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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
*daylia* 30 Jul 06 - 10:26 PM
Ebbie 30 Jul 06 - 10:37 PM
frogprince 30 Jul 06 - 11:11 PM
Ebbie 31 Jul 06 - 02:32 AM
bobad 31 Jul 06 - 07:01 AM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jul 06 - 07:40 AM
jacqui.c 31 Jul 06 - 08:07 AM
*daylia* 31 Jul 06 - 08:16 AM
*daylia* 31 Jul 06 - 09:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jul 06 - 06:29 PM
GUEST,Dave 01 Aug 06 - 10:29 AM
*daylia* 01 Aug 06 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 01 Aug 06 - 02:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Aug 06 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Dave 02 Aug 06 - 03:30 PM
*daylia* 03 Aug 06 - 07:59 AM
*daylia* 03 Aug 06 - 09:15 AM
*daylia* 03 Aug 06 - 09:47 AM
robomatic 03 Aug 06 - 09:21 PM
harpmolly 04 Aug 06 - 06:31 PM
Ebbie 04 Aug 06 - 10:52 PM
*daylia* 05 Aug 06 - 07:28 AM
freda underhill 05 Aug 06 - 08:53 AM
freda underhill 05 Aug 06 - 08:54 AM
jacqui.c 05 Aug 06 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 06 Aug 06 - 07:52 AM
*daylia* 06 Aug 06 - 08:35 AM
jacqui.c 06 Aug 06 - 08:42 AM
*daylia* 06 Aug 06 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,Bee 06 Aug 06 - 12:34 PM
JohnInKansas 07 Aug 06 - 03:03 AM
*daylia* 07 Aug 06 - 08:44 AM
Liz the Squeak 07 Aug 06 - 08:53 AM

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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?


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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.


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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)


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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


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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?


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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. ;-)


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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.


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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.


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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...)


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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


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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*


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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!   

;-)


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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.


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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.


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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?


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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


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

Why men shouldn't wear skirts.


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

Or hosers.


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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


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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.


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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.


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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?


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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.


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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?


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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.


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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!


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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.


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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*


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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.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 10:26 PM

Hard wired because children have shorter legs in comparison to the upper body; legs lengthen to adult proportions with the growth spurt at puberty. Long legs are a visual 'cue' of the female's sexual maturity, of her biological 'readiness' to mate. And high heels, of course, accentuate/exaggerate that ancient hard-wired visual cue - that's why people of both sexes find them irresistably sexy.

Now, shall we discuss why women wear lipstick? There's an ancient hard-wired 'visual cue' behind that one too, I've heard ...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Ebbie
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 10:37 PM

lol


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: frogprince
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 11:11 PM

I think I know the theory about lipstick and visual cues that Daylia is referring to; But I really think that if I saw some of the details of a woman's anatomy, and they were fire-engine red, I would be more inclined to rush her to a doctor than to "get it on" with her!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Ebbie
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 02:32 AM

LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: bobad
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 07:01 AM

Now, what visual cues are the females of the species hard wired to respond to other than size (of bank account) or thickness (of wallet).


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 07:40 AM

"Men are more than a little responsible for the women wearing those heels imo."

That's a bit like saying women are more than a little responsible for sexual harassment because of the way they dress.

Seems to me we all have to accept responsibility for the things we do, including both nasty stuff like sexual harassment and stupid stuff like wearing crippling shoes.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 08:07 AM

Unfortunately the media tend to highlight as 'desirable' the wearing of high heels. A lot of teenage girls are susceptible to this - they want to look like the latest pop star or model, most of whom are pictured in their very short skirts and high heels. The fact that, quite often, parents try to discourage these fashions may only make them more determined to do so.

From my own point of view I find it difficult to understand why any man would want to give up the comfort and convenience of highly practical clothing and take on the time consuming impractability of dressing in womens clothes and wearing makeup! Takes all sorts I guess.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 08:16 AM

Exactly. I've known women who needed an extra closet just for their shoes. It's a gender-free fetish, as far as I can see!

Spent a few hours on a friend's boat the other day. I've known him since childhood, and I trust our platonic relationship implicitly! Interesting incident with the suntan lotion - I'd forgotten mine, he offered his. Great! I said. K, take off your shoes he said. Well, ok why not I thought, and kicked off my sandals. THen he proceeded to squirt a couple cups of lotion on each foot, and spread it round and round and up my legs with his foot. Hmm, this is a little strange, I thought, helping him out with my other greasy foot, but hey it's only his foot. Not his hands. Nothing subversive here. Relax and enjoy it!

