Saturday, March 24, 2012

Boys in Dresses: But Isn't That Gay?

I've had this topic on my mind for a while now as something I want to cover, but I've been delaying the writing of it for reasons unknown. Today, however, my mind was spurred into action by a comment on another blog I was reading ...

We all know that lesbians never wear skirts, and no straight woman would ever be caught dead in a pair of pants! Amirite?

Despite the comical value of such a sweeping generalization (not to mention an obvious troll comment), this still brings to light an interesting topic. For whatever reason, there is still a quite prevalent social perception that men who do feminine things must be gay. Now, the purpose of this blog has always been to separate social perceptions and prejudices from reality, and in turn destroy them, thusly both empowering and encouraging people to just be themselves. Let's get into this, shall we?

When I started down this whole fashion freedom path, the first question that Mrs. Spookshow asked me was, "Are you gay?" I was truly taken aback by this, but could understand where she was coming from. Since birth, most of us have been told at some point or another that boys like to (and should) do certain things, and girls like to (and should) do certain things, and to deviate from these standards is wrong and weird (and that if you do, you are probably gay). Now, women have managed to shrug off some of these assumptions over the years (though they haven't broken free entirely), but largely it seems that men have been left with a very small box to exist within. 

It's important to note that this starts from a very young age, and though most often seen and thought of through playground bullying, it often goes much further than just that. Boys who don't like sports, roughhousing, or playing soldier can often face ridicule and abuse from parents as well as children. For people who deviate from the "norms", there's often an immense social pressure from a very young age to fit in, to not go against the herd. Before I talk about why this is, I want to talk about some of my personal experiences.

I was fortunate when growing up, as my parents often told me to not be afraid to be myself and make my own course. On a broad and simple level, I think they mostly told me this to try to keep me out of trouble from peer pressure (falling in with a bad crowd just to be cool, smoking, drugs, ect). I've got a bit of a joke with myself in thinking that my parents probably didn't have their son wearing dresses in mind when they told me this so often growing up, but hey, ha! Now, I've made some choices that my parents haven't always agreed with or even liked, but they've always stood by me, and I absolutely realize how lucky I am to have that support. This goes to the reason I have this blog ... I want to sort of "pay it forward", so to speak, and offer my support to people who may not otherwise have a stable support base at home, and try to give them the courage to be themselves through example.

So why do I think there is a social pressure to fit people into neat little boxes of behavior and likes based on gender? I think it ultimately comes down to fear of the unknown. I think there's a deep seated human desire to understand everything and to fit it all into categories. When we are presented with things we may not understand (but can't be bothered to really think about), it's simply easier to just toss it into a preexisting category and move on. I think the line of thinking (usually subconscious) goes as such:

Boy like girls. Girls like boys. All boys like boy things. All girls like girl things. Boys that like girl things must want to be girls. Boys that like girl things must like boys.

If you've stuck with me this far, I don't need to tell you that these types of sweeping generalizations are tragic. It really disappoints me, though, that for a lot of people the above thought process makes more sense (and is preferable) to the simple thought that all people are different, and that's great.

So I can see then, quite easily, following the former thought process (that, again, has probably been somewhat subconsciously enforced in most of us from a young age) why there seems to be a mental connection between boys in dresses and being gay. However, there is not a substantial link between sexuality and gender. The two things are just not related. 

Clothing will always be used as a language in our society. It can communicate everything from status, rank, wealth, and opinions. So my point here isn't that that is going to change, because it isn't. What I'm working towards here is a redefinition of what certain sartorial choices say. Putting on a dress doesn't make you gay, and being gay doesn't make you want to put on a dress. 

A lot of my essays seem to focus on masculinity and femininity, and what I feel their role should be in defining us, and it seems that this essay is no exception. The entire point of this essay is just to say that masculinity and femininity are not (and should not be) linked to sexuality. Just as our gender should not define who we are, our sexuality should not either. We are all a collection of likes, dislikes, traits, thoughts, and feelings, and no two people are exactly alike. That should be celebrated, not discouraged. What I'm trying to say is, just don't be so quick to judge, nor so eager to put people into categories. That includes yourself.

Be you. Own it, love it, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

35 comments:

  1. At one time boys commonly wore dresses. It was not thought of as being anything unusual. For example, John D. Rockefeller,Jr. wore only dresses until until he was 8 years of age, and that was in a household where the members were strict tea-totaling Baptists. Somewhere along the line, maybe about the 1940's it became scandalous for boys to wear dresses - maybe it was to mold boys into being manly so they might be better to serve their country as soldiers.

