LucyMom08
But he's wearing a skirt...
March 6, 2013 at 11:13 PM

 

Last week, as part of a cultural discovery project for one of my classes, I spent three days wearing ‘girls’ clothes while going about my day. I wanted to explo...re the general reaction and preconceptions that people in my city have to clothing, especially in regards to gender. To me, the idea that a piece of fabric or accessory can be so intertwined with who are in our conscious is perplexing. I didn’t want to show off, or offend anyone by my act of curiosity. Rather, I wanted to act as a meticulous observer of the times, to see if the community around me was really as open-minded as I wanted to believe that it was. After all, if such things really only had a place in the realm of high-fashion and in Scottish tradition, then something bigger must be at work.

On the first day, I wore a long-sleeve pink top cropped at the collarbone. I received many compliments, a few glares and even a free Venti gingerbread latte. On the second, I rocked a pink blouse with a high-waisted belt. Again, the same amount of well-wishes, questions and passing eye-rolls. These things were to be expected, as it isn’t necessarily the norm to see someone like me wearing things like these. I felt collected and confident in these modest outfits, seemingly convinced that the world around me could care less about the clothes someone wore. Most affirming was the response to my nails, which were almost always met with a cheerful grin, a high-five and a few words of encouragement.

What happened on the third day changed my perspective on humanity forever. I dressed myself as I normally would; band t-shirt, cardigan, plain Vans, etc. However, instead of black jeans, I complimented the outfit with a plain black skirt and matching set of tights. For me, this was a huge step in self-image. Years ago, I was barely confident enough to leave the house for school. These days, the opposite couldn’t be more true. As I set off about my day, the absolute worst in people came out in a full-force flurry of expletives and discomfort. I was ridiculed in whispers. I was mocked in glances. I was obnoxiously and filthily cat-called by a construction crew who, from behind, couldn’t tell that I was a man. Stopping by a bathroom before a lecture, a frat-bro went out of his way to shove me into the adjacent wall after eyeing me up and down on his way out. Expletives and names that might induce me to vomit were I to repeat them, were casually thrown in my direction with almost zero passing thought. By day’s end, I feared a full-on breakdown, unable to stand up for myself or what I believed in to maintain the integrity of the observer’s perspective. In a way, I had no right to feel that way, mostly because of the realization that this is the way that many have to live their lives. I fought back tears as every stare and ill-formed word engrained themselves in my sub-conscious.

Though I may not know you, I think that it’s important that we all come to understand why these things happen. In my book, cat-calling, shaming and harassment are among the worst actions we can engage in. As a heterosexual male, I will never truly know the fear that women may experience while walking home from work, going see a friend for lunch, or being sized-up in public based on their clothing. I will never truly know the gut-rot that a transgender individual may feel while being eyed up and down at the store or in class, strangers seeming to think as if the clothing they see before them begs a legal invitation of ridicule. I will never truly know the plights of these people, but as an ally and a human being invested in true equality, it is now my obligation to stand up for them as if I did.

What scares me the most is not the glances, mixed emotions, or 10-page paper that will inevitably come as a by-product of this project. No, what scares me is that this is the world we live in. We exist in a place where individuals living their truths can be subjected, directly or otherwise, to fear simply for living those truths. We live in an age where feeling ‘normal’ in your own clothing can create unfathomable contention with strangers, despite them having zero investment in their lives. We live in a world where the material, the fabric, the pieces that adorn you are somehow allowed to say more about who you are than the convictions in your heart and the sincerity in your deeds.

I don’t know about you, but I refuse that world. I refuse to let these things overcome the passion and genuine honesty that I’ve been so fortunate to bear witness to in my time. I refuse to let backwards, unprogressive mindsets stifle the glow and drive of those who are undeservingly robbed of it. Don’t say it can’t happen to you. If it happened to me, under the most average of circumstances on the streets in a progressive-leaning city, it could happen to anyone, and that is something I truly do not understand.

After all, it’s just a skirt.

What is it about a piece of inanimate, plain fabric that scares you so much?

-Tommy

Replies

  • purpleducky
    March 8, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    No one has the right to physically assault me for my "choice" to be male. The consequences you mention can include verbal harassment, physical altercations, and even murder. No matter how someone chooses to dress that is not acceptable.

    Quoting inspain:

    In a perfect world, you'd be right.

    But we don't live in a perfect world.

    Fact is, conforming is the ONLY way to fit in.

    If you choose not to conform, you choose not to fit in and you must accept the consequences.  You may end up marginalized or mocked or mimicked.  You never know.  But you definitely will  NOT FIT IN.

    Quoting parentalrights1:

    Are you gonna sit there and pretend to be the good rational one now?

    People shouldn't have to conform to fit in. I don't care about what you think the real world is. If the real world is shorty then it needs to change because it can. It's people like you that want to keep it shitty. You lack empathy and understanding


    Quoting TranquilMind:

     On second thought, never mind.  








  • inspain
    by inspain
    March 8, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    I didn't say it was acceptable.  At all.  I agree, it's not okay.  

    What I said was that comformity is the only way to fit in with the general populace.  It sucks, but that's the way humans are.  