So I did, till we got back to his place and he turned on his computer. There, on his desktop, was a pair of the cutest black-stockinged little feet I ever saw. Ahhhh .... NOW suddenly some old memories were coming back.

"You have a foot fetish!" I said. "Yup I do", he said. "Your brother does too!" I exclaimed. (His brother was my significant other for many years, and we're still great friends). "WHat do you expect, we're twins!" he said.   

Oooooooo .... sly dogs, or WHAT?!? Now I know!!! SHould I charg him with sexual assault, maybe? Oh, I forgot, that's right, it's MY fault for taking off my sandals. Or rather, my fault for even wearing those scanty revealing things in the first place. So who could possibly blame the helplessly hardwired visually cued hormonally compelled male?

ANd as to what visual cues females are hardwired for, could it be the size of his MAllet and the shortness of his skirts?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 09:55 AM

Wow do I ever LOVE Mudcat! Posting here is so very inspiring -- I just came up with a great plan for using my provocatively podiatric powers productively -- and getting back at those 2 at the same time!

First, I'll invite them both over (they're better behaved when they're together). I'll teach them how to give a pedicure, just the way I like 'em. For free, even! Then, once a month they can come over and bathe and massage and clip and cream (sorry!) and buff and file and paint and polish to their heart's content. NO more twisting myself into a pretzel for hours on end trying to do it myself, and my tender little tootsies will be so very very very happy ALL the time, forevermore!   

Wheee-hooo!!!!

I'll decide on a reasonable (for them) but highly profitable (for me!) hourly fee, of course. $100/hr or so should meet my needs nicely! No sales tax or GST though. And I'll better draw up a sign to hold on my lap as they work away ... "Nothing above the knees, guys. Nothing above the knees".

Wow, I can hardly wait! Gonna call 'em, right now -- I'll keep y'all posted. And thank you SO much, Mudcat, just for being here!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jul 06 - 06:29 PM

Maybe that's how all these nail-bars that seem to be proliferating started up.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 01 Aug 06 - 10:29 AM

On these hot days, I can't imagine wearing cotton men's underwear. Women's nylon panties are the only way to go. I started wearing only white bikinis, but now I'm into colours too.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 01 Aug 06 - 10:51 AM

But nylon panties trap moisture and bacteria, Dave. Cotton is so much kinder to your skin! You can easily find colorful cotton panties in all manner of pretty, lacy styles too. Just shop around!

It's not wise to sit around in your wet bikinis either, for the same reasons. Better to change asap, after swimming.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 01 Aug 06 - 02:42 PM

Could it possibly be related to women's relationship to clothes? I was wandering around the centre of the major UK city that I live in, the other day, and it suddenly struck me how many thousands of square feet of retail floorspace are devoted to the sale of women's clothes and how little (relatively speaking) to men's.

Most women seem to adore clothes (I'm not knocking this , you understand - just an observation) and are expected to experiment whereas men tend to be much less interested and, like me, may actively hate clothes shopping. Thus the number of men who go as far as dressing in women's clothes tends to be in a minority (and if you produce some spurious statistic which 'proves' that 40%, or whatever, of men in the UK/US are secret cross-dressers I won't believe you!).

Also, of course, as has been pointed out above, many women can look sexy and attractive in anything whereas men in women's clothing often look grotesque. Actually, I saw a man in drag last Saturday and although I completely support his right to wear whatever he likes, I'm afraid to say he looked grotesque!!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Aug 06 - 05:14 PM

Actually most of us look pretty grotesque whatever we wear. It's just that people get used to the look over time.

That's why it's possible for a man to walk out in the street wearing informal clothes that would, have looked perfectly normal back in the mid-nineteenth century and he'll still look perfectly normal today. Not fashionable maybe, but fashionable isn't normal anyway.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 03:30 PM

*daylia*
You sound experienced. I assume you are a woman.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 03 Aug 06 - 07:59 AM

Yup. And I assumed you were kidding, but played along anyway just for fun. If you were serious though, what I said about health and cotton vs nylon is true.

Then again, your mother probably taught you that ;-)

Shimrod says Most women seem to adore clothes (I'm not knocking this , you understand - just an observation) and are expected to experiment whereas men tend to be much less interested and, like me, may actively hate clothes shopping.