    JohnH

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    1. I've heard of breeching, and have mentioned it here on the blog somewhere. It's also interesting to note that pink used to be the boys color, while blue was the girl color. Things like this are the reason why I largely can't be bothered to care about social perceptions ... all they are are opinions, and I don't need to live my life based on what other people think I should be doing.

      The soldier theory is interesting! I had never thought of that, and find it more than a little unsettling, frankly.

      Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to comment here, John!

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  2. Well I have an androgynous style, I guess that makes me a lesbian. Who knew? :D

    This topic reminds me of Judith Butler's idea of gender performativity, that many of the traits and behaviours we percieve to be "natural" to boys and girls are in fact learned through repetition and experiencing society's traditions (she says it way better than that, but that's my understanding of it haha!). What about a high-heeled shoe is inherently feminine? Nothing, that's just what this generation has decided it is. Just like men used to wear heels and makeup, in another few decades skirts on men may be back in popular fashion! But who wants to wait for a trend to cycle around?

    I totally agree about the need to categorise everything! The whole argument that clothing somehow affects your gender identity or sexuality is ridiculous and narrow-minded. Just because you wear women's clothing makes you "open to sex with men"? That's dangerously close to the assumption that a woman wearing a little, tight dress wants to sleep with lots of men.

    Anyway, I'm afraid I've written you a novel here, sorry haha. Once I get started talking I can't stop it seems :P I love your style and OOTDs!

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    1. "But who wants to wait for a trend to cycle around?"

      Haha, exactly.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment here, and no need to worry about length! I enjoy interacting with the people who visit this blog, and am glad to hear your thoughts on things.

      Thank you for the compliments, Elle!

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  3. There's extra complexity in the concept of girls-can-do-boy-things-but-boys-can't-do-girl-things, because, largely, feminist expressions and performances just aren't valued in the same way that masculine expressions and performances are. There is, at least to a certain extent, some value in a woman performing masculinely, but there is no value in a man performing femininely, because being female just isn't valued, and to desire that feminine performance is somehow shameful. (Even for ciswomen, look at how particularly "girly" girls are often regarded as prissy, or vain, or shallow, or a hundred other negative things. They are valued visually, but not taken seriously as human beings. Blerg.)

    Anyhow--I've been lucky in that my parents have always encouraged and valued me and never treated my interests or desires as weird or abhorrent. (When I got into costuming in high school, my mom simply taught me how to sew!) I really appreciate your idea of paying it forward; creating a support system is awesome, and it's continually important to let those who deviate from the norm that they aren't alone.

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    1. Mia, I was going to comment and say basically exactly the same thing about the relative values of masculinity and femininity, and the subsequent acceptedness or lack thereof of women adopting masculine traits/dress vs. men adopting feminine traits/dress.

      I love this blog and seeing a man adopt feminine style as a way of transgressing those boundaries, but at the same time I worry about men "legitimizing" femininity by adopting it. Obviously Michael has gotten some negative reactions to his style, but in some way I suspect the style itself becomes more legitimate, more serious and less frivolous because it is being worn by a man. Which, frankly, sucks. No criticism intended of you, Michael, or your style - I just wish it were possible for feminine style to be valued without some kind of masculine "approval" process.

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    2. Mia: Yep. I actually spoke a bit about that in my essay Why Fashion Freedom is Important. While this blog is primarily a fashion blog that seeks to promote men having a wider option in style, the underlying message here is just one of all people being themselves, and working on gaining acceptance of that. I hope that anything I manage to accomplish here can only help the cause of women in regards to equality, which brings me to ...

      Jen: Hey, Jen. Thanks for taking the time to comment here! Your perspective here is interesting, and something I hadn't considered. I'll confess, I'm not really too up on feminist theory and such. Perhaps surprisingly, given the nature of this blog and the essays I tend to write for it, I don't spend a lot of time reading gender studies or feminist writing. I do think about these issues a lot, though.

      I want to say that it's a bit pessimistic to worry about men "legitimizing" femininity by adopting it, but honestly I can sorta see where you are coming from. I started writing a long bit of theory to go here, but I'm not certain it made much sense so it's out, ha. Suffice to say, the view I try to espouse here on the blog is that masculinity and femininity are just words that we use to define certain traits, actions, or ideas, and that I feel those traits, actions, or ideas should each be viewed and valued separately for each person. Instead of spending so much time caught up in labels and categorizing, let's instead just be.

