Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

 

Last week, as part of a cultural discovery project for one of my classes, I spent three days wearing ‘girls’ clothes while going about my day. I wanted to explo...re the general reaction and preconceptions that people in my city have to clothing, especially in regards to gender. To me, the idea that a piece of fabric or accessory can be so intertwined with who are in our conscious is perplexing. I didn’t want to show off, or offend anyone by my act of curiosity. Rather, I wanted to act as a meticulous observer of the times, to see if the community around me was really as open-minded as I wanted to believe that it was. After all, if such things really only had a place in the realm of high-fashion and in Scottish tradition, then something bigger must be at work.

On the first day, I wore a long-sleeve pink top cropped at the collarbone. I received many compliments, a few glares and even a free Venti gingerbread latte. On the second, I rocked a pink blouse with a high-waisted belt. Again, the same amount of well-wishes, questions and passing eye-rolls. These things were to be expected, as it isn’t necessarily the norm to see someone like me wearing things like these. I felt collected and confident in these modest outfits, seemingly convinced that the world around me could care less about the clothes someone wore. Most affirming was the response to my nails, which were almost always met with a cheerful grin, a high-five and a few words of encouragement.

What happened on the third day changed my perspective on humanity forever. I dressed myself as I normally would; band t-shirt, cardigan, plain Vans, etc. However, instead of black jeans, I complimented the outfit with a plain black skirt and matching set of tights. For me, this was a huge step in self-image. Years ago, I was barely confident enough to leave the house for school. These days, the opposite couldn’t be more true. As I set off about my day, the absolute worst in people came out in a full-force flurry of expletives and discomfort. I was ridiculed in whispers. I was mocked in glances. I was obnoxiously and filthily cat-called by a construction crew who, from behind, couldn’t tell that I was a man. Stopping by a bathroom before a lecture, a frat-bro went out of his way to shove me into the adjacent wall after eyeing me up and down on his way out. Expletives and names that might induce me to vomit were I to repeat them, were casually thrown in my direction with almost zero passing thought. By day’s end, I feared a full-on breakdown, unable to stand up for myself or what I believed in to maintain the integrity of the observer’s perspective. In a way, I had no right to feel that way, mostly because of the realization that this is the way that many have to live their lives. I fought back tears as every stare and ill-formed word engrained themselves in my sub-conscious.

Though I may not know you, I think that it’s important that we all come to understand why these things happen. In my book, cat-calling, shaming and harassment are among the worst actions we can engage in. As a heterosexual male, I will never truly know the fear that women may experience while walking home from work, going see a friend for lunch, or being sized-up in public based on their clothing. I will never truly know the gut-rot that a transgender individual may feel while being eyed up and down at the store or in class, strangers seeming to think as if the clothing they see before them begs a legal invitation of ridicule. I will never truly know the plights of these people, but as an ally and a human being invested in true equality, it is now my obligation to stand up for them as if I did.

What scares me the most is not the glances, mixed emotions, or 10-page paper that will inevitably come as a by-product of this project. No, what scares me is that this is the world we live in. We exist in a place where individuals living their truths can be subjected, directly or otherwise, to fear simply for living those truths. We live in an age where feeling ‘normal’ in your own clothing can create unfathomable contention with strangers, despite them having zero investment in their lives. We live in a world where the material, the fabric, the pieces that adorn you are somehow allowed to say more about who you are than the convictions in your heart and the sincerity in your deeds.

I don’t know about you, but I refuse that world. I refuse to let these things overcome the passion and genuine honesty that I’ve been so fortunate to bear witness to in my time. I refuse to let backwards, unprogressive mindsets stifle the glow and drive of those who are undeservingly robbed of it. Don’t say it can’t happen to you. If it happened to me, under the most average of circumstances on the streets in a progressive-leaning city, it could happen to anyone, and that is something I truly do not understand.

After all, it’s just a skirt.

What is it about a piece of inanimate, plain fabric that scares you so much?

-Tommy
by on Mar. 6, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Replies (21-30):
kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 2:46 AM

Lol What idiots.

JCB911
by Bronze Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 8:38 AM
1 mom liked this

I don't understand the violence towards this man.  But I understand the looks and maybe the whispers.  What he did would NOT be the norm in my area - and yeah, I gotta say if I caught a glance of him I'd probably pick my head up and look to.  And I'm sure if I were with someone else, as soon as we was out of ear-shot one of us would say "uh,  was that guy wearing a skirt?"  That's probably be the end of it.  It's not the norm, it's gonna turn heads and evoke whispers - beyond that would be extreme.