That's true. I think some men claim to hate it simply because shopping is a 'gendered' activity (usually considered to be "the woman's job", whether it's for clothes or groceries or other household items. Reminds me of the little dud in Molly's poetry class: "Chick poem!" So a lot of women do all the clothes shopping for the whole family -- men included.

IF I hadn't bought my husband clothes, I think he would have gone through life in one pair of shoes, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 t-shirts, a sweatshirt and borrowed formal wear when he needed it. If I wanted him to look better than that, I had to dress him myself!

And now that my sons are grown, it AMAZES me how quickly they shop. For them, shopping is a chore, not a pleasure. My son can find everything he needs/wants for a new season in 20 minutes flat, shopping at only 1 or 2 stores. He always knows exactly what he wants before he goes, and it takes a lot less time to find it too, in the smaller men's depts. Meanwhile, I usually need a whole day (or several) to try things on and make up my mind re all the new styles, colours, prices.

Typically, men have only 3 'styles' to shop for anyway- masculine casual wear, masculine work wear and masculine formal wear. Women, on the other hand, usually need both 'feminine' and 'unisex' styles, for casual and work wear anyway. So women need more clothes, and find a much wider selection to choose from. And it seems to me that fitting is a more complicated matter for women than it is for men too ...

Anyways, from a woman's perspective it's usually not a man's clothing, his fashion sense or even just his appearance in general that make him attractive. Unfortunately, I don't think your average guy could say the same thing! And that's another reason why women spend a lot more time and energy and money on clothing - particularly the younger ones.
IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 03 Aug 06 - 09:15 AM

PS Just thinkin -- another reason women shop for clothes more often than men is that manufacturers tend to make men's clothes more durable ie higher quality, thicker, easily laundered fabrics; reinforced seams; practical, comfortable 'classic' designs that don't go out of style. Dollar for dollar, women's clothes become outdated and fall apart a lot more quickly than men's - an example of planned obsolescence, perhaps?

A few years ago, knowing I'd be spending a lot of time outdoors that fall, I bought a couple pairs of rough-and-tumble men's cargo pants (reversible, even!) and 3 hoodies (thick hooded sweatshirts) to match. Wore 'em a lot for awhile, not so much lately. I'm tired of the (slightly) sagging waist and tight-hipped pants, and the weight of those hooded men's sweats.

But even after a couple years or so of regular outdoor wear, my men's clothes are still in great shape, look almost as good as the day I bought 'em. I want to throw them out, but the practical side of me is still putting up a fuss! In comparsion, most of the ladies' clothing I bought that same year - even in the same rough-and-tumble styles, and after just as many hours of wear - is either long gone or well on it's way -- fraying, faded, seams falling apart.

Not too hard to figure out what's going on here!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 03 Aug 06 - 09:47 AM

PPS   and back to the subject at hand, at least I can wear my men's pants and sweats in public without arousing anyone's homicidal tendencies! Someday, my more adventurous 'brothers' might be able to do likewise.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: robomatic
Date: 03 Aug 06 - 09:21 PM

I see all too few women dressing feminine lately, and the styles for the tweens and teens are simply abhorrent. String underwear appearing above the waistline, the low cut jeans pinching all but the skinniest girls in order to produce an unattractive bulge instead of an attractive curve. The willingness of today's young women to pay money for these awful things (and the coccyxal tattoo that goes with it) reminds me of the brilliant Richard Thompson lyric:

Oh she gets her suits from a personal friend, Coco the clown
She got dustman's jacket, inside out, it's a party gown
If it's bouffons, she's got bouffons, if it's tat she got tat
She got hoochie coochie Gucci and a pom-pom hat

She's got everything a girl might need
She's a tribal animal, yes indeed
But she hasn't got a bone through her nose, through her nose
She hasn't got a bone through her nose
She hasn't got a bone through her nose, through her nose
She hasn't got a bone through her nose
She hasn't got a bone through her nose, through her nose
She hasn't got a bone through her nose
No!


and an older Danny Kaye song: "Anatole of Paris":

I'm Anatole of Paris I must design
I'm just like wine
I go to your head
Give me thread and the needle
I itch, I twitch to stitch
I'm a glutton for cutting
For putting with a button
To snip and pluck, nip and tuck
Fix and trim, plan the brim
Tote that barge, lift that bail
And why do I sew each new chapeau
With a style they most look positively grim in
Strictly between us, entre-nous
I hate women!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: harpmolly
Date: 04 Aug 06 - 06:31 PM

Daylia--

You think women's clothes are bad? Try being 4'8" and having to shop in the children's department. There's nothing like clothing that is designed to be grown out of. Shoddy craftsmanship, strings hanging out all over the place, not to mention the relative lack of anything affordable not made in some sweatshop in God-knows-where...it's enough to make me want to buy a damn sewing machine.