      Sort of unrelated, but I just want to say that with regards to the things I wear: I don't make my fashion choices based on things being feminine or girly. It's just not about that for me at all. I wear clothes that I find aesthetically pleasing. It's not even about making a point, championing a cause, or being different. When I see a dress that I think looks nice, and that could possibly work on my body, I wear it. I guess what I'm saying is that in that regard I don't see myself as any different than anyone else who is interested in fashion, I just happen to be willing to venture outside the normal box for mine.

      Anyhow, thank you both for commenting here! It's been a lot to think about, and I'm still thinking about what you've said here, Jen, and for that I thank you!

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    3. To be honest, I'm not that up on feminist theory either, but my undergrad major occasionally pops up. :) I absolutely agree that masculine and feminine are just words and that the traits/ideas/whatever we assign to them are completely culturally bound rather than biologically (or otherwise "naturally") determined. My comment about legitimizing is based on the way the same thing is respected or not depending on gender. E.G. when most men were secretaries, it was a respected position; now that secretaries are mostly women, it's low paid grunt work. When women knit it's often considered kitchy or cute, but when men knit it's artwork. That sort of thing. Likewise, I think from a feminist theory perspective, you are both an individual making fashion choices based on what you like best, and also a man with a certain amount of cultural privilege who is choosing styles that are generally considered feminine. The personal is political. I totally respect not thinking about your fashion in a political way most of the time - God knows I don't, though there's certainly plenty of room for it - I just really like thinking about stuff like this.

      So thanks for giving me a forum to think and talk about gender and fashion politics, and props for venturing outside of the normal boundaries in your style.

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  4. Yes, the idea that we're all advertising ourselves for sex with men is just silly. Even in the actual cross-dressing community, the majority of MTF CDs are straight.

    But as I said in my own comment to the above here, I think Jamie is just projecting his own truth on to everyone else. It's easily done.

    Patrick Califia once wrote: "The best we can do is speak our own truth, make it safe for others to speak theirs, and respect our differences." Unfortunately, while a lot of people can manage the first part, they often have trouble with the other two.

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    1. Very true, Jonathan. Thanks for taking the time to comment here! I gotta say that I really admire your intelligence and ability to communicate your ideas; your blog is a great read!

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  5. It's so crazy to me that people want to label people. And honestly, I've never seen any gay men that like to wear skirts or dresses, unless it's in drag. Usually they are all about the male fashion. I think people are scared of what they don't understand, and they feel the need to box it up into something familiar and easy to judge.

    We are all judged, all we can do is try our best not to prejudge others, and to learn to be happy with who we are. The people in our lives that matter the most know the truth about us.

    Sorry, that just seemed to ramble and not even make a point!

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    1. Don't worry, Erin, I think your point came through very clearly here. Thank you for adding it!

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  6. I do see what you mean about kids being conditioned at a very young age. I noticed one of my students who is 7 he used to wear a pink sweatshirt. As the year went on he started defensively saying he has a girlfriend in England (I'm teaching English in France) and that he doesn't like boys and hes only 7! He also has started wearing a leather jacket. I want to tell him to calm down and just be himself. I think someone else maybe his dad or the other teachers who work with him more or something are making him think about these things a little too hard. Heh...

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    1. Hello, Marisa! Thank you for adding your experiences here. I can't help but chuckle about the pink shirt / leather jacket story, even though I suppose it's actually a bit sad (though pink & leather are pretty cool together, I think). It's just so strange how something as simple as a pink shirt can be seen as a statement of sexuality, even among those who probably don't even understand what being gay really means. I realize that the visual medium is a powerful one (I mean, they do say a picture is worth a thousand words, right?) but ... seriously? A. Pink. Shirt.

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  7. In my country in Eastern Europe - it is normal for a woman to wear whatever she pleases (no matter if it is a direct man's clothing,shoes,accessories or women's analog that is almost the same),have masculine interests and express herself as she feels appropriate as for males there is the "masculine" frame and gay associations.That is reality,folks!

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  8. Well, the thing about reality is that it's malleable. I remember back when men having their ears pierced was a big deal, and made the news. Now, they are talking about men wearing skirts or tights on the news. The only way that we can change the social perceptions of what is and isn't okay for the genders (which is a totally bunk concept in itself, anyways) is to actually get it out there in the public view, and that's exactly what I'm doing here. My thought is that, hopefully, people who may have thought men wearing skirts, tights, or heels are just weirdos looking for attention, will see my blog here and realize that often times we're just normal people who happen to do things currently thought of as abnormal.

