Noun: A man who dresses like a woman.
A nice case study of how feminism has given women freedom, and men have been left behind.
Women’s clothing is typically skirts, dresses, heels etc.
Men’s clothing is typically shirts, trousers, trainers etc.
Women can wear either. If you see a woman in a petticoat and bustle you’d simply call her a woman, just as much as you’d call her a woman if you saw her in a t-shirt and jeans. But if we see a man wearing his cocktail dress and stilettos, we have to bombard him with labels. Suddenly he’s a drag queen. We point and stare.
To illustrate this point, I’m going to start asking my female friends if they are professional drag kings (or just do it for a hobby), and whether or not they’re going to follow it up with an operation.
We see plenty about how double standards benefit men, so I thought I’d once again outline the glaring need for masculism.
THIS! But of course, the right to wear the kind of clothing you want is only important if you’re a woman, because somehow women’s clothing is oppressive in a way that men’s clothing isn’t. (The undeniable pure masculinity of kilts clearly makes no difference.) The worst part is that if there were no gendered associations I expect you’d see an awful lot of men wearing relatively kilt-like contraptions for no other reason than that they’re damn comfortable. Utilikilts makes a very good case, and the only reason I don’t own several of them myself is because they’re quite expensive. (You’ve also gotta give props to a company that bases their marketing for a product on the fact that it can comfortably hold twenty bottles of beer in the pockets.)
I think that the people who say things like this aren’t relevant are being really very silly. The argument goes “men don’t want to wear “women’s” clothing because it’s seen as “feminine.”“ Of course, women wearing “men’s” clothing doesn’t make us see them as masculine. It’s internalized cultural bias, and is so deep as to permeate and become invisible. I think the only garment that the average man would genuinely never have any interest in is bras, and that’s only because he hasn’t got anything to put in them. (Yes, yes, some men have breasts, not the point.)
An interesting note, my Firefox spellcheck acknowledges “women’s” as a word, but “men’s” is apparently not. Unlike most SJ people I don’t immediately jump to conclusions that it’s somehow a plot to oppress people, but it’s still interesting. (Other words it doesn’t recognize include “misandry,” and “spellcheck.” *facepalm*)
More proof of the gynocentric conspiracy!
Spellchecks aside, you’re right on the typical response to something like this.
Problem: Women aren’t allowed to be masculine.
Reason: It’s because men are oppressing women and restricting them from exploring their real identity. Poor women.
Problem: Men aren’t allowed to be feminine.
Reason: It’s because men see being a woman as the worst thing ever and are therefore too disgusted to associate themselves with femininity. Poor women.
The feminist failure to see parallels never stops to astound me. It’s either one, or the other. You can’t pick one explanation for women and another for men, when there is no reason to - unless you are already biased, which you are.
- Assume women are the only oppressed ones
- Discount evidence that men are oppressed, because only women are oppressed
- Conclude that only women are oppressed, because there is no evidence to the contrary
So no marks for spotting parallels, but they more than make up for it with their ability to draw a perfect circle.
How about this: the patriarchy, which has set gender roles for both men and women, therefore restricting both men and women, doesn’t like women being masculine or men being feminine for the same reason, because they are both stepping outside of those roles. We both face high expectations within those roles, and both face punishment for entering the opposite role.
The difference in situations such as this? Feminism has saved the day for one statistical half of us. In a less enlightened age women may well have been called transvestites for wearing a suit, but thanks to feminism women are now free. Unfortunately, feminism didn’t notice the parallels even back then, and so men were left behind. Men wearing dresses will still be called names, and they will struggle to do well in life under the patriarchy (which oppresses them too).
This is not the fault of feminism, it is the fault of the sexism that existed before, and feminism has done well to clear half of this sexism. But half is not enough, and so we need masculism to sort out the rest. Feminism let women vote and work and lead, in what was previously the male role, but men are still prohibited from entering the female one. One of the issues is caring for children - anything from reproductive rights and child custody to equal opportunities getting a job as a babysitter (yes, I too have failed to get a job because of my gender, because all men are dangerous paedophiles). The female role is as wide and complex as the male role, and so women are privileged (and men disadvantaged) in as wide and complex a way.
On some issues we fight alongside feminists, because the restrictive stereotypes ultimately come in pairs, and on others we are forced to clear up where they left men behind. Such as this one. Unfortunately on occasion it seems that we are fighting against feminists, because an overwhelming number believe that men can’t be victims, and so will actively oppose any of our efforts to give support. They will use the above arguments to derail any discussions of male suffering by reframing it as an example of female suffering, and thus ensure that men stay left behind. I’m sure that they don’t intentionally try to suppress us, but the same stereotypes telling us that women are weak also tell them that only women can be victims, and as this stereotype supports a lot of feminist activism there has been little effort to fight it. So on this issue, pointing out that men can and do suffer under an oppressive patriarchy, we sometimes have to push against those who should be our allies - at least, until their awareness can be raised.
So on issues such as clothing, one gender has been liberated to explore both roles, whilst the other is still stuck fast. Using double standards to suggest that the liberated gender is still the only victim, furthering your own agenda at the expense of full equality, is either ignorant or disgusting. I’m hoping for the former, because ignorance is easily both cured and forgiven - if you have an open mind, that is.
Feminists tend to be good at understanding that it is impossible to understand the effects of suffering on other groups because you have privilege not to be part of that suffering, and so you therefore can’t disagree with them on that suffering or tell them that it doesn’t exist, and you should listen to them if they call you out on your being part of a system of oppression, and you shouldn’t invalidate their experiences, and you should try your best to understand their points without bias, and you should try to be the greatest ally you can be - so all we need to do is get them to apply this to themselves. If a man tells you that men are oppressed, in calling him a privilege-denying mansplainer and silencing him on the spot, you are breaking every rule you’ve ever made.
You have the potential, and the influence, to make this a great deal easier for us. Please don’t make it harder.
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