That was a question I recently was asked and if I am honest completely baffled by; that however is my personal opinion on it and others may differ. I have asked around to see what others felt about this question, how their ostomy has affected them and the way they view their “femininity”.I understand that the ostomates that have no choice in whether they have a stoma or surgery this can be a major factor in how you view your body and in turn your femininity maybe affected. Scars can be seen as flaws rather than part of your journey; for me before my ostomy I hated my scars. I have a scar from open surgery to form my jpouch which left my stomach uneven, the scar then split open twice and on top of that my section scars which allowed my babies to be born goes through the bottom split.
I have struggled with my lower stomach for a very long time, even since it has become “the mummy pooch” as I have heard it referred too I still struggle. I can’t see myself as feminine whilst that is still there protruding rudely in every outfit, photo bombing my dream body. However my ileostomy hides one half of my stomach as it is high sited and that does help when I’m in my underwear or less to not entirely hate my body and see it as more of a feminine curvy shape. That is not to say women without curves are not feminine! Femininity is totally in the eyes of the beholder.
Which leads me on to my next point; my femininity isn’t held in it’s entirety in my bodies journey but for me feeling feminine is having time and effort to do my hair and make up, the clothes I choose to wear, my stupid flirting with 00Steve, holding my children close and being maternal, playing dress up with my daughter. Those are the things that really hold my femininity in check. So here is me on the left with wobbles, scars, stoma bag, no make up and not even brushed my hair! It doesn’t change ultimately whether I’m feminine or not especially others views on myself but I appreciate what my body has been through. The right I have make up on, my hair brushed and posed to feel “slimmer” even my ridiculous facial expression that in my head I feel societies version of feminine. But I need to blend the two together and be fully happy with myself.
So I asked over on my instagram stories as to how many women felt that surgery affected their femininity and then asked those who said yes to see if it was their scars or their ostomy. It was quite a mix to be honest of answers.
As I said above out of scars and stoma for me it would be scars but then I chose to have my stoma so that might be a big factor in why I feel the way I do. I liked the fact that women felt that having surgery hadn’t affected the way they viewed themselves, but I feel saddened but I do understand why more women felt their stoma affected them more than the scars.
We need to stop allowing society making women feel less sexy or feminine because of the way our bodies look or the battles it has faced and overcome. We need to raise awareness that you can be strong and feminine all at the same time, your body could be in whatever society at the time deems as “broken” or not good enough visually but that does not and should not impede on your femininity and the same goes for men and their masculinity. I see plenty of men doing before and after photos from sick to healthy and vice versa. Being a beefcake doesn’t make you more manly than the guy who struggles to gain weight.