I used to complain that having to shop in the kids' dept. meant having to deal with pink sparkly Barbie logos all over the place. Now, alas, it's even scarier--as has been mentioned, the Britneyization of girls' styles is starting younger and younger. I'm also put off by the great proliferation of sparkly shirts that say things like "Princess", "Spoiled Brat", "Daddy's Little Girl", etc. I mean, should we be glamorizing that sort of behavior?

That said, I confess to having bought a shirt with a wicked-looking picture of Tinkerbell and the phrase "Perfect Pixie". Purely for the ironic value, of course. (OK, yes, and I also had a sassy Tinkerbell travel mug that said "I May Have Wings, But I'm No Angel". Unfortunately, it was a piece of crap.)

Hmmm...better quit while I'm ahead...;)

M


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Ebbie
Date: 04 Aug 06 - 10:52 PM

Years ago, Molly, my best friend was also so tiny she shopped in the kids' department. It wasn't easy for her- even shoes tended not to look adult. I remember she wore a lot of jeans. It must be harder today. At least then the shirts weren't cropped to show her belly button.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 05 Aug 06 - 07:28 AM

Wow - you have my sympathy, Molly. All those years I was grateful to be dressing sons, not daughters. The toughest I had to cope with were the baseball caps turned backwards and the pants so baggy they had to hold them up with their thumbs. But when I see what passes for girls/tweenies/teens "fashions" these days, I'm doubly grateful! The sexualization of children is disturbing indeed, and I, for one, don't pretend to understand it. What is it with adults these days?!?

Parents, especially!

Sexy styles beckon little girls, even at 6 yrs of age.

As they entered the store, which caters to elementary-school girls, Keith was stunned at the offerings. She quickly laid down some rules: no midriffs, no micro- minis, no low-slung jeans, no tart-in- training T-shirts.

"I'm a firm believer that girls and women of all ages should be able to wear whatever they want, but I'm not going to serve my daughter up on a platter," says Keith, who still can't believe she had to consider this issue as a kindergarten parent.


Last fall, one of my very pretty little 6 year old beginners used to show up for her piano lessons in gauzy glittery see-thru camisoles (complete with tiny little 'bra' showing through), miniskirts, nylons, heels, makeup. :-O   And she'd tell me, all downcast, about how 'fat' she thought she was too.

Migod, what is WITH her parents?!?

I shudder to think what styles/attitudes she'll have 'graduated' into, 10 years from now ...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: freda underhill
Date: 05 Aug 06 - 08:53 AM

I read an excerpt from a biography of an Australian actor who was a cross-dresser. he explained how when he was little, his father was violent and used to terrorise the family. When his father was angry, he used to climg into the wardrobe in his mother's bedroom to hide, and used to cling on to her soft dresses for comfort. He believes this is why he became a cross-dresser as an adult - he finds the touch and softness of women's clothes comfortiung and protective.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: freda underhill
Date: 05 Aug 06 - 08:54 AM

oops, sorry about that typing!!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 05 Aug 06 - 11:22 AM

My six year old grandson loves shopping for clothes. When he was about three I was getting clothes for him to wear from his wardrobe. He turned down several items and, when I held up T-shirt and pants for inspection, he looked and said "Yes, but do they GO?".


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 07:52 AM

Dear *daylia*,

I have to tell you that I really, really don't hate shopping because it's a "gendered activity". I hate it because it's often a waste of time and a source of frustration! The reality of modern consumer society can often reduce me to an apoplectic rage. The propaganda tells us that we have lots of 'choice' but in actual fact the average high street is full of identical shops trying to sell us rubbish that we don't need - and there is really very little choice. Until recently I worked in the R&D department of "fast moving consumer goods" company. The unspeakably arrogant shits in marketing were always telling us that we needed to find ways to fill "consumer needs". What actually happened was that they either copied what the competition was doing or converted the latest fad into product form and then manipulated the market research data to 'prove' that the consumer wanted the product ... anyway, needless to say I could go on and on about how much I hate 'marketing professionals' (excuse me while I spit!!!) so I'd better stop now!
Apart from that, as a single man, I have to do all my own shopping or I'd be reduced to wearing rags and starving ...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 08:35 AM

Until recently I worked in the R&D department of "fast moving consumer goods" company. The unspeakably arrogant shits in marketing were always telling us that we needed to find ways to fill "consumer needs".

Shimrod, thanks for the inside scoop. I'm glad you're not suckered in by the ole 'woman's work' thing -- all too many people still are, from what I've seen, especially the older crowd (say 40 and up). And of course, single guys don't have that 'out', regardless of their age ... ;-)

And I agree, shopping so often = disappointment, frustration and a big waste of time and energy - especially now that the markets are swamped with low-quality items manufactured in the far east.
This is another reason it takes me so !!&&***@@!!! long to shop. I refuse to fork out my hard-earned money for over-priced cheaply-made badly-designed ill-fitting chintzy-looking crap guaranteed to fade, fray and fall apart at the first laundering. More often than not, I come home empty-handed and firmly resolved to make do with what I have these days. WHich means I'm spending less on clothes - fine by me!

PLease give those marketing moguls a big hint from me - if you really want to 'fill consumer needs', try this: stock your stores with good quality, well-made, reasonably priced, attractively designed, durable items that are locally designed and manufactured. Believe it or not, supporting homegrown businesses is important to me! And if you absolutely MUST buy from China, check such things as colorfast dyes, double-stitched seams, launderable fabrics and, especially, zippers that are made to function more than once or twice.

I swear, they must never have seen a zipper in China till they started exporting clothes for Westerners!

It would also be helpful to include on the tags something like "The workers who produced this item earn a decent living wage of XXXXXX per year in a factory with high health and safety standards". AFTER you've made certain that's all true, of course!

But that's enough of a rant for now. freda, jacqui - thanks for the stories. And jacqui - that grandson of yours will be attracting the girls like bees to honey someday. I can just see it coming!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 08:42 AM

*daylia* - he's already doing it!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 08:45 AM

Shoddy craftsmanship, strings hanging out all over the place, not to mention the relative lack of anything affordable not made in some sweatshop in God-knows-where...it's enough to make me want to buy a damn sewing machine.

Molly, I want you to know I'm seriously considering your sewing machine idea. No kidding. That would side-step so many problems, and give me another 'creative outlet' too. I've discovered over the last few years that I must be old enough to honestly enjoy the peace and quiet of gardening now, for the first time in my life -- maybe I have enough time and patience for sewing now too.

Ain't middle age wonderful!   :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 06 Aug 06 - 12:34 PM

I bought a simple sewing machine ten years ago, having never used one before, taught myself to sew - it's pretty easy! I make most of my own shirts, light jackets and accessories. Jeans I still purchase, as they are the one article of womens clothing made in a sufficient range of sizes and fits for most women. However, I am amply endowed, chestwise, and the kinds of ugly crap available for upper wear for those of us with 'Big-uns' - well, I ain't wearin' it.

I was lucky enough to end up making costumes for a local museum, and was taught how to make, size and alter patterns. The fit of my clothing now is just for me, and the fabrics are pretty and good quality.

Of course, now I'm a fabric hoarder, just so you are warned of the downside to sewing your own. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 03:03 AM

another reason women shop for clothes more often than men ...

Some years ago a very good friend (female) offered the opinion that a reason for more frequent shopping for clothes by women was that "their shape changes more often."

I don't recall taking her comment seriously at the time, and would hesitate to suggest that it means much now; but I can see some plausibility that there might be an influence(?)

The emphasis on juvenile and adolescent "fashions" is quite obviously a result of "money following the market." Growing persons do need regular replacements of clothing to maintain proper fit; and it appears that the constant rotation of fads and fetishes is a deliberate attempt to prevent "hand me down" passage of juvenile clothing to the next generation, in an effort to make sure that each new size, for each person, is a new purchase.

As Shimrod suggests, the marketing shitheads [chose your own noun] and buyers seem to control what's available. In the early 1960s, the Harvard Business Review offered several articles debating the "threshold market share" that a product must reach to "be a required offering by all major retailers." Only a bit later, the emphasis changed to the "threshold market share" that a product must reach to "drive all competing products out of the marketplace." By the mid to late 1960s, it was assumed that at least in the "mass retail markets" a 15% share of the market for an individual product probably was sufficient to eliminate effective competition.

