Morgan Arthur (pax_morgana) wrote in little_details,

Transgenderism in pre-colonial times.

I'm in the planning stages of a story that takes place in an Earth analogue world with the main setting being a small nation similar to pre-colonial midwestern America. The majority of the characters are of a native tribal culture, and my protagonist is, for all intents and purposes, a transgender man. His people (an as-of-yet-unnamed tribe, referred to hence as the People) subscribe to a belief that a daughter, under certain rare and specific conditions, was meant to be a son and as such, they raise the daughter as a boy. In most cases, the individual ends up as something like a two-spirit: accepting of their physically female form while still adopting traditionally male roles. However, my protag has grown up fully identifying as a boy / man. The People are accepting of this since it's their tradition in the first place, so that isn't at all my problem. My issue is purely a physical one, dealing with the character's body. So here is my question for the community:

Is it at all possible to "condition" breasts to grow in small or not at all? For instance, if the individual's chest is bound consistently beginning before puberty and all throughout, similar to the concept of foot-binding? I've tried Google-searching using key-phrases like "how to prevent breasts from growing" or "how to make breasts small" but all I got were links to breast-reduction surgery and YahooAnswers questions from young teenage girls fretting about how big their busts will be after puberty.

Pardon me if the question seems stupid or elementary. In my defense, I am a transgender man myself and I bind my breasts using an undershirt binder, so I tend to just pretend my chest isn't there most of the time. As such, I'm aware that constant binding could be damaging to the ribcage and chest cavity, particularly the lungs, but those things are not what concern me at the moment. I just want to know if it would (theoretically or otherwise) be possible to condition a person's breasts in such a manner as described above. If what I have in mind is usable, then I'll focus on longterm health risks and whatnot.

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Just to clarify, this isn't the character doing it to himself. It'd be his parents or a medicine man. The community views this character as a man, and as such, would want him presented as one. The character himself doesn't regard his female body as particularly undesirable in any way. In fact, he's indifferent to it. He isn't the only person in his village who was raised this way.

EDIT 2: I think that the notion of breast ironing is closest to what I'm looking for in this case. I'd never heard of it before. Thanks to everyone who offered ideas and information!

Tags: ~crossdressing, ~hygiene & grooming, ~medicine (misc), ~medicine: historical, ~medicine: human physiology, ~native americans, ~transgender
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