This is a guest post and is not Heath Atom Russell's story, nor Heath's personal opinions:
I come from a background of sexual abuse and objectification. My father made it well known that he prefers his women "stacked". I ignored his comments about other women, and about my older, adopted sister being flatter than a wall, but eventually puberty and mother nature caught up with me. Both my mother and grandmother were DD+ and by middle school I was there as well, I wore baggy shirts and refused to wear a bra despite my mother's efforts.
Unfortunately this only attracted my father's attentions more. The abuse got worse, so I did everything I could to make myself unattractive to my father. He didn't like blondes, so I sun bleached my hair, he didn't like women with short hair, so I cut mine off, didn't like tan women, so I stayed out all summer and tanned. It was a constant back and forth of me trying to become unappealing to avoid sexual abuse.
Eventually this battle lead to me getting an eating disorder, binge eating made me feel happy temporally as I became fat, the only thing that seemed to keep my father off of me. His disgust at obesity in women, despite his own weight problems, was the only thing that kept his pedophilic tendencies at bay. This was the beginning of my own weight struggle. I yo-yo'ed my size from a 10 to a 24. I would balloon, then the abuse would stop, and I would feel safe, then I would drop down, get touched and go back up. Eventually my weight became my safety net away from harm, and I stopped dropping down and I plateaued the summer before my senior year of high school.
I won't forget the day my self-harm began, I was in a tank top and leaned down to pick up an ice-chest and my father stared down my shirt. I immediately set it down and went back inside to talk to my mother. She had know for years about my abuse, but her reaction is a long story for a different day, she told me that I should just take the compliment.
That night isolated and locked in my room, filled with fear I took my abuse out on myself. It wasn't "me" that was to blame for my abuse but my body, specifically my breasts. I ended up taking scissors and cutting off a 1 inch circle on my breast. I didn't have a desire to take them off, but I wanted them disfigured in hopes that I would be spared from my father's gaze. To be spared from all mens gazes, because despite my age and size, I was still, and still do get harassed by men because of my breasts.
The first wound lead to a second and a third and then on the other breast. I picked and peeled and prevented my wounds from healing. I hid my bloody bras from my mother until one day while visiting my dying grandmother she noticed blood soaking my shirt from one of the wounds and took my to the bathroom to see what was going on.
I told her it was a pimple and that the others were scratches. She had me immediately looked at by a doctor, who checked me into the hospital because angry red lines on my breasts indicated that I had blood poisoning as well as a flesh eating virus making things worse. I ended up missing more days of school that year from that than the death of my grandmother.
After many months of bandaging and wound care the holes closed, leaving me scarred. My father could no longer look at me. So in my mind I had succeeded, I later found out it was less to do with my injuries, and more that he was preying on my younger sister.
The only good that came from it was that she finally had the courage to do what me and my older sister hadn't, and reported him. the result of that was that did not register as an offender, but is still on probation.
During my self injury and abuse, I never once thought that I must be a boy because of how disassociated I felt from my breasts. Truthfully I only knew that MTF's existed and was only exposed through Doctor Phil and the like. If I had known about FTM's, I would have bought the trans narrative. To this day, I have very little feeling in my breasts and have trouble identifying that they belong to me. If I had known that I could change my fate and identify my way out of the whole situation I would have jumped at that chance, I would have bought the trans narrative hook, line and sinker.
I have sat and heard several girls in a space agreeing that they would rather have cancer and get their breasts removed because of how uncomfortable they felt with them and the attention they received; None of them were even comfortable enough to say they prefered female pronouns, and all of them were queer, because "being a lesbian is exclusive". This is a too common narrative: young women willing self-harm in order to accommodate themselves into a world that objectifies them.
This is completely understandable when you look at how young women are portrayed in western media. All you need to do is change this, and do that and buy this item and you can maybe live up the the expectations that as a women you are told you need to achieve. People have lashed out at Nymeses for speaking, and for trying to save girls from transition. But when I look at my own background I see stories similar to my own in trans message boards, I hear it in groups like the one I described.
With everything that is forced upon young women how can we expect them to be comfortable in their own skins?