Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why Fashion Freedom is Important

"I'm not ashamed to dress 'like a woman' because I don't think it's shameful to be a woman." (Iggy Pop)

I came across the above quote on a Tumblr blog, and thought it was really interesting. I haven't been able to find the source of the quote, so for all I know it's possible Iggy never said this, but the thought is relevant nonetheless.

I think I may have touched on this topic on a previous post here, but I wanted to write a bit more about it because it couldn't be more true. Men's fashion freedom isn't just about men, it's about everyone. It's about empowering people to be themselves. Once we strip away the gender stereotypes and labels on clothing, what are we left with? A dress on it's own is neither male nor female, it's just fabric. When someone says, "Dresses are for girls.", they are really only projecting their opinion onto that garment.

I've been following an interesting photo set named Switcheroo, where the people in the series swap clothes between the photos. It usually involves a man and a woman, which is what makes it so interesting. Body size /shape isn't really accounted for, so sometimes the outfits can look a bit jarring just based on that, but overall I've found it an interesting photo essay on fashion freedom (even if that wasn't the intent). Anyhow, I'm willing to bet that most people would think the women look perfectly fine in either outfit, but would find the men strange in the women's clothes. Which takes me back to the quote.

I believe the reason for that feeling is because somewhere deep down in our society, men are still considered more powerful / better than women. I think a lot of people who feel uneasy about men in women's clothing feel that way because of this sexist meme.

I think the point was illustrated perfectly on the television show The Doctors in this clip. In the segment, they show a photo of a woman in a skirt next to a photo of a woman in a pantsuit, and then ask the audience (by round of applause) which woman they think is more successful. The audience felt that the woman in the pantsuit was more successful, while the host went on to say that whereas in the past women who dress more like men are seen as more successful, a new poll suggests women in skirts make a better first impression. Is that perceived balance of power between the sexes changing in our society, and what will that mean for boys in skirts? On a side note, I thought it was fun that the male hosts said they were going to wear skirted garments on the show, but to my knowledge this has never happened. If they did indeed rock it and you saw it, I'd appreciate a link to the clip.

What I've been trying to get at here, is that I feel the topic of men's fashion freedom is inclusive and important for women as well, and this post is predominately for the female readership. I think you girls should support men in skirts & dresses because in the end it's also going to empower you by breaking down gender stereotypes and allowing people to live their lives how they see fit without judgement based on chromosomes, and I think that equality is a cause that we should all champion.

At the end of the day, a dress is just a dress, and what's truly important is the person wearing it.

Please share this post if you agree with this message. Thank you!

21 comments:

  1. Interesting article, I also like to empower people to be themselves. Now, I am not necessarily encouraging men to cross-dress, but I do agree that there are fashion trends that are unisex, most people just don't realize that. Besides, there was one point in history when women started to dress in men's clothes, and nowadays, the trend still repeats itself, with a modern touch of course.

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    1. To me, crossdressing is dressing as a woman, not just like a woman, if that makes sense. In my mind, all clothing is unisex, at least in the broadest sense. Sure, fabric can be cut to fit certain shapes or bodies, so it becomes about finding styles that work for you. The thought that a dress is only for girls though, in my opinion, is silly.

      That all being said, the most important message that I hope people take away from this blog is to have the courage to be themselves with style. Everyone will have different likes and opinions about what they want to wear, and that's perfectly okay. You've found a style that you like and you rock it, so more power to you!

      Thanks for the comment, Orlando.

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  2. You've hit on some really valid points. The reason women can wear traditionally "male" clothes is because masculinity is not ridiculed by society. Yet should a man choose to wear traditionally "female" clothes, he becomes an object of ridicule because femininity IS ridiculed by society. In fact, women who prefer to present as high femme face ridicule and vilification for being shallow and frivolous.

    Shaking up those assumptions is a very good thing.

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    1. Thank you for this comment, Sleepydumpling! I think the assumptions are starting to change, we've just got to give them a little push. That is the reason for this blog.

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  3. Typical "feminine" traits are devalued by society so no one understands why a man would ever want to take up such traits. This goes beyond clothes to ideas like being a stay-at-home father, having close friends, and crying.

    Thanks for spreading the important message! :)

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    1. Good point, Jessica. You know, I've really been thinking about what you said since you commented, and I just can't understand why any of those traits are looked down upon. The idea that certain traits or qualities are imposed upon us at birth from gender just seems bizarre, and I can't really fathom why anyone would willingly want to be put into such boxes. I'm not saying that I want everything to be androgynous, just that I don't see why my gender should define so much of who I am. Boys & girls are different, and that's great, I just think it's gone a bit too far when we start imposing frivolous restrictions on people based on gender.

      Anyhow, thank you for the comment, Jessica!

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  4. I'm curious at what point it does become cross dressing? each outfit you've done you get further into a fem style- ie adding jewelry, adding purses- it would seem that point you're now dressing as/like a woman, no longer just a dude in a skirt or dress.

    I have to admit I found this via the fatshion flicker group, and it's made me uncomfortable to post my pictures there any further- I wasn't fond or comfortable with some dude in a dress or skirt (specifically not a kilt) complimenting my photos.

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    1. Ah, anonymity. I usually have a "don't feed the trolls" policy, but you bring up some interesting topics I'd like to comment on.

      I think there's a distinction to be made between dressing LIKE a woman and dressing AS a woman. In my opinion, it becomes crossdressing once one tries to present themselves as the opposite gender. I'm talking wig, padding, ect. I don't dress as a woman, but I do often dress like a woman, if you follow.