When I was in college I worked at a grcery store.  And there was a transgender man who'd shop there - in very feminine clothing.  When I first saw him it was hard to not look, "was he a manly looking woman, or a man in women's clothes?"  I tried not to look in an obvious manner of course, but still.  He'd come in for a few weeks and then be gone for awhile.  Over one of the times he was gone he really transformed!  In the meantime we had gotten a new manager. (male).  So this really hot looking woman walked in (all of us knew this person was the trandgender from a few months ago), and our manager couldn't help but stare - heck the rest of us too.  She was really attractive!  If we hadn't already known him  we'd have thought he was just a really pretty woman (as our manager did).   The manager did have some choice words when after the man was way out of ear shot the manager was told of his identity.

I think in that case he probably felt his "masculinity" questioned - that he would comment on the attractivness of someone who is(was) a man. 

BUT -

  If the author of this passage says a skirt is just fabric - why should we care - woudln't the same be true of trangender who wear them?  I'm a woman, I feel like a woman - but I rarley if ever wear a skirt, I never have on makeup, I don't do my nails, but I'm still a woman and still feel like one  - I don't need outward things to feel like a woman.  So if a transgender feels like a woman but does not want to feel threatened wouldn't it just make sense to do what the majority of women do - dress in normal clothes, not wear makeup.  It's not the clothes/makeup that make us a woman - so why invite trouble.

Yes I get that they should be able to dress as they choose - but the reality is that it's inviting trouble and really it's just fabric.  What is it about a piece of inanimate plain fabric that makes someone feel like one gender or not.


Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Mar. 7, 2013 at 9:00 AM
2 moms liked this

well, I can see the bully is in full force. o.O

anyway, it is pretty pathetic that a woman can wear all men's clothing and rarely get a look (I often put on my husband's bullhead jeans and one of his tank tops to go shopping or do my basic running around) but, Loki forbid a man wear a skirt. (Which, Loki would possibly approve of lol) 

What he described actually does not surprise me. It has to do with the vocal majority screaming that even the slightest deviation from what they consider the norm (there is really no such thing as normal) is bad and EVIL



Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Mar. 7, 2013 at 9:12 AM

and I have just realized that my avi is perfect for this article.

Queen lost a great deal of their american fanbase because of the video for I want to Break Free... simply because they all appeared in drag (which, even to goof around, I guess, is bad) 

SuperChicken
by on Mar. 7, 2013 at 9:15 AM

That's what I'm thinking.  I wonder what town/city he lives in.   There are some areas of the U.S. that I wouldn't even think of trying this stunt, but around here?   He might get comments on his lack of style, but that's about it.   Location, location, location.

Quoting stacymomof2:

I'm surprised he ran into so much trouble.  In my city I see guys in full make-up working the high end make-up counters at Macy's.  The male bank teller has a full set of nails and over-groomed eyebrows.  Guys in drag are a dime a dozen.  Even at the community center pool there is a guy who works the counter in full make up.

An understated black skirt and tights?  That's nothing.  lol


 

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 9:23 AM
1 mom liked this
I love love Freddie Mercury :)


Quoting Sekirei:

and I have just realized that my avi is perfect for this article.

Queen lost a great deal of their american fanbase because of the video for I want to Break Free... simply because they all appeared in drag (which, even to goof around, I guess, is bad) 


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
smalltowngal
by Platinum Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Quoting JCB911:

I don't understand the violence towards this man.  But I understand the looks and maybe the whispers.  What he did would NOT be the norm in my area - and yeah, I gotta say if I caught a glance of him I'd probably pick my head up and look to.  And I'm sure if I were with someone else, as soon as we was out of ear-shot one of us would say "uh,  was that guy wearing a skirt?"  That's probably be the end of it.  It's not the norm, it's gonna turn heads and evoke whispers - beyond that would be extreme.

When I was in college I worked at a grcery store.  And there was a transgender man who'd shop there - in very feminine clothing.  When I first saw him it was hard to not look, "was he a manly looking woman, or a man in women's clothes?"  I tried not to look in an obvious manner of course, but still.  He'd come in for a few weeks and then be gone for awhile.  Over one of the times he was gone he really transformed!  In the meantime we had gotten a new manager. (male).  So this really hot looking woman walked in (all of us knew this person was the trandgender from a few months ago), and our manager couldn't help but stare - heck the rest of us too.  She was really attractive!  If we hadn't already known him  we'd have thought he was just a really pretty woman (as our manager did).   The manager did have some choice words when after the man was way out of ear shot the manager was told of his identity.

I think in that case he probably felt his "masculinity" questioned - that he would comment on the attractivness of someone who is(was) a man. 

