Thursday, February 19, 2015

Female Masking: The Maskerade Ball In DC by Mandy De Sandra

Something a little different for you this week, as we suit up, adjust our faces, and explore the world of female masking. This is something that really slipped into the mainstream over the last year-and-a-half, with a Channel 4 documentary, Secrets of the Living Dolls, and several newspaper articles that followed - all of them exploring it primarily from a fetish or cosplay angle. While I don't deny that aspect, I immediately saw a potential for transgender expression, so I decided to talk to the people who live it, love it, and write about it to learn more.

If you have yet to read this month's issue of Frock Magazine, then I urge you to give it a read as soon as you're done here - I think you'll find my article on Female Masking and the Trans Community a great sort of primer, and a natural lead in to this week's feature.


As we come into the final day of female masking week, I wanted to feature a story that really straddles two subcultures - masking and dollification - providing a perfect point at which to end this month's feature on the former, and to tease next month's feature on the latter.

The Maskerade Ball In DC is a story I've had lingering on my Kobo for quite some time now, so I'm very glad I finally had an excuse to give it a read. This was, perhaps, the most down-to-earth, touching, and magical book I read for my fictional foray into female masking. Mandy De Sandra has woven an absolutely wonderful tale here with a delicious amount of detail.

John is a normal man, who has never wanted to be a woman, but who has always longed to be a doll. He's not interested in 'passing' or fooling anyone with his appearance, and he's not trying to use the illusion of femininity for any sort of purpose. He likes the fact that his mask and bodysuit look artificial, that they look plastic, and that they look like . . . well, a doll. More than that, he loves the feel of being inside the suit, cut off from any feeling outside the suit. Whereas most stories fantastize the technology and come up with clever ways of transmitting sensation through plastic or latex, John is quite content to share a doll's lack of sensation.

It's this ability to embody the mask that gets him invited to an exclusive ball where other maskers exist to be played with by Washington's elite. They really are expected to just lie there and take it, and that's fine for all almost involved. Without spoiling the two twists that carry the story through to a romantic, fantastic end, let's just say John's commitment to his alter-ego Vanessa is at the heart of the tale.

The Maskerade Ball In DC certainly explores the fetish side of masking more than some titles, but it does so in an honest, straightforward manner that's quite refreshing. I can absolutely see the appeal in wearing and being Vanessa, and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect ending.

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