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  9. This post reminded me of a pic I saw on a friends facebook recently. She's a uni student like me, and has a gorgeous 4 year old boy, Oliver. Ollie recently decided he really liked the clothes which used to belong to a friends daughter who has outgrown them. His current favourite outfit? Lace trimmed 3/4 black tights with a gorgeous grey gathered sleeve tee. My friend thinks it is brilliant he likes girls clothes, as heaps of her friends have older female children growing out of clothes, and if Ollie wants to wear them, it is less 'boy clothes' she has to buy! I remember for christmas a few years ago, one of my cousins (at the time she was about 3), asked my why I was wearing a 'boys color' - my dress for the day was blue. I pointed out my partner was wearing a pink shirt (he's a man), and she rather quickly replied 'Yes, but pink is a cool color, so that's okay!' XD I had to laugh, I think she was more concerned that blue wasn't cool, less that it was a boys color.
    Young kids are oddly sometimes the least xenophobic of people - some of them anyway. A wee friend of mine (7) has two mums, and he turned to me and said "Heather, you have a mummy and a daddy, don't you?" I said yes, and he continues "And I have Mummy and LuLu, and Chris and Brie as well," (that's his biological father and his wife) "and I have a friend with two dads. Why is that?" I said that there are lots of different types of people in the world, and he looked at me very seriously and said "Its good that people are different." Figure a non-sad/depressing story was in order!

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    1. Ha, this is great! Thank you for sharing it, MissCarrion!

      The majority of reactions, comments, and questions I get when out in public are from children. They are so inquisitive, and seem to lack any sort of filter that grown up people may have. Honestly, I find that curiosity refreshing, and wish that it was a trait more people kept as they age. I only hope that I'm able to make some sort of positive impression, and show the young ones that it's okay, and indeed even cool, to be yourself!

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  10. Howdy, Michael. A friend told me about your blog and I rushed right over. What a treat! Most of the crossdressers I meet online make it clear that they consider themselves, either full time or part time, a woman -- complete with the "femme" name, pronoun substitution, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with that (I should have a hotkey to spell that out automatically) but it just ain't my cup of taffeta.

    Normally when I encounter a new blog I don't respond to the older articles, but something in this thread (ha, no pun intended) caught my attention. Oh yes, the feminists.

    I ran across a theory a couple of years ago that really explains a lot. For all our advances in gender equality over the centuries, underneath that thin veneer of politeness lurks the old, old attitude that femininity is a weakness. Even the hardline feminists subtly imply this when they deride women who actually WANT to look pretty and stay home taking care of the babies -- you're setting us back centuries when you do that! You're a disgrace to your sex!

    For that reason, we (society as a whole; obviously present company excepted) view women who enter a historically masculine area -- wearing pants, pro football, construction, etc. -- as getting a promotion to a better social station, whereas men who express any interest at all in any aspect of femininity -- can you believe he wants to be a nurse or a flight attendant? he must be gay! and don't even think about wearing a skirt -- are degrading themselves to a weaker position. THAT is why it's OK for a woman to wear pants but not for a man to wear a skirt. And of course we can thank Hollywood for continuing to pound this point home day after day.

    Does that make sense? It's enough to make me want to scream (but a manly scream, more of a growl really).

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    1. Hey, Ralph. Thanks for taking the time to respond here.

      Yep, I completely agree. I've talked about this very thing in one of my past essays. It's why I think women should really get on board with men's fashion freedom, because in the end it can really only benefit them. A large part of what I'm doing here on the blog is working to break down the stereotype that femininity is weaker than masculinity. I'd like to think that once people realize that, then perhaps a man in a skirt won't really be such a big deal.

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  11. If people were as informed about geography as they are on the matter of gender and clothing, people on the East coast wouldn't know about the Pacific Ocean, and Californians wouldn't know the Atlantic Ocean exists. The sexes are supposed to be segregated as to appearance by the following ONLY---facial hair on men and none on women; breast development on women and none on men; bras on women and none on men; and out of sight, athletic supporters on men and tampons in women. Those things alone, plus differences of voice and hips. Skirts vs pants, fancy vs plain clothing---as actual sex differences? That is perhaps the topmost myth of modern times. Reading the start page at the site linked should leave attire inhibited men reeling, and members of the female fashion monopoly convulsing.

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    1. Ha, thanks for chiming in here, Charles.