BUT -

  If the author of this passage says a skirt is just fabric - why should we care - woudln't the same be true of trangender who wear them?  I'm a woman, I feel like a woman - but I rarley if ever wear a skirt, I never have on makeup, I don't do my nails, but I'm still a woman and still feel like one  - I don't need outward things to feel like a woman.  So if a transgender feels like a woman but does not want to feel threatened wouldn't it just make sense to do what the majority of women do - dress in normal clothes, not wear makeup.  It's not the clothes/makeup that make us a woman - so why invite trouble.

Yes I get that they should be able to dress as they choose - but the reality is that it's inviting trouble and really it's just fabric.  What is it about a piece of inanimate plain fabric that makes someone feel like one gender or not.



I am guessing when they wear women's clothing, it's similar to when I wear a great pair of heels and a nice dress. I do feel dramatically different. I feel more confident. I feel prettier. I mainly wear heels on Sunday but they definitely make me feel more feminine. Maybe that's because I'm not the most feminine person in rl.
Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 9:25 AM
3 moms liked this

 I'm not so sure it is that simple.

He came off much more "girl-like" wearing the pink blouses and having his nails polished. The first day, he was nervous and not sure how he would be perceived. He found overall, aside from some looks, all went well. He even got a free latte! He got a reward for his painted nails and pink blouse. The second day seemed to go pretty much as the first. Pretty well over all.

Then on day 3 he ups the anty and wears a skirt. But really, aside from the skirt, the outfit was rather un-femminne. It was black and tailored.

My guess: the diference is not the skirt. The differnece was how he carried himself. He was more confident. He was more daring. Not by the cloth but by the fact t hat the previous 2 days went well.

People will tolerate a transgender man or woman but they don;t want it in their face. They don;t want them confident and self-assured. Others will accept difference but you take away the shame/guilt-others will push you down and make sure you remember "your place."

Quoting LucyMom08:

 I'm guessing it's because the skirt is what truly crossed the 'gender barrier'...

Quoting Mrs.Kubalabuku:

Very interesting.  It is odd how he was so well received up until he put the skirt on.  Really?  Girls can wear pants!  But not the other way around...oh no!

 

 

Ms.KitKat
by Platinum Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 9:28 AM

 

Quoting smalltowngal:


Quoting JCB911:

I don't understand the violence towards this man.  But I understand the looks and maybe the whispers.  What he did would NOT be the norm in my area - and yeah, I gotta say if I caught a glance of him I'd probably pick my head up and look to.  And I'm sure if I were with someone else, as soon as we was out of ear-shot one of us would say "uh,  was that guy wearing a skirt?"  That's probably be the end of it.  It's not the norm, it's gonna turn heads and evoke whispers - beyond that would be extreme.

When I was in college I worked at a grcery store.  And there was a transgender man who'd shop there - in very feminine clothing.  When I first saw him it was hard to not look, "was he a manly looking woman, or a man in women's clothes?"  I tried not to look in an obvious manner of course, but still.  He'd come in for a few weeks and then be gone for awhile.  Over one of the times he was gone he really transformed!  In the meantime we had gotten a new manager. (male).  So this really hot looking woman walked in (all of us knew this person was the trandgender from a few months ago), and our manager couldn't help but stare - heck the rest of us too.  She was really attractive!  If we hadn't already known him  we'd have thought he was just a really pretty woman (as our manager did).   The manager did have some choice words when after the man was way out of ear shot the manager was told of his identity.

I think in that case he probably felt his "masculinity" questioned - that he would comment on the attractivness of someone who is(was) a man. 

BUT -

  If the author of this passage says a skirt is just fabric - why should we care - woudln't the same be true of trangender who wear them?  I'm a woman, I feel like a woman - but I rarley if ever wear a skirt, I never have on makeup, I don't do my nails, but I'm still a woman and still feel like one  - I don't need outward things to feel like a woman.  So if a transgender feels like a woman but does not want to feel threatened wouldn't it just make sense to do what the majority of women do - dress in normal clothes, not wear makeup.  It's not the clothes/makeup that make us a woman - so why invite trouble.

Yes I get that they should be able to dress as they choose - but the reality is that it's inviting trouble and really it's just fabric.  What is it about a piece of inanimate plain fabric that makes someone feel like one gender or not.



I am guessing when they wear women's clothing, it's similar to when I wear a great pair of heels and a nice dress. I do feel dramatically different. I feel more confident. I feel prettier. I mainly wear heels on Sunday but they definitely make me feel more feminine. Maybe that's because I'm not the most feminine person in rl.

 BINGO- it is THAT that pisses other people off.

jhslove
by Bronze Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Where did this happen? I live in a fairly liberal area (the Boston area) and I don't think you would get that kind of reaction around here. A few weeks ago I was in Sephora, and the checkout person was clearly cross-dressing--biologically male, but wearing girls' clothes, full makeup, etc. No one even batted an eyelash, that I noticed.

However, I could see the reaction being much different depending on where you live.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN