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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 (61-70):
la_bella_vita
by Bella on Mar. 7, 2013 at 2:57 PM
1 mom liked this

 Interesting! A good read.

parentalrights1
by on Mar. 7, 2013 at 3:08 PM
Are you gonna sit there and pretend to be the good rational one now?

People shouldn't have to conform to fit in. I don't care about what you think the real world is. If the real world is shorty then it needs to change because it can. It's people like you that want to keep it shitty. You lack empathy and understanding


Quoting TranquilMind:

 On second thought, never mind. 



As I give a FUCK what you think of my siggy. It is a show of survival of bull shit like you and other CM crazies like to dish out! judgmental people are the cause of most tragedies. That is SICK!


Quoting TranquilMind:


 It's "sick" that most people are pretty much left alone by others?  Because they are out there in the real world.


Now if you want to talk "sick", that avatar thing of the beaten, bloody woman you have posted here is actually pretty sick and disgusting. 


 


 


Quoting glitterteaz:


sick


Quoting TranquilMind:


 


And that's pretty much the way it really is, in the real world. 


Quoting glitterteaz:


What business is it of ours to judge anyone so long as they are not hurting someone weaker than themselves?


 


 




 


 




 


 


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parentalrights1
by on Mar. 7, 2013 at 3:12 PM
I think it insults men and women. Men catch shit for engaging in anything remotely feminine because people still have the mentality that masculinity and men are superior in some way. Which is why everything associated with femininity is mocked. Using "pussy" as an insult. All the disgusting words for a vagina. Mocking of a woman's menstrual cycle. That's why women can wear men's clothes. People see masculinity as better and femininity is just for girls


Quoting Sekirei:

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



Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
autodidact
by Platinum Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 3:14 PM


how is this hyperbole? 


Quoting TranquilMind:

 You missed the point...again.

Yeah, that poor guy is just not terrifying.  Sorry. 

And I'd like to read the news story on this supposed attack to see why the Cops really didn't charge the guy if he could be identified and there was sufficient evidence.  Not buying it.  I've worked in the legal system.

But no....we don't get facts.  Just hyperbole, like this meme. 


Quoting purpleducky:

Or people need to be more tolerant.

Quoting TranquilMind:

 Sounds like you need to move to some part of the rest of the country where anything goes. 

Transphobia.  Yeah.  A guy in drag is terribly "frightening".  Why most people run for their lives every time they see one (sarcasm). 

What the gay community needs to understand is that as long as they use the intentionally misrepresentative and divisive   word "phobia" - their audience they are trying to convince simply disregards them.  There is no such thing as "homophobia."  any more than there is "heterophobia" or "momphobia" or "chocolate cake phobia (wish I had that one).   They just aren't scary....sorry. 

Now a "phobia" of horror movies, or spiders, or scorpions, or something that terrifies people....yeah. 


Quoting purpleducky:

I live in a very Republican/conservative county in PA. My wife works in one of the most Republican/conservative areas of MD. Where we live, when we first came out, she got a TON of looks and there were a LOT of nasty comments. They have decreased over the past year but there are still some. Oddly enough where she works she gets nothing but help and compliments.

As for no one caring, yes people care. That is why there is transphobia and people die. And yes it is a hate crime now (I am pretty sure) to hurt someone due to gender identity expression.

http://www.ncavp.org/common/document_files/Reports/2008%20HV%20Report%20smaller%20file.pdf

http://www.nuvo.net/indianapolis/snapshot-transgender-hate-crimes/Content?oid=2487541#.UTjhWqWsjww

http://www.glaad.org/2008/11/20/speaking-out

http://www.glaad.org/blog/violence-against-transgender-people-and-people-color-disproportionately-high-lgbtqh-murder-rate

However you will probably call all my sources biased since only those who are interested in the trangender population try to track this type of information, and those parties are so small in number. It is hard to get hard numbers; I will admit it. But transphobia is a problem.

Quoting TranquilMind:

 I don't know where YOU live, but where I live, hardly an eyebrow will be raised, just as that other poster said, when she mentioned that guys in drag are working the makeup counter.  Gee, I only did a slight double-take myself when I found the mechanic - like, seriously, the LAST person in the last profession I expected to see in drag -  in the auto-repair place in drag, from the neck up, anyway, and moved on with my business without a moment's pause.