      There are definite biological differences between men and women, but largely that shouldn't have anything to do with clothing in my opinion. Tailoring is a factor, as are garments made for certain anatomical bits, but the notion that skirts, or dress, or tights, or high heels are somehow gender specific is certainly strange to me. For that matter, so is the whole pink for girls and blue for boys thing, which I was fascinated to learn was also only a relatively recent development. Prior to World War II, pink was apparently the "stronger" color meant for boys, while blue was seen as more passive, and thus for girls.

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  12. Some of you may already know this, that, most cross-dressers are not gay, but, are in fact heterosexual males.

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    1. Hey, Nudenz.

      Yep, that does seem to be the case. What I've always tried to promote here on the blog is that people are unique, and clothing choices often have very little to do with sexual orientation. I do think it's interesting that most who consider themselves crossdressers also are heterosexual, but I wonder if that's not just because gay crossdressers just decided to call it drag? In any case, I'm planning to write an essay here soon talking about the differences between sex and gender, which should be interesting.

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  13. Hi Michael,

    I came here from your youtube page, I've been finding your blog pages very interesting. Truth is I am a male who also likes skirts and dresses and stuff mostly because theyre just easy to throw on and comfy and all that stuff that i bet 100% of "haters" never even think about. Unfortunately i dont have a basis of support, i live in a small town where im stiffled for freedom, if expressed myself i'd lose all social contacts and employment options on the spot. So my freedom has to be expressed in my own home or if i go for a drive at night. Ever been to the beach at night where theres a nice breeze wearing a long flowing skirt? love it.

    I think it sucks how these predefined "boundaries" have been erected by society. boundaries that havent always existed, that completely throw away and reject history. It makes you think if people arent just hunting for someone to bash on, theres always some group looking for another to attack and belittle, to run down for whatever reasons - usually completely stupid and incorrect reasons. I am not gay, far from it but because of peoples self-enforced misconceptions i have to limit my freedoms or suffer social attack and employment ruin. One day hopefully people of the world will come to grasps that a skirt isnt gay, a man in a skirt isnt gay and that a person being an individual is actually awesome and respectable

    Keep rocking the outfits!

    Jono

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  14. That totally ignorant comment at the top of the page from Jamiegottagun boggles the mind. How can a person be so absolutely uninformed? He's queer, no doubt, and just can't fathom ordinary men wanting some fashion freedom.

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  15. For those interested visit www.skirtcafe.org. You are most certainly not alone.

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  16. I am ashamed to admit that, not that long ago, I was disturbed by images of men in dresses. I was a product of my raising. I met a man who asked me to think and I began to question everything I knew about gender and sexuality. I married that man, even though he asked me to paint his nails sugarplum pink and wore a bright red skirt to a high school assembly. I'm proud to be his wife and I've learned to respect everyone for who they are and how they choose to be. I saw you in a dress tonight Michael, and I couldn't stop crying. The concept and delivery of this whole blog is beautiful. I love your mind and I appreciate your intelligence and bravery. It's people like you who will change the world.

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    1. Thanks for adding this, Bell G. I'm really glad you enjoy the blog, and I'm happy it could reach out to you. Kudos to you for supporting your husband! Speaking as a man with a very supportive wife, I know how valuable that can be. All the best to you!

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  17. Every time a guy says "well, girls can wear pants" a girl says "well, thats because those pants are made for girls". Fine then. Where are the skirts and dresses made for men? Would it make a difference in the eyes of society if there actually were dresses and skirts made for men and we wore them?

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  18. "However, there is not a substantial link between sexuality and gender. The two things are just not related."

    I do not agree. Gender is a broad brush of physical sex and outward presentation. While it is technically correct that identity and sexual orientation are two distinct concepts, they are closely related and most definitely interplay with one another. Right or wrong, we draw conclusions from this balance of elements.

    For example, more often than not, people who "appear to be gay" are gay. Which is perfectly OK because it serves as a shared perception which helps us relate to one another. Of course, exceptions to the contrary always exist, but exceptions require constant explanation (sound familiar?) because difference from the herd violates the shared boundaries within. It's fine to say, "Don't assume anything" with labels and clothing, but we do anyway. We "can't not" do it. We are what we are, and we are also what others see.

    Today, if you are a man who wears dresses, you will be perceived as gay or at least bi. It is unavoidable due to the gravitational pull of the collective inertia of our culture at large. In time we may see dresses appear in the mainstream for men, but by then the style will no doubt be "re-codified" with new fabrics, new designs, and new ways of alluding to cues which are not so immediately attributable to femaleness.

