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Boys Will Be Girls

Updated on February 15, 2010

Things men should like:

  • Cars
  • Guns
  • Dying In War
  • Mechanics
  • Aggression
  • Promiscuity

Things women should like:

  • Commitment
  • Babies
  • Curtains
  • Talking
  • Color Co-ordination
  • Smiley Faces :)
  • Make up

Choose your gender, then pick three from the list or forever hold your peace. That used to be how it worked. Men were 'real men' and women were 'real women', who wore skirts so long and pretty that the second biggest killer of women after childbirth used to be setting themselves on fire whilst cooking. But times have changed. Not fitting your gender stereotype is now a far worse fate for a male than a female. Girls can be tomboys until the cows come home and there will always be guys who love them none the less.

On our second date, my now boyfriend gleefully exclaimed 'You're a guy!', not because I am a guy, but because I wanted to buy a cap gun with our winnings from the arcade machines. (You know, those tickets you win that you can exchange for prizes that mean you end up spending about 500 bucks on something that costs 5. Brilliant stuff.)

It's possible to be an attractive tomboy, however being an attractive feminine male is a harder road. First of all, people tend to assume that men who like feminine things are gay. (There's that assumption or at least, snide remarks if you're a woman who doesn't spend her life worrying about the shape of her eyebrows, but men, ironically, tend to get over that sort of thing much more easily than women. As long as you're in possession of a feminine body and you don't bench press more than he does, there are plenty of men who don't care that you're not in silly high heels and a short skirt.)

But women, women seem to hold men to higher standards of masculinity. Perhaps its because women have a harder time getting out of the primal mindset that views all men as potential fathers of future offspring. Or perhaps it is because men have yet to stand up in the same way that women have and say 'I am a man and I like wearing skirts and knitting frilly coasters!'

Either way, it's a double standard.

So what can we do about it? Well guys, it's really up to you. You don't have to dress in drag and do the hula, but challenging the male stereotype every now and again will send ripples throughout the world. Perhaps you'll evince some interest in what Cindy said to Candy when Courtney brought that dress, you know, the one that makes her butt look big, or maybe you'll just wear some delightful purple shoes with a one inch lift. Maybe you'll stop shouting at the sporting louts on television just long enough to order a sarong to wear by the pool side, or maybe you'll sit your significant partner down and ask her 'where things are going.'

There's gender role challenging fun everywhere if you just know where to look for it. Enjoy!


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    • Sally's Trove profile image


      8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Just yesterday on the radio I happened to hear two radio sportscasters, men, discussing male figure skaters' costumes and how wearing these dazzling clothes immediately targets the skaters for speculation about their sexuality.

      This observation was just a part of a broader story covering all aspects of a male skater's professional life, but it included the history of men's costumes and the designers behind them, plus much more. As the two reporters neared the end of their commentary, I realized how captivated I had become with the depth to which these gentlemen discussed this particular field of fashion. I wondered, just for an instant, if the two men weren't actually two women. I'd never heard male sports journalists talk about such things. How refreshing! Maybe that dialog was a small step (at least it was a public one) in encouraging men to share those aspects of themselves that some would categorize as overly feminine, or as anonybutt says above, perhaps it was a subtle way to challenge gender-specific mores.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi Hope, I do agree totally with your comments and I guess in a way I am guilty of teaching lying and hiding, I'm not proud of it. I did promise my wife that I wouldn't involve anyone else in our family with my dressing habits. Our daughter has no idea that I sometimes dress in skirts and dresses etc. Having made that promise I find it very difficult to go back on my word. I fully support anyone who does go public and I do wish I could. Kind regards,

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I've found there are subtle ways to challenge gender-specific appearance mores. For example, my prescription I-need-them-to-live glasses came from the women's side of the aisle and are distinctly female in appearance (think librarian glasses) and no one at home or work so much as batted an eye when I showed up wearing them. More recently I picked up a blue hoodie sweater again from the women's side of the aisle because the men's side held nothing that suited me, and again no one at work has seemed to notice or care.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Now you warn us about the danger of setting oneself on fire while cooking in a skirt. If I don't cook, I don't eat and I just ordered two long skirts yesterday. Silk of course.

      Long skirts because at this stage in my life I find them easier to be out in. I was out two of the three days of our President's Day weekend in an ankle length wrap skirt. The only comment was from one of two young girls playing on the sidewalk who said something about a boy in a dress. Guess I could have stopped and corrected her - at my age it's been a long time since I was a boy and it's a skirt, not a dress. ;)

    • Hope Alexander profile imageAUTHOR

      Hope Alexander 

      8 years ago

      How sad that the idea of wearing what you want makes you think you'd be compromising your wife and child. Doesn't lying about what and who you are compromise them all the more and teach them that it's better to lie and hide than be who you are in the world? What's the point of that lesson?

    • profile image


      8 years ago from Herts. U.K.

      I would love to be able to wear my feminine clothes outside but if I do I believe it would be difficult for my wife to face the neibours etc. As much as I would really love to wear my skirts or dresses in public I couldn't compromise my wife or my child.

      I shall just have to stay a closet cross dressing knicker lover.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I really enjoyed this article, reminds me of when I was in high school and pushed it by wearing womens pants to school. It is going to be the little steps we make to show the world we exist.


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