mudcat.org: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2]


BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?

*daylia* 28 Jul 06 - 11:45 AM
MMario 28 Jul 06 - 11:47 AM
Bill D 28 Jul 06 - 11:57 AM
GUEST 28 Jul 06 - 12:07 PM
bobad 28 Jul 06 - 01:07 PM
Kim C 28 Jul 06 - 01:24 PM
Rapparee 28 Jul 06 - 01:27 PM
*daylia* 28 Jul 06 - 02:53 PM
Purple Foxx 28 Jul 06 - 03:01 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 28 Jul 06 - 03:20 PM
Liz the Squeak 28 Jul 06 - 03:27 PM
Purple Foxx 28 Jul 06 - 03:30 PM
harpmolly 28 Jul 06 - 03:30 PM
frogprince 28 Jul 06 - 03:31 PM
frogprince 28 Jul 06 - 03:33 PM
Kim C 28 Jul 06 - 03:37 PM
Jim Dixon 28 Jul 06 - 03:40 PM
Liz the Squeak 28 Jul 06 - 03:42 PM
Purple Foxx 28 Jul 06 - 03:43 PM
MMario 28 Jul 06 - 03:44 PM
Purple Foxx 28 Jul 06 - 03:46 PM
harpmolly 28 Jul 06 - 03:46 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 28 Jul 06 - 03:49 PM
Kim C 28 Jul 06 - 04:09 PM
Kim C 28 Jul 06 - 04:11 PM
MMario 28 Jul 06 - 04:12 PM
Kim C 28 Jul 06 - 04:15 PM
MMario 28 Jul 06 - 04:25 PM
Scoville 28 Jul 06 - 05:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jul 06 - 07:26 PM
Liz the Squeak 29 Jul 06 - 05:35 AM
GUEST,Kim C no cookie 29 Jul 06 - 06:12 AM
*daylia* 29 Jul 06 - 09:48 AM
Ebbie 29 Jul 06 - 02:06 PM
*daylia* 30 Jul 06 - 08:30 AM
frogprince 30 Jul 06 - 02:05 PM
GUEST, Topsie 30 Jul 06 - 02:44 PM
bobad 30 Jul 06 - 02:59 PM
*daylia* 30 Jul 06 - 03:12 PM
Mo the caller 30 Jul 06 - 04:01 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Jul 06 - 04:01 PM
Ebbie 30 Jul 06 - 06:40 PM
bobad 30 Jul 06 - 06:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Jul 06 - 06:55 PM
bobad 30 Jul 06 - 07:18 PM
Ebbie 30 Jul 06 - 07:59 PM
*daylia* 30 Jul 06 - 08:14 PM
bobad 30 Jul 06 - 09:03 PM
Ebbie 30 Jul 06 - 09:52 PM
bobad 30 Jul 06 - 09:57 PM
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 11:45 AM

Why is it okay for a woman to look like a man, but not vice versa? Women can cut their hair into a manly style and wear business suits, ties, jeans, lumberjack shirts, workboots etc etc till the cows come home, and no one bats an eye. But dare a guy fiddle around with makeup or don a dress and heels and WHOA!   THe whole world stops and stares -- and that's only on his good days!

Met a person who enjoyed crossdressing a few years ago. The reactions he got were quite interesting. Women tended to be more accepting -- although he did it so well, could make himself turn out so slim and pretty and feminine that some of them ended up wallowing miserably in their own jealousy.

But men? YIKES! In most instances just the sight of a guy in a skirt seems to short circuit the male brain. The level of manly anger, hatred, suspicion and ridicule this person attracted was truly amazing. An attention-seeker, I think he enjoyed it in a way -- but it did make just being in his company risky at times.

So what might account for the differences in attitude re woman looking like men vs men looking like woman? Is it just good ole sexism (ie looking like the opposite sex is a social "step up" for a woman and a "step down" for a man)? IS it homophobia? Intolerance? Fear? Or could it be a function of evolution -- ie men behaving like woman presents more of a threat to the survival of the species than woman behaving like men?

None of the above? All of the above? WHat do you think?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: MMario
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 11:47 AM

strictly cultural. and rather recent at that.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Bill D
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 11:57 AM

More men make an issue of the behavior of other men....women shrug it off more easily when a woman dresses 'butch'.....and to be blunt, it is 'usually' harder for a man to carry off the disguise, resulting in some pretty bizarre appearances. The ones who do succeed are often professional and/or work VERY hard at the depilation, hair dressing...etc.

