I am not less because i wear a dress

7 Aug

Do you like wearing dresses or make-up or flowers, or anything typically regarded as feminine? That is totally awesome man. Hi five!

Do you like wearing things that are typically regarded as masculine, such as jeans and trainers and suits (sorry, this list is shit, load of “boy” stuff is androgynous)? Aw man, aw man. We should be friends, because me too!

You know what, my opinion is that you should be able to wear whatever you want because clothes are a great way of expressing yourself. You know who says different? Meanies and really not cool people who should be sat on.

I have some serious beef with the concept that your gender defines your clothes. More beef; that dressing feminine is seen as weak and dressing masculine is seen as stronger. You know what that sounds like to me? A whole lot of sexist bullcrap. And you know what we don’t like? That’s right, it’s sexist bullcrap.

Let’s start from the beginning with this concept: fashion and femininity (and everything that the patriarchy says that we can have creativity and freedom in) is weak, say the fore-mentioned meanies (hereby referred to as sexists). Pink and skirts and knitting and floral designs; glitter and lilac and petticoats and high heels; these are seen as signs of an underlying deeply feminine frailty and inability to participate in intelligent discussion and deep thought. And yet, AND YET, if we don’t wear these things (and if we don’t behave in a manner seen as typically feminine) we are now seen as non-sexual and worthy of male contempt in a different way. Although, weirdly enough, women dressing as men are often accepted as “one of the lads” (whether they like it or not) and are thus allowed to be intelligent etc. (although of course there is loads of homophobic crap to talk about here).

More to think about: men’s clothing is typically seen as more androgynous, while women’s clothing is the reserve of bubble-headed fashion worshippers and drag queens. Am I right? (I am right.) Does this sound wrong to you? (This should sound wrong to you). What’s happening here is that women are allowed to become more masculine (see the general acceptance of jeans for anyone in the Western world) because it’s cool to be a man, but men are not allowed to become more feminine, because it’s not cool to be a woman. If you are a woman and you take an interest in fashion, maybe you are a fashion designer or a stylist or something typically fashion related, your career is not taken as seriously as those in other areas. If you are a man and you do one of the careers above, you must be gay. These are the options available to you. Girly girl or camp man; both not taken seriously. This despite the fact that the british fashion industry contributes £21bn a year to the economy, and so to even the untrained eye must be something more than silly girls and silly shoes.

These opinions (and we can all, hopefully, agree that they are bs) are usually limited to the meanies. When someone who says that they are for women’s rights, however, tells me the same thing (but with fancy words) it gets a bit more complicated. They usually say something along the lines of “If you dress like a girly girl, you are submitting to the patriarchy’s ideas of a women. You are letting the side down. You are making them think you are weak, and you will not be taken seriously. Dress like a man instead and don’t take an interest in fashion because these are the roles that they have set for you and you should not fill their expectations.” This does not make any sense, unless you are a misogynistic a-hole, which is weird because these people explicitly campaign against that crap. When I dress like a fairy, or a Disney princess, or when I squee over cute shoes, yes, I am filling the patriarchy’s expectations. What they don’t expect is that I will then become a geneticist and save the world, and when I go to my lectures I will wear a tutu and take notes with a feathery pen. It is possible (entirely possible) to be a babe and simultaneously a radical, smart, passionate, completely non-airheaded human being. These people who say anything different are saying that to be feminine is weak, which is complete shit for everyone ever, of any gender, who take pleasure in what they wear and what they do, be it typically feminine or not.

An interesting concept: what you wear does not define you. It is not everything about you. It is one of the choices you make about yourself in your decision to show the world what you are like, and so taking an interest in it should not be stigmatised for anyone. Saying that glitter is shallow is saying that women are shallow, and if you say that my extremely cute nail-polish will not stop me from punching you in the face.

Thoughts? Opinions? Does anyone have any idea how I could improve this post, or any alternative ideas to this concept?


3 Responses to “I am not less because i wear a dress”

  1. Mavellian August 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    This was quite humorous

  2. Cecily August 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    I wanted to laugh at your bits in parenthesis, it’s great! I also love deliberately dressing in ribbons and lace, only to engage earnestly in a political discussion and suprise people 🙂

  3. Clancy August 9, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    I think that your message is inspiring but in the best most entertaining way possible, I also think that generally people over look being sexist because it doesn’t seem like a big deal like that is just how it is, and it is a load of bullcrap 🙂

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