Feature 02.01.2023 5 minutes

To Save the West, First Save the Breasts

Reflection of upset senior woman on hand mirror at home

Age dysphoria is the real dysphoria that's coming for us all.

In this excerpt from his new book, Spencer Klavan starkly distills the tragic and terrible epidemic of gender dysphoria. Those afflicted by this condition are so distressed by the physical realities of their own bodies that they long to “unzip their skin” and step into a new, more satisfying reality. In our present mass psychosis, the solution proposed—indeed, celebrated as a miracle of self-affirmation—is to take the phrase “life hack” a bit too literally, hacking off bits and pieces of one’s own healthy flesh.

My response to those who seek a physical transformation to match their inner vision of who they really are, I say: you sweet, summer child. One day your newly shaved Adam’s apple will sag and droop, your once pert artificial breasts will flop, and your hacked nethers will turn gray. Just wait until your newly installed neovagina is not looking too “neo” in forty or so years.

You will find that we are all forced to endure our own deeply traumatic, slow-motion physical transformation as the years roll over us. Hate the way you look at 16? Wish you had a different face at 25? Just wait until you turn 40! You will watch in horror as the smile lines no longer disappear when you stop smiling. Inside, you feel just the same as you did that crisp fall day at your first college football game, living your best and cutest 19-year-old life. But on the outside, you have somehow become decades older.

This, friends, is the real dysphoria: Age dysphoria. You begin to feel the first vibrations of the oncoming freight train as you stare into the mirror one morning sometime after your 40th birthday. “How did these lines get here? Wait, what happened to my abs? Did my eyes always crease like that when I smile?” True decrepitude is still way down the tracks, but you can feel it coming if you press your palm onto the cold steel rails of time.

The gender dysphoric suffer from a grab bag of mental illnesses and mind-distorting prescription mood “enhancers.” But the primary driver seems to be good old-fashioned narcissism, or what my Boomer mother calls navel-gazing. Hyper-focus on your physical appearance is a luxury hobby, a boutique indulgence only possible in a late-stage empire.

I am not a narcissist. My main vice is vanity, although you wouldn’t know this if you saw me in the wild. I do not dress like a Real Housewife. I have never worn hair extensions, implants anywhere, or fake nails. I go out in public makeup-free, dressed down, hair undone. I mean, why bother? The checkout guy at Trader Joe’s needs to be impressed?

However, my vanity means that I do not enjoy the aging process. I too sometimes wish I could unzip my skin and step inside of a clean, fresh, lithe new version of me, like that old Twilight Zone episode where the old couple pays for new bodies but can only afford one for the husband. Folks, if someone invents a new skin suit, I’d happily sell my husband to get one.

As Spencer says, “​We are simply more uncomfortable in our bodies than we were before,” and hence the young women getting all the fat in their cheeks sucked out. Hence too the rise (no pun intended) and fall (no pun intended) of the Brazilian butt lift trend. A friend recently asked me how to get her hands on Ozempic, the weight loss pill that is creating the snatched waists of every starlet in stock. Maybe gender dysphoria is a distinctively acute version of this discomfort. But having a body is no cakewalk for anyone, and—as Klavan argues—it never has been.

But then, on the flipside of this grim prognosis, there is ironically hopeful news for the gender dysphoric hordes as they sharpen their scalpels: no one likes her body all the time. Except maybe Lizzo, but she’s the only one (who likes her body, that is). None of us is totally, completely happy with his face or her figure all the time. You are not special! You are simply mis-channeling your perfectly normal self-loathing into hatred of your poor, beleaguered sexual organs. Please—leave those parts alone!

What do we do about our uncomfortable flesh? One quote from Spencer’s excerpt I used in my own book (coming June 2023 from Regnery):

Women, by creating new life, bear witness to the possibility that body and soul can in fact be reconciled: in childbirth, human flesh becomes the medium of the divine. Poets have expressed this as the ‘eternal feminine,’ the strangely luminous power of women like Dante’s Beatrice or Faust’s Margarete to act as physical conduits for the life-giving power of God.

This is a wonderful way to describe the pedestrian yet miraculous event that takes place right in front of our eyes in the delivery room. How does that little peanut with the translucent body through which you can see its heart pulsating, arm and leg buds waving on the ultrasound screen, come out with your mother’s eyes and your husband’s father’s nose? How is this done?

Spencer’s description of the female body as a conduit is accurate. Yes, Virginia, there are portals! If you are a fertile female, you are the only door any human being has to enter into this mortal plane. Please don’t shut it in your own children’s faces.

Instead, join the rest of us in hating the parts everyone hates, like your inner thighs or your bingo arms or your one-pack abs! Let’s all toast to our miserable body dysmorphias, and together we will grope our way to true body acceptance.

And remember: if you hate having perky and youthful breasts on your chest, never fear. Mother Nature will eventually take care of those for you—for free.

Now I must run, I’m late for my full body Botox immersion bath.

The American Mind presents a range of perspectives. Views are writers’ own and do not necessarily represent those of The Claremont Institute.

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