In a follow-up to her Friday radio broadcast, Bridgette Raes posted a great article on Men In Tights on her blogsite, “BRSG”. I will say, as to the double standard she refers to, I’ve often said that it actually betrays a certain residual bias against women that remains in our society even to this day–even among women themselves. Despite the ostensible equality with which women and men are viewed today, you have to ask yourself why there is such a noticeable difference between the way people view it when a member of one sex strays into the fashion territory of the other?
Bridgette noted that a woman can wear clothing ranging from the ultra feminine to jeans, t-shirts, boots and a short haircut and hardly anyone even takes note. Maybe she is even praised as being: strong, “a real go-getter”, or other positive adjectives. But if a man wears even one article of clothing that has typically been associated with women, not only do other men get worked up over it, but women may give him even more flack over it. His manhood might be called into question regardless of how strong and virile an example of masculinity he may otherwise be.
You have to ask yourself if this doesn’t reveal some sort of latent bias against the female? Is it because a woman who co-opts a certain fashion item from men is seen as elevating herself? (BTW, not too many of us are old enough to remember the days when women wearing pants was considered scandalous). If so, by contrast a man adopting anything with a feminine connotation is considered to be ‘lowering’ himself to the level of the less worthy sex and needs to be resisted so as to not betray his manhood.
Of course, when we try to come to terms with all of this, we hope we can be advanced enough in our view on the inherent dignity, and equality, of both men and women that we don’t behave this way. Some–many–men are wearing mantyhose for very legitimate reasons and knee jerk reactions against it have to be examined for what they really reveal about the people making them. Are they unknowingly acknowledging they don’t really view men and women as being equal in dignity? Let’s hope your blog and radio program can help us move beyond that toward true equality. Thank you, Bridgette.