This is the world we all have to live in today.  No one is that interested in why Johnny is wearing a skirt or why that girl over there is dressed in men's clothes.  Really.

Your source is ridiculously biased and deletes all relevant statistics.  Saying "50% of the people WE ASKED (as a transgender promotion group) said blah blah" isn't important.  What was the population overall, and how many were polled, and what is the surrounding population and, and, and,..

What is a "significant problem" with hate crimes?  How is "hate crime" even defined?  Is it a punch, or just an eye roll or a look back in confusion?  Who knows....nothing is defined here.

It's like reading something from Phillip Morris on why smoking is not really a problem today.

Bad source.


Quoting purpleducky:

Wow. I cannot tell you how wrong you are.

http://antiviolenceproject.org/info/transphobic-violence-statistics

Quoting TranquilMind:

 Well, I disagree with that.  I think most people are far too self-involved to give a darn about what other people are doing and wearing, especially out in the world.  I think a guy in a skirt could walk by 75% of the people out there and go unnoticed entirely.  Most people can't even look up from their cell phones long enough to drive somewhere or even pay attention to their child who is climbing out of his carseat or grocery cart.  I see it every day.

I think incidents of violence and nasty remarks are relatively rare, which is why they are newsworthy.

Even this guy here admits getting high fives and free coffee for wearing women's clothes and looking ridiculous - up to the point where he wears a skirt (he says).  














NewMom11222011
by Bronze Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Might fly in Boston "proper" but I'm thinking they'd be beaten up in Dorchester, Roxbury, or some adjoining areas of Boston.

Quoting jhslove:

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.


Mama2Spencerninja

polyhymia
by Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 3:16 PM


oh I know, I suppose I should have have explained my statement better. What I meant was if an openly gay male dressed in a way that was not socially acceptable , or any male who is not known in the area (no matter the orientation) they would be greeted with hostility. It would just be worse for someone who happened to be a homosexual as well. 

Quoting autodidact:


transvestitism and homosexuality are two different things.

Quoting polyhymia:


The area I live in, you would never see stuff like that. The people here are very "small-town" I suppose. In high school we had the goth group who wore some make-up (mostly black nail polish but a few extremists wore white face paint) and they got so much trouble for it. A gay male would have even more trouble if he did not dress in a socially acceptable way. My family went to D.C. last year and a man was walking down the road in a purple skirt, and my MIL just stopped and starred for a minute. She had never seen anything like that before. It is interesting how different areas are with this sort of thing. Based on my area, the article doesn't surprise me at all. I have seen one man who would dress in drag on occasion, and he got similar treatment and he eventually moved.

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







Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Mar. 7, 2013 at 3:22 PM

I agree with you. I never thought about it that way either.. (which may be the fact that it just never crossed my mind or that I am still sick)

Quoting parentalrights1:

I think it insults men and women. Men catch shit for engaging in anything remotely feminine because people still have the mentality that masculinity and men are superior in some way. Which is why everything associated with femininity is mocked. Using "pussy" as an insult. All the disgusting words for a vagina. Mocking of a woman's menstrual cycle. That's why women can wear men's clothes. People see masculinity as better and femininity is just for girls


Quoting Sekirei:

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




Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 3:33 PM
Quoting TranquilMind:

What the gay community needs to understand is that as long as they use the intentionally misrepresentative and divisive   word "phobia" - their audience they are trying to convince simply disregards them.  There is no such thing as "homophobia."

They just aren't scary....sorry. 

Now a "phobia" of horror movies, or spiders, or scorpions, or something that terrifies people....yeah. 

Despite the literal meaning of the root word, a "phobia" can also refer to a disgust reaction:


Maggots are not scary, in the sense that people are afraid they will be physically attacked by them.

But people are repulsed by the sight of them, and may react violently towards them because of the emotions they engender.

NewMom11222011
by Bronze Member on Mar. 7, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Does quibbling about the suffix on the word make it ok that this person was beaten?  I grew up in rural TX where my family was in law enforcement and would have given the beater a medal for messing up the "f____t", so don't tell us all that there are no discriminatory "peace" officers.  Many of us know better from personal experience. I'm not buying that.

Quoting TranquilMind:

 You missed the point...again.

Yeah, that poor guy is just not terrifying.  Sorry. 

And I'd like to read the news story on this supposed attack to see why the Cops really didn't charge the guy if he could be identified and there was sufficient evidence.  Not buying it.  I've worked in the legal system.