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  19. Truly, I would love to see more men embracing fashion freedom. I love seeing men in dresses, and not in any sort of sexual manner (unless they happen to look particularly sexy, but that's the way it is with any gender). Men have truly wonderful bodies, and the right dress just sets them off so well, it's like art!

    To me, clothes are clothes, and anyone should be able to wear whatever clothes they wish.
    I think if I saw more men on the streets in dresses, I would be showering compliments on them, on how great they look, how well the dress suits them, all of it.

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  20. As a straight, cisgendered woman who loves clothes and gender transgression, I really appreciate this blog. I found it through Stiletto Siren, but funnily enough, I recognized you from some previous time that I googled "men in skirts" and got your Tumblr.

    Question for consideration: when a man wears clothes that are widely consider to be for women only, is some portion of the enjoyment he gets from the transgression itself, or from the fact that they are "women's clothes?" I don't suppose there is one answer for every man who does this, but I would suspect that "because I wanna" is an incomplete answer. Given the social cost, the "wanna" must be very strong. Do you feel that some of the attraction for you is the transgressive nature of it, or possibly the sense of allowing a feminine aspect of yourself to be seen?

    Please keep up the good work and I'll keep returning to see your OOTDs and, actually, to follow your story! Thanks for what you do.

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    1. Hey, Lookfar. Thanks for taking the time to comment here.

      Regarding your question, I first want to agree wholeheartedly and clearly confirm that there is not one firm answer for any man who wears clothing traditionally marketed to women. Everyone is different and things are done for a multitude of reasons, so it's important to try not to generalize or stereotype as much as possible.

      I suppose that "because I wanna" is in fact an incomplete answer, but at the same time it's also really the only answer that I feel is necessary for me. What I am doing by stepping outside of the gender binary isn't causing any harm, so "because I wanna" feels like a complete enough answer, really. There's certainly a depth to the issue, though, as I've received some criticism before for wearing dresses but not "going all the way" over to a female presentation. I suppose the assumption would be that if I enjoy doing things traditionally regarded as feminine, then surely I must be (or want to be) feminine myself. A large portion of this blog, however, is dedicated to questioning the very essence of masculinity and femininity, and the validity of how we choose to divide actions and objects into those categories. I'm digressing a bit here, but to sum up what I'm working towards: I believe that many of the views created by the gender binary are arbitrary and meaningless.

      Digression aside, here's my answer to your question. I'm not sure how much appeal there is for me in the actual act of gender expectation transgression. I've said many times here on the blog that my ideal situation would be to just be able to wear the things I do and have it not at all be out of the ordinary or strange. I'd just like to be another person in clothing, and have my style be viewed as nothing more than that. That opinion itself leads me to believe that I don't find much appeal in the rebellion of it all, although I do tend to gravitate towards the non-traditional or counter-culture in other areas of my life, so it's a bit complicated, really. I don't really think it has much to do with expressing a feminine aspect, given that I don't see much reason for the separation of things into masculine / feminine boxes to begin with. As I also don't find personal appeal in transitioning to the opposite sex, and I'm also not attracted to men, that largely rules out trans or sexuality reasons as well. What I seem to be left with, then, is "because I wanna", which feels complete enough for me.

      Surprisingly, I haven't incurred as much social cost or backlash as one might suspect. I'm very fortunate to have a wife who loves and supports me, which has been a continual source of strength. My friends and family have also been completely supportive and cool, as has my employer to date. The only times I've ever felt any sort of social pressure to conform or at least "dial it back" a bit, has been entirely self-inflicted. For example, in the past I have not attended any weddings we've been invited to in a dress, but have only gone so far outside "the norm" as a kilt and tights. This hasn't been because of any request or urging to do so by the bride and groom, but merely because I haven't wanted to be seen as disrespectful by (seemingly) trying to take attention away from the wedding party with my attire. It's been entirely in my own head, and the next wedding I attend will actually be in a pretty dress, dammit, haha. But anyhow, going back to my original point, I've not seen a lot of social shunning or shaming personally for dressing the way that I do.

      Thanks for the question and compliments. I appreciate it, and I'm glad you'll be returning to the blog. Keep in touch, and keep rockin'!

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  21. This is also all kinds of sexist bullshit. The person commenting starts from the false and misogynistic assumption that women wear nice clothing for the sole purpose of appealing to men and not just because they want to feel good about themselves! Because, of course, everything a woman does must be for the benefit and consumption of men, right? *eyeroll* It's that kind of egotistical male entitlement that negatively affects both women and men that don't subscribe to the strict social idea of what is 'masculine'. Down with that kind of thing, I say.

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