The original Zip-Loc baggie reached 12% "market penetration" before it became literally impossible to buy a bag without a "zipper" on it. (A recent count at my local grocers found 38 different "brands" of 1-quart bags and 19 1-gallon bags, all with "zippers" and NONE of any size without. Since the zipper is not the best thing for all uses I sometimes buy the ziplocs and cut the zipper off for some uses, since all other kinds have disappeared. This isn't a totally satisfactory solution, since to support the "zipper" the bag has to be 3 times as thick as is optimum for freezer storage; but it's the best available.

Shoes for male wearers are another striking example of the disappearance of choice. They all look alike. They all weigh in at 4.9 pounds (or more) per pair. They're all ugly and hurt my feet. The situation is likely just as bad for women's shoes, but the more common complaint I hear is that they don't stock sizes large enough for most of my adult female friends (so they only intend to sell to children?).

John


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: *daylia*
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 08:44 AM

Bee, this feels mighty strange. Deja vu or something. My mother's name is Bea. *shiver shiver*   I think it's an omen ....

Between my mom and her mom, most of our clothes were handmade as kids (adn there were 6 of us, no small accomplishment!) Your warning reminds me of what it was like to grow up in a 'sewing household' - full of patterns, fabrics, notions, pins and measuring tapes. But I was never interested in sewing, myself. It seemed such an 'old lady thing' -- YIKES! See? I'm not only subconsciously sexist, but 'agist' too!

Egads ... see what 'issues' lie latent, just waiting to be discovered, in our clothing! Scary ...

Over the years I've regretted that I never learned sewing at my grandmother's knee. She didn't have the patience to teach me -- I didn't have the slightest inclination to learn. I was much too busy riding bikes, climbing trees and catching frogs. But I've seen the pictures of my mom when she was 3 or 4, way up north of Edmonton Alberta in the winter - wearing the lovely little hooded fur-lined winter jackets, leggings, mitts, knee-high moccs that my grandmother made, by hand, from the wild animals my grandfather hunted.

While the rest of the world was starving and reeling from the Great Depression in the 30's, my mom's family were literally living like kings way up there in the frozen North -- because they still knew HOW to live. How to meet their own needs independently, with nothing but a clean river, a garden and a forest. Without retailers or mass marketers or globalizers.

What I wouldn't give ....

And you're absolutely right, Bee -- sewing is a skill, a science and an art. I have a long LONG way to go before I could count on it for a wardrobe! Thanks for the encouragement! I can already do easy repairs by hand, but I've never used a machine or worked with a pattern, least of all alter one. And I'd need to do that too -- wow, for once I might have a collection of tops with wide enough shoulders and long enough arms to fit properly! (My problem up top is not the size of my bumps but the length of my bones). And slacks that actually fit properly at both ends? What a dream!! (Usually, pants that fit my waist/hips are too short in the legs. Except men's pants -- which are uncomfortable up top! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!)

I always figured I'm a fairly 'normal' build for a woman (5'6" and around 130 lbs) so you'd think I'd be fairly easy to fit too, but WRONG! I'm just not 'standard' enough -- average height and weight for women is 5'4" and around 140 lbs. So, typically women's clothes are made for shorter people with bigger bumps. And I'm not quite tall enough for the "Ms Tall" specialty shops - at least my sisters, at 5'9 or so, have that option!

Anyways, sorry to go on and on here thinkin out loud. Thanks for all the inspiration! And you're right, John, women are harder to fit in the first place, and the feminine silhouette tends to change more often (ie pregnancy). So we do spend more time, energy and money on clothing, whether we like it or not.

ANd enjoy your little sweetie to the max, jacqui!   :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Cross dressing' - a form of sexism?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Aug 06 - 08:53 AM

Long ago I came to the conclusion that if I wanted clothes that fitted and were comfortable, I'd be better off making them myself, which is what I now do. I've been blessed with an hourglass figure, it's just that most of the sand has slipped to the bottom. My clothing budget is miniscule compared with Limpits... she's had more spent on her this past 3 weeks than I spend on myself in 3 months!

But yes... I am now a cloth horder.

LTS


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Mudcat time: 14 April 7:46 PM EDT

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