This is Bob. Bob has bitch tits.
November 10, 2003 7:21 PM   Subscribe

Breasts on men — most people's only knowledge of this stems from Fight Club (his name was Robert Paulson), but Gynecomastia is a very real medical condition, often a side effect of Klienfelter Syndrome. This person's experiences with their gender identity (raised primarily as a girl, then switching to being publicly masculine when older) while growing up with Gynecomastia in a small town fascinated me. (First FPP!)
posted by djwudi (23 comments total)

 
There is, of course, the possibility that the experiences mentioned are a load of hooey.

However, the overall idea of the blurred line between masculine and feminine in this situation was what peaked my interest the most, even if the story has been embellished (fabricated?).

Damn, now I'm second-guessing my own post. ;)
posted by djwudi at 7:54 PM on November 10, 2003


That's the freakiest pair of breasts I've ever seen.
posted by Veritron at 7:58 PM on November 10, 2003


Breasts on men — most people's only knowledge of this stems from Fight Club



what, was there a poll by CNN on the subject of college freshman and their knowledge of man-tits? That's a complete load of crap, if you ask me. I would say that.... oh, roughly .0003% of the population received their knowledge of this situation from Fight Club. But hey, I could be wrong.


Besides, everyone knew an overweight boy with big boobs back in junior high, right? Hell, my cousin Jimmy used to charge a dollar to let the sixth graders feel him up.
posted by bradth27 at 8:29 PM on November 10, 2003


Actually, they look pretty normal to me. Although the guy needs a bra with a longer band - he says he's been fitted but in some of the picture you can see his flesh bulging above and below the band, and he complains of permanent grooves - signs it just doesn't fit properly.

This story has the ring of authenticity, but it is hard to believe at times. Unbelievable that he would have been allowed to attend an all-girl's school in a small town of the early eighties, and be welcome at girls' pajama parties. But it was fortunate for him though - his adolescence could have been hell, but it sounded like it was a happy time for him. In the early nineties I attended a high school in a small town, and jeez, even the guys I knew who were gay didn't dare come out and went through hell because everyone knew anyway.

It's a such a sad story. He does seem like such a gentle person, though not overly bright or well-educated, and he has spent his entire life being a fish out of water for something beyond his control. It makes one realize just how rigid gender lines can be, and how punishing society can be to those who cross the lines.
posted by orange swan at 8:33 PM on November 10, 2003


That and Gynecomastia has nothing to do with Bob's bitch tits.

He was a juicer.
posted by angry modem at 8:38 PM on November 10, 2003


Breasts on men — most people's only knowledge of this stems from Fight Club

Uh, there used to be this show called Seinfeld... the "mansiere"... the "bro".... anybody?

Anyway, more great discussion on gender fluidity could be found in this thread, if it didn't generate a CF error. Maaaaaatt!...
posted by soyjoy at 8:41 PM on November 10, 2003


Steriod abuse can cause gynecomastia, though.
posted by pemulis at 8:43 PM on November 10, 2003


Bob cried. Six months ago, his testicles were removed. Then hormone therapy. He developed bitch tits because his testosterone was too high and his body upped the estrogen. That was where my head fit -- into his sweating tits that hang enormous, the way we think of God's as big.
posted by John Shaft at 8:49 PM on November 10, 2003


I am Jack's Tripod bandwidth overload.

And forget Fight Club -- Oswald's man-boobs are where it's at.

And Klinefelter's is one theory underlying the intersexuality rumor surrounding Jamie Lee Curtis (but Snopes and I doubt it, especially after obvious hormone-driven changes).

And hey, don't forget male breast cancer, while we're at it. My 65-year-old father had a suspicious lump examined.
posted by dhartung at 10:24 PM on November 10, 2003


"Hell, my cousin Jimmy used to charge a dollar to let the sixth graders feel him up."

Best dollar you ever spent?
posted by spazzm at 12:50 AM on November 11, 2003


Don't forget this guy, who had them implanted for a year as a bet.
posted by johnny novak at 1:01 AM on November 11, 2003


I'm a Klinefelter's person. I have a small bit of gynecomastia, but not enough to really make people think I'm not a guy (when I dress and act like a guy).

If you want my take on my body shape and how it affects and does not affect me personally, and also how my gender identity affects my gender on-line (versus in the real world), you can go read my letter that I make available to people who share virtual community with me.

It's unfortunate that the original (tripod) site's down now, because I'd like to go look at it. From what you all have been saying, though, it sounds like this guy's unappy with his body and wants it to change, but also doesn't mind showing off his body freakery right now, for some reason or another.

I find it interesting that this guy wears a (ill-fitting?) bra. Most guys with gynecomastia that I know and most pre-op or no-op female to male transsexuals I know just bind their breasts to hide them and continue to pass as masculine. Binding means literally binding your breasts down with bandages to your chest to flatten them considerably and come out with a normative masculine chest.

Gynecomastia means "breast growth" and is pathologized because we have a cultural issue with men who are feminized, especially when that man's gender is not absolutely firmly congruent with that person's biological sex, or when that person's biological sex is not firmly categorizable within our standard binary-gender system (masculine/feminine). There's no real evidence that gynecomastia is actually physically or medically harmful to the person who has it.

Our medical professionals pathologize a lot of aspects of difference, especially sex/gender related, in many cases because that's what they think will be best for the patient. Medical professionals tend to feel in general (and I'm not speaking on behalf of any individual medical practitioner, but about the public and private policies many professionals have followed) that "normalizing" people is the best way to get them to fit in to society and have a normal life.

