Why Men Wearing Dresses Is Good For Women
Because much of the objection to men wearing women's clothing comes from women, I like to address the feminist issues associated with men wearing women's clothing from time to time. It might surprise you that there are any feminist issues associated with men wearing dresses and lingerie. After all, isn't it simply a men's issue?
No. No it's not. It is an issue that affects all of us because you see, the problem with men wearing women's clothing is usually the fact that it is seen as making men too feminine, which they're apparently not supposed to be. But think about it for a second, if we say that feminine men are bad are we not also saying to some extent that femininity in itself must be less desirable than masculinity?
If we valued men and women equally, if we believed that masculinity and femininity were merely two sides of the same coin, we would hardly become upset when a man or a woman blurred the lines by wearing fashions commonly associated with the other gender. But we do. Though attitudes are changing, it is still impossible for many men in the world to get up in the morning, put on a skirt, high heels and make up and turn up to the office. Women, on the other hand, are often expected to do just that.
That's truly strange if you think about it. The underlying implication is that what really matters about a person isn't who they are or how well they do their work, but their gender, and they're always going to be worth more if they happen to have an X and a Y chromosome.
Though women have made great headway in obtaining equality, we're apparently still the less valued gender. If the idea of a man wearing women's clothing is supposed to be somehow demeaning to him, but a woman dressing in men's clothing is somehow cute and adorable, then we have a double standard along the same lines of it being cute when a kid plays dress up in mommy's closet, but creepy if an adult wears baby clothes.
The unspoken rule of fashion seems to be this: It's only cute when you're
trading up in the world. It is apparently 'creepy' if you trade down. It may not be that we inherently look down on childhood, but we do view children as subordinate human beings, which is why we scoff at the idea of adults wearing children's clothing. In the debate of men wearing women's clothing, that tendency matters, because saying that it is weird and creepy for men to wear women's clothing implies rather strongly that women are supposed to be subordinate to men.
Unsurprisingly, the greatest objection to men wearing women's clothing comes in areas where conservative, traditional 'family' values are touted the most. In other words, in the areas where women are most likely to be viewed as second class citizens, as weak because of their femininity, and even merely as pretty accessories to men only good for popping out babies.
The disgust for men wearing women's clothing may not always be aimed at men, it may sometimes be misplaced disgust for women as a gender. Those who don't understand why men would want to dress in similar attire as women might very well be those who look down on women full stop.
So if you're sitting there curled up in hubby's big jersey whilst sneering at the idea of a man wearing a skirt, it might be worth thinking about what that says about how you value yourself and your own gender.
The more we accept the notion that men can wear what they want, the more we accept the idea that men and women are truly equal and that is good for all of us.
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