Ever wonder what you'd look like as the other gender?

What if you had received the other sex chromosome from your father, changing your gender, but all your other genes were the same? Just how much do the sex chromosomes contribute to your appearance? I often wonder about this. Even if you change the obvious stuff like facial hair, body hair, a flat chest, I’d still make an ugly woman. As far as I know, there’s no way to know for sure, only conjecture. If there was some non-genetic condition similar to androgen insensitivity syndrome, it’d be interesting to see identical twins of different genders.

If they’re identical, they are of the same gender.

Hence the androgen insensitivity syndrome stuff.

I’d be a good-looking woman. I’ll stake my balls on it.

I don’t see what androgen sensitivity has to do with an egg that split in two, but I’m (obviously) not a biologist. Never mind.

Anyway – I’d probably be an okay looking guy – whatever good looks I have are more about bone structure than “prettiness.”

Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome is a condition that can make a genetic (XY) male look female, complete with feminine breasts, and external genitalia that looks like that of a woman.

I believe snailboy was wondering what male identical twins would look like if it were possible for one, but not the other, to be affected with this syndrome. I don’t think he was positing that identical twins could be anything other than the same genetic gender.

Masculine handsomeness does not always translate well into female prettiness and vice versa. I am happy to resemble my mother. My father was a good-looking man, but his looks would not translate well to femininity.

On the other my mother looks almost exactly like her father. She is a beautiful woman, and he was an otherwise rugged he-male type with handsome but rather soft features which crossed over quite well.

Thanks for the info, Monstera (great name, btw) – consider my ignorance fought.

If I were the same size and all, I’d make a TINY guy. I’m a small woman (5’2, 100 lbs), but I think I’d be a ridiculously small and kawaii guy. And very cute.

A person’s facial features are affected by their hormones, just as their body shape is. If you’d been born a woman with normal female hormone levels, you wouldn’t have the same facial features you do today even if your genes were otherwise the same.

Testosterone causes a young boy’s face to develop a larger, more “masculine” jaw, brow, and nose as he matures. Genes also play a part (a lantern-jawed or hawk-nosed man is likely to have a son who looks much the same), but without testosterone a boy would continue to have a “boyish” face…which isn’t really all that different from a “girlish” face. Your face as a woman wouldn’t look exactly like your face at age 12, but it would be a lot closer to that than it would be to your current adult male face.

If a grown man had my exact face he’d be considered very “baby-faced”, because my ordinary-for-a-woman nose and chin would be quite small for a man. If you’ve ever seen Yentl, you might have noticed that what is a famously large nose for a woman doesn’t seem unusual on a “young man”. However, even at 40 Ms. Streisand’s smaller, feminine jawline and lips would have made it difficult for her to pass as a mature man of the same age. If she or I had been born male, we’d have grown up to have somewhat different faces with heavier brows and jaws.

My height and facial features lend themselves fairly well to drag - I look like my dad, if my dad were to impersonate an effeminate Clark Gable. With the added height and bone structure that an actual male gender would entail, I’d just look exactly like my dad.

Bizarrely enough, one of the things I frequently wonder about is what I’d be like if I’d been born a guy. So much so that on a girls’ weekend away, I raised the topic, and we spent an entertaining evening speculating on what our male alter egos would be like, and how the weekend would differ if they were there instead of us.

I’m pretty confident I’d be tall and good-looking though - without meaning to be horribly arrogant, everyone in my family is, regardless of gender.

Man, I would would be one super ugly chick.

I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I had been born the opposite gender. It would have been different that’s for certain…

There must be siblings out there who are the living answer to this question, if we only knew where to look. Consider: every brother-sister sibling pair has a (roughly) 50% chance of inheriting the same chromosome of each pair. So there must be a few who, purely by chance, are identical in all chromosomes except the X/Y. Probably only a few thousand out of all the billions on Earth, but still: they’re there. Someday an example will turn up during a genealogical research study or a medical screening or something, and then we’ll have some hard data.

As it happens, I don’t wonder at all … my brother and I have an extremely strong family resemblance. We have the same “look,” but I’m a girl and he’s a guy. Often people ask us if we are twins – I think what is happening is that they are expressing that we look even more like than most siblings, even though biologically there’s no reason that boy/girl twins should look more or less alike than random boy/girl sibs.

Anyway, I suspect I would look better as a guy. I think we’re both decently acceptable looking people, but my brother is in a higher percentile of “good lookingness” for a man than I am for a woman.

On edit: I just saw Terrifel’s post … I don’t think my brother and I are coincidentally identical in all our chromosomes, but maybe firmly moving toward that side of the bell curve. That’s an interesting issue!

If I had been born male, I would probably look pretty much the same as my brother does. He’s not that tall, and kind of hairy, also he has curly hair like my mother and I do.

I don’t think I’d make a good guy. Er, sorry?

That’s not exactly how it works. A child doesn’t inherit whole chromosomes from its parents, the genes get shuffled around during meiosis.

I don’t know genetics well enough to do a decent job of explaining this myself, but these two “Ask a Geneticist” columns provide a nice overview of sibling genetics:



In the second column, Dr. Balakrishnan explains that the odds of two babies with the same or genetically identical parents (the question involves twin mothers) inheriting exactly the same genes as each other is less than 1 in 10 trillion.

If the two babies could have one chromosome different then the odds improve a little, but not much. According to the mathematical formula explained in the column, the odds of having 22 chromosomes the same would be 1 in 2^22 x 2^22, or 1.7592186 × 10^13. That’s vastly more than the number of people alive today, and a good bit more than the estimates I can find for how many people have ever lived. So while it’s not totally impossible for a set of near-identical non-twin siblings to be born, the odds are against it having happened even once in human history. There certainly aren’t thousands out there now.

Sorry for the hijack, but I’ve always been interested in genetics problems like this.

Well I appreciate the attempt at ignorance fighting. I really, really should have known better than to attempt thinking about a subject that involves math or numbers in any way. It always turns ugly.

My brother and I look quite alike, other than I am fat and he is rather slim, and gender differences. We both had similar haircuts when we were children, I never voluntarily wore a dress or skirt, and when we look at old photos, we have to examine other clues to determine whether that’s me or Johnny in the pic. So I don’t have to wonder very much.

It’s odd, because we have very similar tastes in many things, too. We are always asking each other if we’ve read this author or heard that musical group.

My oldest sister and her two kids both take strongly after my father, who I also look like.

We look better as men.