I was amused to read this right wing article by a man who’s all upset over one fashion show which featured skirts for men. Michael Snyder, writing for a right-wing Christian publication Charisma News, connects the feminization of men to the downfall of society.
“Doing whatever is right in our own eyes may make a lot of sense for Browne, but a society without gender would be complete chaos. God created both men and women for a reason, and trying to eradicate masculinity and femininity would be a tragic mistake.”
Sadly, he doesn’t offer up any examples of exactly what kind of chaos would ensue if we eradicated masculinity and femininity, so I don’t know exactly where he’s going with this. What kind of chaos would there be if men were showing up at work wearing skirts? Would it cause businesses to fold? The economy to collapse? Computer systems to shut down Y2K-style? Planes would fall out of the sky, trains would veer off the tracks? Would there be some sort of natural apocalyptic phenomenon, like the rivers boiling, a plague of locusts, or the sun falling out of the sky?
Right wing Christians think that gays getting married is literally destroying the fabric of society, so I’m assuming they think the same of men wearing skirts. There’s a connection between hatred of men wearing dresses and hatred of homosexuality. They’re both coming from the same place, which is a right wing ideal of patriarchy, the nuclear family, and the need for couples to have babies. When I read some right wing homophobic comments this year just for the fun of finding out what these people are saying these days, I discovered that they are absolutely obsessed with breeding, and they think the purpose of human existence is for us to be very fertile and having babies all the time. And of course, those babies have to have a masculine father and a feminine mother, in order to teach them traditional gender roles.
I got a sense from reading this article that there is a fear among conservatives about what will happen if the lines of gender are blurred too much. I wonder if some of the fear is based on believing that gender abolitionists or gender fluid people want to completely abolish sex differences until we can no longer naturally reproduce? Since they are obsessed with breeding, that seems likely. But they are having a fit over nothing, because fashion trends such as skirts for men don’t have any power to blur the line between the biological realities of male and female. No matter what we wear, our biology is the same. If there is some truth to the idea that men are more aggressive due to higher testosterone and that women are more emotional due to higher estrogen, then those differences will always remain, because changing our clothes doesn’t change our biology. So what the fuck are they so worried about? Conservatives are also way overboard with their fear of homosexuality. Being gay, lesbian or bisexual is not a choice, it’s not contagious, and the incidence doesn’t increase due to any cultural factors. I realize lots of young people claim to identify as lots of different made-up sexual orientations these days but it’s just a fashion trend–the rate of genuine homosexuals isn’t increasing and lots of those kids will end up with an opposite-sex partner someday after all. I don’t think anyone should hate gays but even if they do they should realize that nothing about fashion or culture is going to turn entire generations of men against women and prevent humans from breeding. The majority of humans like mating with the opposite sex and that is a natural part of our species (and all species) that isn’t going away.
All that being said, it actually would be a good idea for humans to do less breeding since we’re already facing world overpopulation and fights over dwindling resources. But anyway…
The opening of Snyder’s article asks a question, which his right-wing audience is probably all answering the same way.
“How would you feel if a man walked into a business meeting wearing a skirt and 8-inch heels? Twenty years ago, that would have been absolutely unthinkable, but, if one American designer has his way, that may soon become the norm.”
I’m going to discuss this question, but without the exaggeration of 8-inch heels. Let’s say a man walks into a business meeting wearing a normal, sensible, business suit consisting of blazer, blouse, and knee-length skirt, and a pair of reasonable-height pumps. Some people, such as right wing men, would react by laughing at him, not taking him seriously, or thinking that his outfit is causing the breakdown of civilization. I wouldn’t think this. If this was the first time he had worn a skirt, then I’d be surprised since it’s not characteristic of him, but I wouldn’t have an issue with the outfit and I’d focus on what he had to say. We should be treating clothing as no big deal, because it isn’t. Clothing changes from time to time and from place to place, it’s made out of the materials that are available to us at the time, and the way it’s made is dictated by current social norms. We make a big deal out of clothing, but we don’t have to. I was taught that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and that someone’s superficial appearance doesn’t matter. I stand by this attitude.
Now, if a man walked into a business meeting wearing actual 8-inch-heels, and a really porny-looking fetish outfit, then I think that would be inappropriate just because it’s inappropriate attire for a social setting. You shouldn’t be showing off body parts and dressed for sex when you’re at work. That goes for both sexes.
One of the reasons men develop gender dysphoria is because it’s absolutely compulsory for them to “dress like men” in order to have a job. The only way they can go to work in a “women’s” outfit, even a sensible women’s outfit, is by declaring themselves to be a “woman” and making body modifications to look more like one. This shouldn’t be necessary. We need to relax the rules governing clothing so that it’s okay for men to wear blouses and skirts to work if they want.
Some aspects of the right wing claim to not want people to be transsexual, but they also won’t accommodate people with gender dysphoria by relaxing rules about dress and appearance. This is just wrong and causes suffering. Not only is it wrong to force dysphoric people into the gender role that they are not comfortable with, but it’s counter-productive to anyone who doesn’t want people to medically transition. Forcing people into a gender role that they hate guarantees they’ll want medical transition in order to live in the other gender box. The same right-wing people who are against transsexuals are helping to create transsexuals when they enforce rigid rules about dress and behavior for men and women.
I mentioned this once before in a blog post, but I have gone to a bank and had a transwoman as a bank teller. I could tell he was male because of his shoulders and jawline. I could tell he was a transwoman because he was wearing women’s business attire, long hair, and makeup. I was completely chill, didn’t say anything about it, and did my banking as usual. We really need to stop being flipped out about the rare men who feel more comfortable in feminine attire. It’s not the end of the world if they wear a dress, and they shouldn’t have to declare themselves “literally female” in order to be who they want to be. I am considered a “bigot” because I understand human biology, but I am actually totally accepting of men in dresses, and the accusations of bigotry are ludicrious and nonsensical.
Bigots think that all men must be masculine and heterosexual, and that any man who doesn’t measure up is wrong and bad and destroying society. Bigots think that gender roles need to be so strict that anyone who is feminine has to necessarily be a woman. People who are accepting of gender nonconformity think that everyone is fine, their biology, their personality, and their appearance, and none of it needs to be altered or denied.