But no....we don't get facts.  Just hyperbole, like this meme. 


Quoting purpleducky:

Or people need to be more tolerant.

Quoting TranquilMind:

 Sounds like you need to move to some part of the rest of the country where anything goes. 

Transphobia.  Yeah.  A guy in drag is terribly "frightening".  Why most people run for their lives every time they see one (sarcasm). 

What the gay community needs to understand is that as long as they use the intentionally misrepresentative and divisive   word "phobia" - their audience they are trying to convince simply disregards them.  There is no such thing as "homophobia."  any more than there is "heterophobia" or "momphobia" or "chocolate cake phobia (wish I had that one).   They just aren't scary....sorry. 

Now a "phobia" of horror movies, or spiders, or scorpions, or something that terrifies people....yeah. 


Quoting purpleducky:

I live in a very Republican/conservative county in PA. My wife works in one of the most Republican/conservative areas of MD. Where we live, when we first came out, she got a TON of looks and there were a LOT of nasty comments. They have decreased over the past year but there are still some. Oddly enough where she works she gets nothing but help and compliments.

As for no one caring, yes people care. That is why there is transphobia and people die. And yes it is a hate crime now (I am pretty sure) to hurt someone due to gender identity expression.

http://www.ncavp.org/common/document_files/Reports/2008%20HV%20Report%20smaller%20file.pdf

http://www.nuvo.net/indianapolis/snapshot-transgender-hate-crimes/Content?oid=2487541#.UTjhWqWsjww

http://www.glaad.org/2008/11/20/speaking-out

http://www.glaad.org/blog/violence-against-transgender-people-and-people-color-disproportionately-high-lgbtqh-murder-rate

However you will probably call all my sources biased since only those who are interested in the trangender population try to track this type of information, and those parties are so small in number. It is hard to get hard numbers; I will admit it. But transphobia is a problem.

Quoting TranquilMind:

 I don't know where YOU live, but where I live, hardly an eyebrow will be raised, just as that other poster said, when she mentioned that guys in drag are working the makeup counter.  Gee, I only did a slight double-take myself when I found the mechanic - like, seriously, the LAST person in the last profession I expected to see in drag -  in the auto-repair place in drag, from the neck up, anyway, and moved on with my business without a moment's pause.

This is the world we all have to live in today.  No one is that interested in why Johnny is wearing a skirt or why that girl over there is dressed in men's clothes.  Really.

Your source is ridiculously biased and deletes all relevant statistics.  Saying "50% of the people WE ASKED (as a transgender promotion group) said blah blah" isn't important.  What was the population overall, and how many were polled, and what is the surrounding population and, and, and,..

What is a "significant problem" with hate crimes?  How is "hate crime" even defined?  Is it a punch, or just an eye roll or a look back in confusion?  Who knows....nothing is defined here.

It's like reading something from Phillip Morris on why smoking is not really a problem today.

Bad source.


Quoting purpleducky:

Wow. I cannot tell you how wrong you are.

http://antiviolenceproject.org/info/transphobic-violence-statistics

Quoting TranquilMind:

 Well, I disagree with that.  I think most people are far too self-involved to give a darn about what other people are doing and wearing, especially out in the world.  I think a guy in a skirt could walk by 75% of the people out there and go unnoticed entirely.  Most people can't even look up from their cell phones long enough to drive somewhere or even pay attention to their child who is climbing out of his carseat or grocery cart.  I see it every day.

I think incidents of violence and nasty remarks are relatively rare, which is why they are newsworthy.

Even this guy here admits getting high fives and free coffee for wearing women's clothes and looking ridiculous - up to the point where he wears a skirt (he says).  










Mama2Spencerninja

parentalrights1
by on Mar. 7, 2013 at 3:51 PM
I just ponder random shit too much it seems lol


Quoting Sekirei:

I agree with you. I never thought about it that way either.. (which may be the fact that it just never crossed my mind or that I am still sick)

Quoting parentalrights1:

I think it insults men and women. Men catch shit for engaging in anything remotely feminine because people still have the mentality that masculinity and men are superior in some way. Which is why everything associated with femininity is mocked. Using "pussy" as an insult. All the disgusting words for a vagina. Mocking of a woman's menstrual cycle. That's why women can wear men's clothes. People see masculinity as better and femininity is just for girls





Quoting Sekirei:

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






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