Are A Lot Of Ladies' Fashion Models Actually Men?

Is it true that men who are born with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome not only fail to sprout a penis, but they also become extremely feminine looking, more so than most genetic females, and so much so as to make many of them become fashion models? Do both the face and body become extremely feminine, or just the body??

There is a very famous person who is rumored to have AIS. In the interest of not propagating unsubstantiated claims, I won’t mention this person’s name. However, I’ve noticed that while her body is very feminine looking, her face is somewhat man-like. Is this configuration typical of people with AIS?


From this site

Standard references quote rates of 2-5/100,000 for complete AIS (CAIS) and are based on estimates derived from otherwise healthy phenotypic females found to have histologically normal inguinal or abdominal testes.

2 - 5 per 100,000 is a small percentage. Based on that alone I would wager that there are not lots of men filling in as female models.

adam, 2-5 per 100,000 is probobly a higher percent than the number of models, its not like most people are models.

I’m not sure I understand this question. Are you talking about runway models?Because, although they certainly have a standardized look, I wouldn’t exactly call it “extremely feminine.”

According to Snopes, the rumor about your secret actress is “undetermined” (gee thanks, snopes)

Well, if a really small percentage of the population are models and a really small percentage of the population has AIS then, is it not safe to assume that a miniscule part of a small percentage of models has AIS?

Here’s a link to the exact quote that I’m trying to verify-

“As a result, the fetus often grows into an unusually beautiful woman, with long legs, clear skin, ample breasts and thick hair. A number of famous models and actresses are thought to have androgen insensitivity syndrome.”

No. People with AIS are completely incapable of responding to testosterone. They have no masculine features. Though genetically XY, they look more feminine than average women.

Please note that no site I’ve ever seen refers to AIS individuals as men. Yes, they are genetically male. However, AIS women are raised as females, and think of themselves as female. Generally the condition is only detected when the girl fails to undergo puberty.

FWIW, Unca Cecil answered the question about this particular public figure in the TOTSD book, although damn if I can’t find that article on line.

And this public figure’s . . . umm . . . figure was on prominent display at last night’s Oscars, and looked very feminine.

Can anyone point me to a (clean) photograph of someone known to have AIS? I don’t have a really clear idea of what “more feminine than the average woman” means.

Couple of things:

First of all, “men” with adrogen insensitivity are NOT men - they’re women. Prior to current knowledge of genetics and ability to examine chromosomes no one ever considered that they were anything other than women with an unfortunate birth defect (lack of uterus and ovaries). Although the internal female structures never develop, the external appearance and the vagina are pretty standard issue. I think there are some minor differences, but you probably have to know what to look for to spot it - your average Joe just won’t notice.

Second, these folks are completely insensitive to adrogenic hormones. As a result, they never develop any body hair other than on their scalps - no armpit hair, no public hair, no leg hair, no “embarassing, unwanted facial hair”. These gals looked like they’ve been freshly body waxed but they aren’t - and never need to be. Since androgenic hormones are unable to affect them, the estrogen produced by any human body with XY chromosomes drives the formation of breats - these women tend to be well endowed in the bosom. Testosterone and its cousins are unable to affect their bones, therefore, their skeletons retain juvenile/feminine characteristics. As one example, in men the angle of the jawbone just under the ear tends towards a 90 degree angle, while in women it tends to be greater than that - this is, in fact, one of the things that makes a jawline look masculine or feminine. Some women with “mannish” faces have a jaw angle of close to 90 degrees. Women with AIS, though, have a jaw angle that is usually greater, on average, than that of the average XX woman - hence, “more feminine than most women”. There are other skeletal features that are subtle, but contribute to how “mannish” or “womannish” a person looks, and women with AIS tend toward the extreme end of the “womannish” scale on all of them - except one. AIS women tend to be very tall. That is because testosterone & company affect when the skeleton stops growing, and when testosterone is either lacking (as in eunnuchs, which also tend to be very tall) or not functioning correctly, the skeleton gets the signal to stop growing much later than usual. So you wind up with a tall woman with long legs and arms. As already mentioned, they usually have flawless skin - no acne. They also never go bald, and in fact, over time, their hair thins less than that of a normal, XX woman (who does produce small amounts of testosterone and is somewhat affected by it). The big tip-off is that these women never menstruate - they have neither ovaries nor uterus. Diagnosis is frequently made when an 18 or 20 year old woman goes to a doctor to find out why, despite her otherwise adult body, she isn’t menstruating. Needless to say, they also never give birth.

The end result is frequently a six foot tall, long-limbed, slender woman with flawless skin, big breasts, and feminine bone structure. Said individual could probably do well as a runway model, XY women are frequently described as “runway model” in looks, and I have no doubt some of the runway models we see are, in fact, XY women. Which ones, though, I don’t care. Odds are, you’ve likely seen or met one of these individuals but odds are also that you’d never suspect they’re an XY female.

Any woman who has given birth is certainly not an XY female.

The actress that there has been much speculation about - I’d say unlikely to be an XY female just based on her “mannish” bone structure. But not impossible. Just very unlikely in my opinion.

Wow, this sounds like a pretty sweet deal.
And, no, I’m not being sarcastic, and please fill in any points that I’m not taking into consideration that might change my mind.

From Broomstick’s description it seems like the only negative side is the whole not being able to conceive and give birth. If a person doesn’t want kids or can be perfectly happy adopting kids sounds like everything else is just great.

You get to be tall and hot and you never menstruate and never have to worry about birth control!

Is there anything else “bad” about AIS?

I think the “bad” stuff stems largely from society and the attitude of other people.

For starters, the inability to have children can be very devastating to some folks, particularly from more “traditional” societies.

How the news is broken to a girl or her family can have a major impact - there have been instances of doctors approaching the parents and announcing “you don’t have a girl - you have a boy!” - which is completely bogus. Regardless of genetics, you ARE dealing with a person in a female body, one who identifies as female. Telling a girl she is “supposed” to be a boy can really mess up an adolescent.

These gals also tend to physically mature later than most girls, and because they never develop things like leg and body hair, or menstruate, may either be regarded as somehow physically immature or feel as if they never quite became “finished” women (I base this on reading some accounts of XY women, some of them in their own words). So that can have an affect on them.

Probably most damaging is the tendency over the years to treat their condition as some sort of dark, shameful secret. Read an account by an XY woman who asked her gynecologist if he knew of any other women with her condition and if so, could he put her in touch with them. The doctor huffily insisted he knew of only two and they were both doing perfectly fine on their own and there was no need to talk to anyone else about the problem. Well, being one of the “two”, and knowing she wasn’t doing “fine”, she eventually wound up starting a support group for other XY women. Pretty much, all of these women had been brought up to never tell anyone about their situation, warned that no man would marry them if he knew, etc. etc. And it was the extreme secrecy that made them feel most ashamed, fearful, etc.

In some cases, women were never told their precise situation even when they asked directly and only found out years later what, exactly, was amiss. I can understand simplifying the situation when you’re talking to a six year old (if the subject even comes up) but a 20 year old woman is entitled to an explanation and full knowledge of her medical condition

So, while there are no physical drawbacks (other than sterility) that I’m aware of, the pscyhological baggage can be considerable.

I’m sure I remmeber my genetics lecturer telling us you get XXY females too and they are very feminine looking - “superfemales” he called them, and he actually said they are quite rare but a higher proportion of air hostesses are XXY than the general population.

There was one! About 15? years ago, I read of one very famous/popular model at the fashion shows who was actually a male. It was no secret at the time. I would hardly call one “a lot” though. He wasnt AIS, just boyish looking, and skinny - he looked something like Twiggy from the 1960’s. I forget exactly why they used him instead of a female model but it had something to do with the particular style of clothes he was modeling then, and “the look” that the designers wanted to portray(no curves). I am sure he is now too old to still be in the business, and if there were any more who were male, we would have heard of them.

You can’t. It wasn’t a column; it was a thread from the old AOL board that was reprinted in the book.

Cecil did slap them down, though. So he DID answer it…in a sense.

I find that hard to believe. How would anyone know? I know about 10 flight attendants and none of them have had to undergo genetic testing. Am wondering how your professor would come up with this. Did he give any other information on where he was getting this from?

Or do XXYs have a “look” like AIS females do? (Although I wouldn’t say flight attendants have a look; not in the same way models do. They’ve been hiring pretty much anyone for 15 or more years now. You don’t really have to be a Barbie anymore.)

Having only one X chromosome, a woman with AIS would be just as likely to be red-green colorblind as any man.

(I’m still waiting for someone to post a clear photo of an XY woman.)

IANAGeneticist, but this doesn’t sound right to me. OTTOMH XXY individuals are men with Kleinfelter syndrome.

A quick look at the Intersex Society Of North America site reveals that I’m correct save the spelling.

XXY will result in a sterile male with a feminine distribution of body fat not some superfemale.