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Culture Notes: Wing Dysphoria

Culture Notes: Wing Dysphoria published on 14 Comments on Culture Notes: Wing Dysphoria

Rowan: Whatever magic causes some humans to grow wings, it makes your mental body image grow them too. It’s still an adjustment! It’s weird for a while! But it’s not as big a change as, say, a medical amputation. More like an extra-gawky puberty.

. . . I had a suave puberty, so maybe it’s some kind of karmic punishment that I had to go through this instead.

But, ah, that’s what happens if everything goes right. And with bodies, something can always go wrong . . .

Sigrún: Queen Szélanya famously had wings, so in Sønheim, we take them as a sign of fortune and favor. Any discomfort is treated as “this is a small price to pay for all the luck you just got.”

I’m not so naive as to believe nobody in this country has ever successfully sought to have their wings removed . . . But it would be an embarrassment. It’s not something one admits to in public.

That one guy with wings Rowan dated: West Coast countries used to see wings as “unlucky” or “cursed”. No matter how happy the person was with them. Popular legend says that wings would be amputated by force. If you listen to period romances, it was happening right and left!

In the few cases where the historical evidence backs that up, it seems likely those people just had bad wing dysmorphia . . . and a keen sense of drama.

Mata: Tamaputians don’t grow wings at all! Whatever wacky magic shenanigans caused the whole phenomenon, seems like it was only applied to humans. So we figure, how you handle them is all up to you.

Juniper: Doctors in most of the Gulf countries basically treat it like sex-related dysphoria. “These things don’t feel right? They’re causing serious distress? You’ve given yourself some time to adjust, and tried the less-invasive treatments, and none of it helps?”

“Cool. Affirmative surgery is the next step. If you understand and accept the risks, we’ll take ‘em off.”

Good news: once the original wings grow in, they’re just regular limbs. If they’re injured or lost, they don’t keep growing back.

Actress of Olive Badiane: More good news: according to all credible research, this kind of body integrity dysphoria is extremely rare. Possibly even rarer with wings than it is with other limbs. Most of us, once we get through the adjustment period, think they’re just wonderful.

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As a trans woman relatively early into my own transition (about six and a half months in at this point), any significant body change, even one that’s bringing your body in line with your internal sense of what you’re body should be, feels weird for a while. It took me about three months to adjust to the fact that I have breasts now (and they really started growing in earlier than the literature said that they would) – and before I adjusted to having them, it felt like I was wearing breast forms all the time. I love having them, but it was definitely an adjustment actually having them.

The funny thing is, Tamaputians are at the right scale that they could likely fly with wings of a reasonable size, ignoring the details of center of balance and energy expenditure.

Maybe that’s why they DONT have them :-).

(Weird … I feel like I already saw this page? … or was some of these answers already on tumblr or something?)

A lot of the Culture Notes pages are expanded/compiled versions of worldbuilding details I’ve posted on Tumblr! Same with Thorn Explains and Holly Explains, for that matter. When it’s good info, I want to get it in a publishable format at some point.

Next scavenger hunt: find the other Q&A questions I folded into this page, and the original posting locations for all the character images…

But what ARE the less-invasive methods to treat wing dysphoria in the Gulf countries???

Cognitive behavioral therapy, antidepressants, and/or OCD meds, same as IRL bodily integrity dysphoria!

…It doesn’t seem like it works with *actual* BID, but you can understand why doctors would go “this might be a treatable symptom of some other issue, so let’s rule those out before we move on to the amputation stage.”

Yeah, I understand. Laziness.

… ok, just kidding, it’s because amputation is hard to revert if the person changes mind later.

Actually, I think there were several cases where kids committed suicide when their problems were NOT solved by gender transition. Of course there were also suicides where kids were not allowed to go through transition, so this is apparently hard quyestioin

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