There is no single answer to the question of whether ffs works and, if it
does, what kinds of work it does. In the end the question of its efficacy, of
whether ffs does what it promises to do, is not a question of the technical
or the surgical. This is because, as Ousterhout’s denial of Zoe’s experience
makes clear, the sex/gender of a face is not only a property of the face itself.
The face is the primary site of our individuality and bodily identity, and
the dynamism and ultimate effect of ffs is produced through interaction.
Readers have likely noticed that there are no photographs of ffs patients
in this book. When I first began presenting this work people often asked
to see before- and- after photographs, and at first I indulged their requests.
Curious viewers wanted to know if the transformation ffs promised could
actually take place, if there was some surgical means of changing their per-
ceptions of something so basic about a person as their sex. Some viewers
remarked on the startling changes they saw. They marveled at the surgical
capability manifest in the images and typically included a simultaneously
incredulous and laudatory claim along the lines of “Wow, I would never
know that she was trans- !” Others would criticize and undermine the ef-
fectiveness of the surgeries by claiming the opposite: “I can totally tell this
was a man.” In both cases the respondents were expressing whether ffs
had worked on them. The project and promise of ffs is, of course, not what
happens to the viewer when ffs works but what happens to the trans-
woman herself.
Knowing in advance that what they were seeing was the facial transfor-
mation of trans- women who had undergone ffs, viewers were keen to
assess their own abilities and limitations in recognizing facial masculinity
(for it is masculinity that is visible when one “can still tell”). What became
clear to me in witnessing these assessments is a realization that many ffs
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