      I find the purse comment a bit perplexing. Given that most skirts or dresses (or even kilts) don't have pockets, I see it as more of a practical choice. I suppose I could carry my wallet in one hand, cell phone in another, and perhaps hold my keys with my teeth. Macho, or just moronic?

      All joking aside, let's get to the real bit I wanted to reply to. I think it's really sad that you are so bigoted that you don't even want to receive compliments from someone who doesn't fit with your views. That's a cold, small box to live in, but hey, different strokes I suppose. I am actually sorry that you don't feel comfortable being around me on the internet, but it's also not my responsibility to cater to your narrow-mindedness. On that note, thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog.

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    2. I found this blog through the Fatshionista flickr group as well. I'm HONOURED to have Mr Spookshow with us. I think you might just be a troll trying to stir crap up in a very tight knit community that is fatshion, not an actual fatshionista.

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  5. When I was little, I was blatantly told that being a girly girl was bad. I shouldn't want to do my hair or makeup or nails because that'd mean I was being girly. Any urges I had towards those things were not in any way supported, and I eventually dropped them.

    This is more extreme then the message most girls get (and less extreme, no doubt, than others) but I think ALL little girls face those kinds of messages at some point, and that's just shameful.

    I'm just now starting to claim some of these things for myself- fashion and hair and makeup- trying to decide what I care about and what doesn't matter to me, what I feel cutest in when I'm wearing it, what looks good and feels good on me. I feel encouraged and inspired when I look at your blog.

    And a little jealous. You have so many cute shoes.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Bethany. I really appreciate it.

      Self discovery through style & fashion is important, and often very fun. I'm glad you are starting to try new things & experience them. It's a very rewarding process. I'm very happy that this blog has helped to encourage you to be yourself. Keep on rockin'!

      Shoe shopping can be highly addictive. Tread with caution (ha, sorry!). Thank you for the compliments, Bethany!

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  6. Thanks for existing. As a woman who typically dresses in a more 'masculine' way, I've always felt insecure both with my body and with the perception of being viewed as feminine... But seeing you, with your broad shoulders and muscular legs, totally rocking it in dresses and skirts and making them look so great has given me a renewed sense of confidence in the clothes I choose to wear.

    Not to mention, I've been waiting for a guy to come along wearing entire wardrobes of women's clothing for years. I hate to say it, but if I saw you or another guy like you walking down the street, I probably wouldn't be able to stop myself from looking and squealing.

    I can wait until the day when designers start opening up sizes for men in their "women's" departments and gearing ads to men as well. It'll happen.

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    1. Thank you, Adef! I'm glad that you can find some inspiration here, as that is exactly why I run this blog. I think it's very important to be yourself, unashamedly so.

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    2. I have to second what Adef says here. I would be instantly attracted to someone who clearly thinks for himself AND has such a great sense of style. I think "those are WOMEN'S clothes!!" wouldn't even be in my top five reactions.

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    3. Thank you very much! Compliments like these really help me on days when my shields falter and hate gets to me! I really appreciate it!

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  7. Hi there. I've enjoyed reading your outfit of the day posts: they've been a useful thing to point friends at as we discuss (argue) about feminism. I've been arguing it needs to be a two-way thing, and equality for men is as important as equality for women. Anyway, I'm commenting today because I saw the Iggy Pop quote on tumblr too, but it was accompanied by an awesome photo:

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_lyn3s167KF1r1e7gko1_1280.jpg

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    1. Thanks, Shezza! I'm glad you like the blog and have found it useful. Thanks for sharing it with your friends. That Iggy Pop photo was what actually inspired me to write the "Why Fashion Freedom is Important" article. I love it. Anyways, thank you for taking the time to comment here! I appreciate it!

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  8. Liked the link to Switcheroo--interesting how sometimes it's the feminine (not effeminate) body language on men that's jarring more than oh-look-a-man-in-a-dress.

    Great blog; keep it up!

    I know you don't care what people think, but I'm curious about what reactions you get, both from strangers and from friends/family.

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    1. Thank you for the compliments! I plan to make a post detailing reactions & such very shortly, so stay tuned!

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  9. I concur. Wearing whatsoever you wish to wear but wearing it as your gender without attempting to convince others that you are something that you simply are not can't be viewed as cross-dressing. That is how women transitioned into trousers. They made that transition without duct-tape on the breasts, socks stuffed into their underwear to simulate a penis and without assuming a masculine name. Women know that clothes do not have a gender. Most men do NOT know this.

    I have worn skirts & dresses everywhere I have been for the past many years. No real adverse comments. Many places around the world. Airplanes. Trains. Cruises. The family automobile. It is doable with an understanding with your spouse. Before I married I told my wife that she could wear jeans all-of-the-time if and only if I could exercise a similar freedom to wear skirts or dresses whenever I wished to do so. It is fairness. It is true equality. The only way to have a lasting marriage.

    If any man wishes to dress like a woman in the 21st century, he damn sure isn't going to be wearing a skirt or a dress! The only skirts & dresses in our closets are mine, not hers. My wife has a very feminine figure that even a blind man could not mistake as a man - but she loves those trousers, capri pants and shorts. That's the real world, folks.

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  10. I love wearing hosiery and I have even went out cross dressed and I now find that I like your idea better. I don't want to be a woman, I love being a guy, but sometimes I just like wearing skirts, heels and hosiery. I also enjoy painting my nails. That doesn't make me gay or a girl. I have no desire to be with the same sex, I just occasionally enjoy girly things. If I ever make it to Orlando I would love to meet you and have dinner with you and your wife while wearing my skirt and heels. It would really help to go out with some like minded people. I find extremely difficult to go out by myself.

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