(I have known personally 4 guys who indulged....only one was moderately successful)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 12:07 PM

Men trying to dress like women usually aim for a parody of how most real women dress. They seem to be aiming for a fantasy woman, not the kind most women want to be.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: bobad
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 01:07 PM

Most men just look like downright ugly women when they dress in drag. I have a friend and neighbour who is transgendered (man to woman) and even she said that when she went to a gathering of like individuals they were all ugly looking.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 01:24 PM

A lot of times women don't actually try to look like men, or pass themselves off as such. I think that's probably the difference.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 01:27 PM

We only ask that they use the "unisex" bathroom and don't frighten the horses or children.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 02:53 PM

LOL!

I do think shock is an important factor in the negative reactions I described. And as Kim implies, most people do not take kindly to being intentionally deceived, if that's the way they perceive the situation.
Especially about something as basic as gender identification, which most of us have mastered by the age of 3.

The person I knew had some unusual notions about power. He considered feminine attractiveness/beauty -- and all it's supporting 'cosmetic' cultural trappings - a power that woman have over men. He said he enjoyed appropriating that power for himself, and that's why some women - those who've never known/explored any other form of personal power - resented what he did. And yes, I agree that most men make laughable crossdressers - but not all. This guy was as attractive as a man as a woman - his only stumbling blocks were his voice, his biceps, his five-o-clock shadow. Plus the fact that he had no butt.

THe breasts he managed quite easily. THe butt, he flunked. But in heels, he had the hip-swaying walk down so well it was hardly noticeable. Not at ALL like the guy below ....

An interesting BBC video clip from a crossdresser and his wife


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:01 PM

Purely social conditioning as far as I can see Daylia.
Most men have worn skirts in most societies for most of history.
The only specifically male item of apparel is the codpiece & the only specifically female one is the bra.
Who does or does not wear what above & beyond that is determined by ever changing social convention.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:20 PM

Clothing serves a pragmatic function and a symbolic function When a woman dresses like a lumberjack it's often unclear whether she's doing so as a symbol of her sexual orientation, or whether she just doesn't want to play the fashion game. When a man dresses as a woman, there's no ambiguity. It's a symbolic statement, period.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:27 PM

When I dress like a lumberjack, someone is in for trouble ~ I'll only put on that plaid shirt for some serious chopper...

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:30 PM

Lumberjacks.Men who dress as women.This is going to go all Python very soon isn't it?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: harpmolly
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:30 PM

Well, in some circles it's still considered quite outré for women to wear pants. OK, not very many, and they do tend to be EXTREMELY sheltered and enclosed circles, but they do exist.

I'd say it's partially because men in general (sorry guys) have a lot more of their ego invested in their "manliness", because on a very deep level, there still exists a perception that masculinity is fundamentally superior to femininity (I certainly don't agree with this, but it's my perception!) So it's acceptable for a woman to aspire to the trappings of manhood in her dress--it's only to be expected, after all! Whereas for a man, aspiring to a more feminine appearance brands him as weak and strips him of the respect of other males. You're completely right, it's monstrously sexist, but it's pretty hard-wired at this point (IMHO). And, before all the men on the forum get supremely pissed at me, I'm not saying this is even deliberate. This isn't something we *think* about for the most part; it's just something we *feel*.

I was once very foolishly infatuated with a boy who seemed like everything a modern woman would want...handsome, poetically sensitive (I met him in an English Romantic Poetry class, he wore a rumpled blazer and jeans, had shoulder-length brown curls and soulful John Belushi eyes and loved chocolate...) I thought I just might have found the perfect man, at home with his own femininity, until I made the mistake of sharing with him (we passed notes in class...prof? what prof?) that my favorite poem was e.e.cummings' "somewhere i have never travelled". I thought he might smile and nod appreciatively. Instead he wrinkled his nose as though smelling something offensive and scrawled, "Chick poem!" in his notebook. He went on to tell me that he and his friends despised "women's poetry and literature" as a genre on general principle...while stridently denying that they were in any way sexist. Definitely one of the most confused young men I've ever had the misfortune to fall in love with. Whew...dodged a bullet there...

Molly


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: frogprince
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:31 PM

Still an element of ambiguity; true, you can be fairly certain he isn't just doing it because he finds a dress more practical than jeans while overhauling a car. Everything I've seen or heard says that only a segment of cross dressers are gay; but I would bet that if you could get honest answers from all the men who react wildly to male cross-dressers, most of them would assume that they were seeing someone whose gender identity was "iffy" at best.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: frogprince
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:33 PM

My post was meant to follow Bee-dubya-els; I might have know a few people would get in between.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:37 PM

"Most men have worn skirts in most societies for most of history."

That depends on what you mean by "most societies." Except for the Scots, "most" European-type men haven't worn skirts for centuries.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:40 PM

It helps if you're
a British comedian
an Australian comedian
a British rocker


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:42 PM

Welll... men still wore robes up until the late Mediaeval/Tudor period. Which, if you look at it in the long term way of "civilistation" being about 4000yrs documented, is only the last 400, so is really quite recent.

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:43 PM

It is true that Male skirts have not been the norm in most European countries for centuries (Greece being more of exceptional than Scotland) however human history covers millenia.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: MMario
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:44 PM

the last couple of centuries certainly doesn't qualify as "most of history"

robes and long tunics were common well into the Elizabethean era; academic gowns as daily wear longer then that, likewise robes for judges and magistrates, clergy.

into the 18th century lower class males even in western culture might well be seen in smocks; which today would be considered dresses. In many asian cultures the skirted forms of male dress persisted into the 1900's.

and if you look at pictures of balkan men, greek men, etc from the late 1800's you will also see a lot of clothing that would be considered "skirted". Trousered men are definately the exception rather then the rule for most of history.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Purple Foxx
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:46 PM

Greece being more exceptional.
One day before I die I will proof read.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: harpmolly
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:46 PM

Robes are rather asexual, though...don't carry the sort of connotations that, say, a poodle skirt does. ;) Modern judges still wear them, as do graduates of both sexes. Robes seem to de-sexualize the wearer, rather than act as a "dress".

Unless, of course, you're Homer Simpson being tried for treason in England. ;)

(Hmmm...how many Simpsons references can I work in in one week's postings? *g*)

Molly


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 03:49 PM

Then again, it's all in what ya get used to. Two lesbian friends decided to get "married" a few months back. (I use the quotes because there's no legal same-sex marriage in Florida. But any couple of any orientation can, of course, have a symbolic ceremony.) One of the women wore a tuxedo and the other a wedding gown. What's strange is that I'm so used to seeing them both wearing jeans, flannels and hiking boots that it was the woman wearing the dress who seemed to be "cross dressed", not her tuxedo-clad partner.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 04:09 PM

A robe and a skirt aren't quite the same thing. ;-) While I have seen paintings and illustrations of men in robes, I have seen far more such documentation of men in trouser-like garments.

Have yet to see a picture of a man in a "skirt" aside from a kilt, the Greek dress, or a sarong/pareo.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 04:11 PM

And just to clarify, I'm thinking of a "skirt" in terms of a garment separate from a flounce or peplum on a tunic or other such garment.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: MMario
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 04:12 PM

no- a robe and a skirt are not the same thing. but seperate skirts for women aren't that universal or common until more recently in history either.

There are a lot of pictures of 19th century labourers in long chemise/smock/tunics - bare legged. Certainly look like "skirts" to me - at least as much a skirt as a dress.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Kim C
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 04:15 PM

"There are a lot of pictures of 19th century labourers in long chemise/smock/tunics - bare legged."

Can you point me to some? I have never seen a 19th century photo of a man without something on his legs. They were kinda funny about that. ;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: MMario
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 04:25 PM

Kim - I'll try to look some up next week when I have access to an unblocked computer. Look for lower class and agricultural.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Scoville
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 05:09 PM

Never mind that "traditional" women's clothing is less practical in modern everyday life than masculine/sexually neutral jeans and T-shirt (which are no longer "masculine" but would have been a few decades ago). I, personally, like skirts and dresses but if I still had to go the whole corset-heels-gloves-hat-skirt-on-a-windy-day-with-my-arms-full-of-groceries route I'd be might uncomfortable. "Traditional" Western-hemisphere men's clothing is often less restrictive and easier to manage.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jul 06 - 07:26 PM

What was a silly bugger like harpmolly's acquantance that doing on a Romantic Poetry course anyway? Actually it rather sounds like he was a bit scared of women, which is a lot more common than is sometimes recognised and not that unreasonable in its way.

There's a big distinction between cross dressing and wearing garments that have a certain resemblance to what members of the other sex currently wear. In cross dressing it's a matter of people disguising themselves as members of the opposite ses. That can be for variosu reasons, for example all those Female Highwaymen and so forth in the old songs, or English TV reporter John Simpson wearing a burkha in Afghanistan at one point during the war. And disguise can often be seen as threatening.

But women wearing trousers - the large majority in my town - aren't trying to dress as men, they are wearing what is comfortable and practical and they hope looks good. Male hippies in flowing kaftans with beads and bells weren't dressing up as women, they were dressing for comfort and style, and sometimes with an eye to getting up the noses of some people. Scotsmen in kilts aren't dressing as women, again, they are dressing for comfort and style and swagger, and other stuff such as patriotism or in some cases snobbery.

I quite agree that the conventional limits on what is seen as appropriate male wear in a lot of placesit are pretty ridiculous. It'd be salutory if more people were aware of the range of attire that has been routinely worn by mean in past times, and still is today in other cultures. (But then, when it is possible for someone to think that a mere couple of centuries is the same as "most of history", what can be expected...)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 05:35 AM

Looks like it's been pinned down to 1760, see here...

There were trousery type things around earlier (Saxons and Jutes) but mostly men and women wore 'hose' - what we'd call stockings or long socks. These were tied around the thigh and the tops covered by the robe or dress being worn. That's why they looked like trousers. The other option was to tie lengths of wool cloth around the legs (like lagging a pipe) to keep them warm.

"Peasants" or agricultural workers would probably be barelegged in summer because a) it was cooler, b) stockings/hose were expensive and easy to snag whilst working and c) little critturs in the field prefer to run to a dark shelter e.g., up trouserlegs so bare legs weren't so attractive to them as a hiding place.

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 06:12 AM

Liz, 1760 is a little late. "Dress in Anglo-Saxon England" by Gale Owen-Crocker shows a photograph of a pair of woven trousers dated to the 2nd century AD, recovered from a peat bog in Germany.

Anyhow, I'm not debating the fact that men have worn long flowing garments at different periods in history. I'm taking issue with the assertion that "most men have worn skirts in most societies for most of history." I think that's just too broad of a statement, especially considering that a good deal of human history has yet to be documented.

Also, in societies & historical periods where men do wear dress-like garments, men's clothes are still distinctive from women's clothes. Like McGrath said, cross-dressing has more to do with actually trying to look like a member of the opposite sex.

Although, really, what's the harm in that? *shrug*


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 09:48 AM

Harm? Well, is it harmful to deliberately provoke undesirable public reactions which may or may not be difficult to defuse? As I said above, just being in the vicinity of this person when he was all dolled up was pretty risky. Consequently, he missed out on the pleasure of my company quite a bit ... now, that could be construed as VERY harmful indeed!   ;-)

I agree that in most instances when women dress in 'masculine' mode, they do it for practical reasons -- not as an expression of sexual orientation OR to experience/appropriate the 'powers' of the opposite sex. As a kid I was quite the tomboy.   I resented the restrictions of movement and discomfort imposed by wearing feminine attire - especially garters and nylons (this was in the 60's, before pantyhose) and those stupid foot-bending back-breaking shoes! Besides, I had way too much restless energy to put up with the daily primping and preening and painting 'dressing feminine' entailed, and I put up quite the fuss about it for years. It drove my poor mother up the wall ...

By the time puberty hit, I had more reasons to resent and reject feminine attire. Seemed to me the crippling shoes and skirts/dresses were deliberately designed to facilitate the sexual assaults I had the misfortune of experiencing more times than I care to remember. :-( By the time I was about 16 I'd had enough of my so-called "feminine powers". I think I was seen in a dress maybe 3 times over the next 2 and a half decades - when I got married, and when I had my kids baptized.

I even refused to attend the convocation when I graduated from university, because I'd won a medal and therefore had to sit at the head table with the President and all -- in a dreaded $$%%!!## dress, no less.

Forget it!

In fact, getting to know that crossdresser was VERY good for me. He really threw me for a loop! I was amazed that any man would want to look like a weak lowly ;-) woman in the first place, and as the fellow's wife said in the video I posted above, I did very much respect his determination to be himself, no matter what anyone else did or thought. I could finally see something even just a tad positive in wearing feminine attire, for the first time in a VERY long time! And he did it so well it sparked my competitiveness too -- not to be outdone, I started experimenting with dresses etc again. And happily discovered that the same look it took him hours and hours (plus several pounds of wiry padded underwear :-) to accomplish, I could produce in about 10 minutes flat. Sans makeup OR that godawful uncomfortable underwear. And I ended up looking MUCH better than him, imo! HA!!! It felt so good ... hee hee ....

I remember the shock when, wearing a short summer dress, I'd tried on a pair of 6-inch heels and checked myself out in the mirror. I just about fell over backwards. Holy flippin -- LOOK at those legs! And that derriere! Is THAT really me?!? Wow ... pretty scary ... but maybe it could be fun after all. Bought em, wore 'em maybe twice before my vertebrae went on strike. But it was worth it, for the experience.

I highly recommend it to any of you more adventurous guys! Go ahead, discover the joys and powers of your personal inner Goddess -- She's hiding right there, in your shoes, after all!   

;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Ebbie
Date: 29 Jul 06 - 02:06 PM

Way off the topic here - why is it that article linked to by LizTS has so many typos? Jarring.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 08:30 AM

Well, not surprisingly, there's not ONE typo in the following article. It's by a female law school graduate, wrestling with the sorry fact that in the legal community, the strict Dress Code Tyrannizes Women Lawyers as a "weapon" of patriarchal sexism.

As a recent law graduate, I shun the day when I will have to appear before a judge and make a well-reasoned, strongly worded, highly articulate legal argument wearing a dress and stockings!

I have made it through 30 years of life never being forced to wear a dress until now, when I am required to bow to one of the oldest vestiges of patriarchy.

All lawyers swear to show due respect to the court, but only women lawyers must do this by wearing dresses or skirts. This discrimination perpetuates the subordination of women, despite our admission to the bar. URSULA ABRAMS Brooklyn, June 12, 1992


I think her words illustrate Molly's point of view above very well! And I can relate to how she dreads wearing dress and stockings while presenting her arguments before a male-dominated court. There's a certain aura of restriction, of vulnerability and weakness evoked by 'feminine attire' -- both in the wearer and in the observer. And unfortunately, this same attire-based sexism is still the standard in the business community ie

Wearing a tie is a sexist act

The major issue comes down to this. Male white-collar workers have to conform to a fairly strict dress code - shirt, tailored pants, tie, dress shoes, suit jacket optional. Why is this done? So that in a meeting with people from other companies, they will be treated as serious businessmen, and their word will have some weight. This seems sensible and fair, right? Everybody does it because everybody does it. If a man turns up at a business meeting wearing a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, he will not be taken seriously unless he is already in a powerful position.

Where the sexism comes in is in the lack of such strict requirements for females. Many women basically wear "business casual" all the time, in circumstances where their male counterparts would be reprimanded for doing the same. Why is this?

BECAUSE THEIR OPINION DOESN'T COUNT ANYWAY. The standards are lower because of an implicit and perhaps even completely unconscious realisation that women are not treated the same as men in the business world; that women are automatically assumed to be inferior.


And one final beef, from the world of academia ...

Grub Day at the Office

Every second Friday is 'Casual Day' at the office - the principal lets us wear jeans to school. I need two degrees to do my job, but apparently I just can't seem to dress myself...

...the more formal the attire, the more gendered it is. Formal dress is rigidly male or female: three piece suit and tie or dress and high heels. Less formal attire is less gendered: slacks or jeans and a blouse or shirt. The most casual is completely ungendered: the old 'sweats'. The thing is this: a suitcoat and tie outranks a dress and high heels. (Women wear pseudo-suits; men never wear pseudo-dresses.) So as long as formal attire is required, men will outrank women.


Now this takes us quite far afield from cross-dressing -- or does it? I remember reading about a boy in California who was suspended for wearing a skirt to school last year. He was protesting the school's dress code, which bans the wearing of shorts except in summer months. So while the girls are comfy and cool in their summer skirts, the boys must sweat away in long pants till June. Apparently just the sight of a boy in a skirt short-circuited so many brain cells the school board suspended him. THe religious right was in a frenzy over it -- crossdressing in our schools? Unthinkable!

I'm not sure if he won or lost the court case that ensued ... does anyone know? At any rate, I can't imagine a girl being suspended or suspected of "crossdressing" for wearing pants to school -- at least not for the last 30 years or so.

Now, that's sexism. In my book, anyway.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: frogprince
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 02:05 PM

The times, they...have been?...changin':

When I was in junior high school, the principal made an announcement in an all-school assembly that brought a big cheer from the guys. Girls would be allowed to wear pants to school in cold weather, so long as they removed them after arriving. His intention, of course, was to convey that they had to change to skirts or dresses for classes.

A couple of years ago I heard two young female co-worker express something I had never heard before in my life. One cited an instance in which a girl wore a skirt, rather than slacks or jeans, to a party. Both agreed that only a slut would do that. I was a bit dumbfounded. Is that opinion widespread at all, or was that a complete abberation?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: GUEST, Topsie
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 02:44 PM

Depens on the skirt I think ...

a good thick skirt


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: bobad
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 02:59 PM

Why men shouldn't wear skirts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 03:12 PM

Or hosers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 04:01 PM

Indecency is in the eye of the beholder


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 04:01 PM

Typically when schools decide to allow girls to wear trousers they forbid them from wearing skirts. If long triousers are ruled in, shiorts are ruled out. Or the other way round.

The basic rule in these matters tends to be that of the ants in T H White's Sword in the Stone - "Everything not forbidden is compulsory", with its corollary, "Everything not compulsory is forbidden". Of course sometimes the compulsory stuff is social and peer pressure rather than formal rules, but it comes down to the same thing in the end.

The actual stuff that is forbidden or compulsory can vary - perhaps the rule is cover up, perhaps its the reverse, perhaps it "be formal", perhaps its "be informal". But underlying these superficial differences, the same rule applies - "fall in line".

And all this applies in society outside school just as much.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 06:40 PM

I don't know in which century all this applied. It is certainly not true today in the American States. From preschool on through business careers girls wear anything and everything, from tunics and tights to skirts brushing the floor. There does not seem to be an issue.

On the other hand, men wearing ties to me seem unthinking slaves. Women don't have the equivalent.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: bobad
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 06:54 PM

"On the other hand, men wearing ties to me seem unthinking slaves. Women don't have the equivalent."

What about high heels, Ebbie, slaves to fashion, don't you think, walking around in something so absurd and unnatural and unhealthy?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 06:55 PM

Do men still wear ties much over in the States? I can't remember the last time I saw a man wearing a tie in this part of the world. Apart from funerals I suppose.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: bobad
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 07:18 PM

Or weddings Mcg of H, symbolic, no?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 07:59 PM

I see women wearing high heels in the offices but at least in Juneau they change into comfortable shoes when they leave the building. And most of the high heels are not all that high- it causes a good deal of merriment when a newbie comes in with stilettos.

Men are more than a little responsible for the women wearing those heels imo. My brother, who is an artist, and I used to go camping together a lot- between marriages for him, anyway - and one night we were chatting desultorily from our beds. He said, You have to admit women's legs are prettier when they are wearing heels.

I said, Then I think it is time that men's views of beauty were modified.

That said, I remember the days when I enjoyed the 'together' feeling of heels. It forces one to walk a certain way.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 08:14 PM

It does. And in the process, it compells one to learn certain things, such as "She who hurries does not walk with dignity".

That little nugget of wisdom came to me via a Chinese fortune cookie - shortly after I bought those 6-inch heels, as I recall. Kept it in my wallet for quite awhile. Didn't stop the vertabrae from going on strike, but it probably saved me breaking my neck!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: bobad
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 09:03 PM

"I think it is time that men's views of beauty were modified."

Precisely my point Ebbie, why do women feel compelled to conform to men's views of beauty? Just ignore men's fantasies of the "ideal" woman and dress for your own comfort.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 09:52 PM

The problem is that men -being such visceral critters- tend to react to certain stimuli and not others. *G*


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: bobad
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 09:57 PM

OK, I can't argue that with you, I agree, we are HARD wired, but it's all in the name of survival of the species.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

 


You must be a member to post in non-music threads. Join here.


You must be a member to post in non-music threads. Join here.



Mudcat time: 23 April 2:37 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.