body in almost exactly the same way I did/do when I am in the depths of anorexia. The fixation, the hatred, the need to remove the offending parts. My treatment was to get my mind to accept my body as it should be, not to change my body to fit what lies my mind told me. I cannot fathom why the treatment for gender dysphoria is so different from other dysphorias.

    Early puberty is common in young women who suffer body dysmorphia and eating disorders. I wonder what it’s prevelence is in these young “transboys”.

    Like

    • N says:

      No, this is not an informative article she is constantly referring to these boys as girls. If they feel they are boys in their heart they are.

      Like

      • Lily Maynard says:

        Being a girl or a boy is not a vague elusive ethereal feeling, it is a biological reality.

        Like

      • Midlifecrisis says:

        Biology at a chromosomal level determines whether you are of the male or female sex for the overwhelming majority. Yes there are some for whom epigenetic factors have lead to bodies which are atypical in terms of the expression of their sexual organs and some having three chromosomes. At present, however there is completely no scientific basis for saying that there is such a thing as a male mind in a female body or vice versa. In particular, for post pubescent girls experiencing gender dysphoria, who have been happy identifying as girls pre puberty, this is an obvious nonsense.
        This is not to minimise the anguish and confusion caused by gender dysphoria. It seems to me that much research is needed. This is made more difficult when academics that hold views that differ from the trans narrative are hounded out of post. If we have a genuine concern for helping young boys and girls in this situation then we need to depoliticise the issue. It is precisely trans activists demanding recognition as members of the opposite sex in every respect that appear to have created this myth of the gendered mind to serve their aspirations.
        I don’t hate trans people. Society needs to move a long was to accept everyone for who they are and in particular to treat women as full equals (I say this as a feminist man). From my pov, Trans women and men, however are just that, and until there is some good scientific evidence to the contrary my view will remain so. We respect and tolerate many different groups in society without changing laws or norms to avoid challenging their delusions (don’t get me started on religion).
        For me, promoting binding is encouraging vulnerable young people to self harm. They may be self harming already, due to dysphoria, but replacing one form of self harm with another seems to be overlooking the root causes. Professionals should be supporting these boys and girls with coping strategies, rather than unqualified activists promoting self harm. I appreciate it may be done with good intentions, that doesn’t make it right.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s