Because of this, there are actually policies (laws?) in New Zealand that Klinefelter's children, when detected prior birth, shall be aborted. In the United States (my country), that's not usually the case, but we do still suffer from having medical professionals make ad hoc decisions about very recently post-natal "corrective" surgery on infants' genitals that do not correspond to projected norms. Not a statistically signficant number of people, but still many otherwise female people have been raised male for most of their lives because the doctor that was involved in their birth thought their clitorises were too big to be normative, and vice versa for otherwise male people.

If you would like more information on issues surrounding gender identity and tolerance of differently gendered people, a good source is the International Foundation for Gender Education, which seeks to provide source material for research about transgendered (people who just experiment with gender), transsexual (people who tend to medically treat their gender and change it), transvestite (people who dress as genders they are and are not), intersex (i.e. Klinefelter's and other genetic/biological sex/gender non-normals) and other gender-flexible people.
posted by kalessin at 5:47 AM on November 11, 2003


Nice letter kalessin; thanks for your openness.
posted by tr33hggr at 7:38 AM on November 11, 2003


Interesting post. And interesting letter, kalessin. Thank you for sharing it.
posted by lobakgo at 9:08 AM on November 11, 2003


I'm glad you found it helpful.
posted by kalessin at 9:14 AM on November 11, 2003


kalessin, I live in New Zealand, and am unaware of any such laws.

We do allow elective termination when there is obvious fetal abnormality, but we don't do routine amniocentesis, except in older mothers, so I don't see how Klinefelter's would be detected prenatally anyway.

Anyway, termination is only with the consent of the parents. We are not crazed eugenicists down here.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:22 AM on November 11, 2003


I'll see what I can come up with. I was a participant in a mailing list (that no longer seems to exist) a few years ago that mainly had New Zealander men involved in it. It was a support group for New Zealander Klinefelter's patients.

When I was a participant, the others were very much up in arms about what they said were policies/laws that might well have aborted them before they got a chance to live life.

Give me a few minutes and I'll see if I can find any web-citations to back them up.
posted by kalessin at 11:07 AM on November 11, 2003


Oh, P.S. Klinefelter's can be detected by any genetic karyotype. It's a genetic condition. Klinefelter's people are those people who have a Y chromosome, but more than one X in at least some of their cells' DNA.
posted by kalessin at 11:08 AM on November 11, 2003


i_am_joe's_spleen, I apologize but I can't find anything specific to New Zealand. It looks like worldwide, there is some incidence of elective termination of foetuses based on pre-natal or pre-implantation diagnosis of Klinefelter's and other genetic syndromes.

I do remember clearly that the folks on the aforementioned email list were very worried that the condition that two certifying doctors attest to the condition that "there is a great risk that the baby would be severely physically or mentally handicapped" (taken from the pamphlet, Considering an Abortion: What are your options?, from the New Zealand Ministry of Health) allowing elective abortion in New Zealand would be interpreted to mean that Klinefelter's foetuses would be terminated. I don't remember what articles or other interpretation they based that on.

If I can find anything else about it, I will post it, but from here, it looks like every country has some interesting priorities regardin intersex people like myself.
posted by kalessin at 12:15 PM on November 11, 2003


kalessin, I applaud your attitude. Thanks for digging that out.

I guess it hinges on what qualifies as a severe physical handicap. I for one, as a parent, could not reasonably see how intersex is a severe physical handicap per se.

Still, I must point out that it is a parental choice, not government policy.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:14 PM on November 11, 2003


Other Fun Reasons Men's Breasts Grow. Bad news: 10-20% stem from drug/alcohol abuse.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:56 PM on November 11, 2003


i_am_joe's_spleen, I'm glad that I could make it somewhat right in your eyes by giving you that reference. I think it boils down to a matter of policy. In the US, (and I'm not talking about or trying to imply that it's the same in NZ), a lot of policy decisions that are usually up to the parents are not always in fact up to the parents because the information is in the hands of the doctors.

Most Klinefelter's people that I've met so far seem to be intelligent and capable, and it turns out that while there do seem to be some learning disorders linked with Klinefelter's they're limited to language acquisition.

In contrast to the reality that I've experienced and researched, most textbooks teach that Klinefelter's people are criminal and retarded, because early studies done in the 50's and 60's were not very well designed, and the textbooks (being general primers) more often quote each other than find original source material and investigate whether it's still applicable. Modern studies support my claims in general. (I hope you'll take my word here and not make me look up all the rouse material I found years ago and of course lost my notes for. :>)

Anyway, we have a situation now where many doctors, educated about Klinefelter's only with standard, general textbooks, and never having seen a Klinefelter's patient in the flesh, and never having had reason to go do the source research and find out that the textbooks quote flawed studies, will go with what they've been taught. Thus, often when pre-natal diagnosis of Klinefelter's is made, the doctors will tell their patients that a Klinefelter's child is likely to grow up retarded and with behavioral disorders.

Being a parent, thus informed, would you go do the additional research? If you would, how many other parents would you guess would do that?

I think that's what my peers were so worried about on that list.

But yes, I agree that it's not government policy. I'm just worried about the slope being so slippery.
posted by kalessin at 4:06 PM on November 11, 2003


BTW, Matt (or Skippy, I guess) has now fixed this thread I referred to above. In case anyone had tried it earlier. There's some interesting related stuff in it.
posted by soyjoy at 1:48 PM on November 12, 2003


« Older "Hi Jerks! Bender here. I just got back from the...  |  An attempt by developing count... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments