I am not a fashionable person. Nor am I particularly style-conscious. But my brawny friend and I sometimes quibble about the limited choices when it comes to clothing for our respective gender. He believes that women have a wider variety in clothing and accessories while men are restricted to shirts and trousers. He is undoubtedly straight. But, as he puts it, once in a while he just wants to put on a dress because it is pretty and fun. Alas, he doesn’t think he should considering the scrutiny that will be brought upon him. But he does don a handsome kilt here and there.
I, on the other hand, think men are blessed with the cool gear. It is quite a strenuous task for a woman like me, who prefers a more androgynous approach in her attire, to find a jacket that is not adorned by “princess-cut” shoulders or glitters. Buy a man’s jacket then, you might suggest. No, they mostly don’t come in my size. And don’t even get me started on shoes. That’s why there are sites like FiTTiD Tomboi.
I know that this little debate of ours seems puerile. However, I believe the issue of cross-dressing and androgyny demands more dialogue not just in queer culture but culture in general, particularly when androgyny has slowly seeped its way through mainstream culture.
Meet Andrej Pejic, the most sought-after male model in the fashion world at the moment.
Ever since his first appearance at Jean Paul Gaultier Spring/Summer 2011, he became the hottest talk in town because he is so deliciously androgynous.
Next we have Misster, an all girls band from Taiwan that is actually more an all “bois” band.
According to Kotakku.com, in Japan, there is a comic publication called “WAaI! boys in skirts” that capitalizes on the cosplay trend of young men dressing up like young women. Regardless of their sexuality, more and more Japanese boys like to adorn themselves with feminine clothes and make-up just because they want to.
To call a piece of clothing feminine or masculine is still a strange concept for me since I believe any kind of clothing (including dresses and high heels) should be gender neutral. I am not trying to sound like a high school kid with teenage angst when I say the concept of male and female clothing is put upon by a mainstream culture who only wants us to conform to our gender roles partly because they wouldn’t know how to sell things to us if they can’t follow the rigid gender roles and rules. It would be, like, marketing chaos, yo!
They also don’t understand that dressing like the opposite sex does not reflect on one’s sexuality. Just because a man likes to get in a dress once in a while does not mean he is queer. And if he is, all the better! I can’t illustrate more on this issue than this wonderful blog by a mom whose son may or may not be gay.
On one of the best TV shows EVER made The Golden Girls, Dorothy’s brother Phil, though we have never seen him in person, has always been mentioned in conversations. Apparently he is fond of wearing dresses and other female attire although he is not gay and married with children. On the day of his funeral Sophia finally reconciles with Phil’s wife, whom Sophia blames for the “strange” behavior of Phil. As Phil’s wife puts it, despite his choice of attire, he is still a great person and a loving father and husband. God I love that show.
It’s really time to break the social norms and constraints. Men and women, regardless of their sexuality, should be free to dress however the hell they want to. More stores that promote androgynous clothing, please!