While women have made great strides in earning equal rights in life, there is still an underlying prejudice. Without delving too deeply into feminist theory, the reason I see for the aforementioned social disparity is that masculinity is still viewed as being more powerful than femininity. It is socially accepted, and even encouraged, for the weaker to mimic the strong. A business woman in a pantsuit is going places, she's confident and able. When a man puts on a skirt, however, he's opened up to all manner of name calling and assumptions about his sexual preference.
It's so strange to me how simple garments have come to represent such notions, but I see examples of it all the time. My wife and I have recently started watching the short-lived television series No Ordinary Family, and there is a perfect example of this in the show. The show centers around a family who gain super powers and how they deal with it. One of the characters, the mother in this family, is a leading scientist at a large research corporation. She seems to be pretty high up in the corporate hierarchy, enough so that she has an assistant. What I find striking in the show is that the lead scientist is always wearing pants at work, while the assistant is always in skirts and dresses. Now, you could say this is just coincidence, or maybe just characterization, but I see this sort of styling in shows all the time. I'm not even convinced that it's a conscious wardrobe decision, I just think it's one of those things that is deeply ingrained in the subconscious. The boss wears the pants, the secretary wears a skirt. I've even seen articles online suggesting that women may not want to wear pants to a job interview, for worry that it makes them look too assertive.
Getting back to the primary topic, I do think it's unfortunate that there is such a bias when it comes to acceptable fashion choices between the genders. I think it's sad that men are often looked down upon for expressing themselves outside of the expected machismo and toughness. Is it unfair? Absolutely. However, remember that at the beginning of this post I said that freestyle fashion is not about fairness with me, and it isn't. I don't see myself as a champion of gender equality. I don't really see myself as wearing what I wear for a cause. I'm just being myself.
I can't really say if the gender bias in fashion will ever be broken, though to be honest I'm not certain I care. I wear the clothes that I wear because I like them. I like the way I look in them and I like the way they make me feel. I've never cared what other people think of me, and I'll never let it stop me from being myself. I read an article earlier this year about the top ten most common things that people regret about their lives on their deathbed. The number one regret people had was not having the courage to truly be themselves. So, whenever someone gives me a dirty look or says something hateful towards me for dressing the way I do, I think back on that article. If I ever have a moment of self doubt or hesitation, I remember the article.