    Mostly the bad reactions are limited to eye-rolls and mumbles.  The violence is not acceptable, ever.

    Quoting purpleducky:

    No one has the right to physically assault me for my "choice" to be male. The consequences you mention can include verbal harassment, physical altercations, and even murder. No matter how someone chooses to dress that is not acceptable.

    Quoting inspain:

    In a perfect world, you'd be right.

    But we don't live in a perfect world.

    Fact is, conforming is the ONLY way to fit in.

    If you choose not to conform, you choose not to fit in and you must accept the consequences.  You may end up marginalized or mocked or mimicked.  You never know.  But you definitely will  NOT FIT IN.

    Quoting parentalrights1:

    Are you gonna sit there and pretend to be the good rational one now?

    People shouldn't have to conform to fit in. I don't care about what you think the real world is. If the real world is shorty then it needs to change because it can. It's people like you that want to keep it shitty. You lack empathy and understanding


    Quoting TranquilMind:

     On second thought, never mind.  









  • purpleducky
    March 8, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Then please stop blaming the victim. The only person to blame for violent actions is the person commiting the violent action. I do not accept the consequences of violence against me. I realize they may be a reality but I am not going to live my life in fear of being a victim.

    Quoting inspain:

    I didn't say it was acceptable.  At all.  I agree, it's not okay.  

    What I said was that comformity is the only way to fit in with the general populace.  It sucks, but that's the way humans are.  

    Mostly the bad reactions are limited to eye-rolls and mumbles.  The violence is not acceptable, ever.

    Quoting purpleducky:

    No one has the right to physically assault me for my "choice" to be male. The consequences you mention can include verbal harassment, physical altercations, and even murder. No matter how someone chooses to dress that is not acceptable.

    Quoting inspain:

    In a perfect world, you'd be right.

    But we don't live in a perfect world.

    Fact is, conforming is the ONLY way to fit in.

    If you choose not to conform, you choose not to fit in and you must accept the consequences.  You may end up marginalized or mocked or mimicked.  You never know.  But you definitely will  NOT FIT IN.

    Quoting parentalrights1:

    Are you gonna sit there and pretend to be the good rational one now?

    People shouldn't have to conform to fit in. I don't care about what you think the real world is. If the real world is shorty then it needs to change because it can. It's people like you that want to keep it shitty. You lack empathy and understanding


    Quoting TranquilMind:

     On second thought, never mind.  










  • inspain
    by inspain
    March 8, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Oh, FFS, I'm not blaming the victim, I'm blaming human nature and people who are unwilling or incapable of evolving and accepting that it's okay to be different.
    I'm sorry if you've been the victim, it's awful and terribly unfair, even the casual comments or ignoring or eye-rolls and, again, any violence or intimidation (the same thing, as far as I'm concerned) is absolutely wrong and unacceptable.  Don't live in fear.  Stand up and I know that people like me will stand with you.  

    But, please, let's not be so PC that reality is off limits.  That's the best way to know what's coming and how to avoid (and, maybe, stop) it.

    Quoting purpleducky:

    Then please stop blaming the victim. The only person to blame for violent actions is the person commiting the violent action. I do not accept the consequences of violence against me. I realize they may be a reality but I am not going to live my life in fear of being a victim.

    Quoting inspain:

    I didn't say it was acceptable.  At all.  I agree, it's not okay.  

    What I said was that comformity is the only way to fit in with the general populace.  It sucks, but that's the way humans are.  

    Mostly the bad reactions are limited to eye-rolls and mumbles.  The violence is not acceptable, ever.

    Quoting purpleducky:

    No one has the right to physically assault me for my "choice" to be male. The consequences you mention can include verbal harassment, physical altercations, and even murder. No matter how someone chooses to dress that is not acceptable.

    Quoting inspain:

    In a perfect world, you'd be right.

    But we don't live in a perfect world.

    Fact is, conforming is the ONLY way to fit in.

    If you choose not to conform, you choose not to fit in and you must accept the consequences.  You may end up marginalized or mocked or mimicked.  You never know.  But you definitely will  NOT FIT IN.

    Quoting parentalrights1:

    Are you gonna sit there and pretend to be the good rational one now?

    People shouldn't have to conform to fit in. I don't care about what you think the real world is. If the real world is shorty then it needs to change because it can. It's people like you that want to keep it shitty. You lack empathy and understanding


    Quoting TranquilMind:

     On second thought, never mind.  











  • Redwall
    by Redwall
    March 8, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    I'm sorry and I truly am...but I find a man in a skirt offensive.  Unless you're wearing a kilt and are from Scotland.  

  • jesusismyfriend
    March 8, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    People are so ignorant and unaccepting. We are to love one another. If I wre there when he got shoved and ridiculed I would have stood up for him.

  • muslimahpj
    March 8, 2013 at 7:30 PM


    Quoting Redwall:

    I'm sorry and I truly am...but I find a man in a skirt offensive.  Unless you're wearing a kilt and are from Scotland.  

    No ill intent in this, but, why is it offensive to you? (Sincerely curious)

  • inspain
    by inspain
    March 8, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    I'd like to know too.  I'm curious as to how it could "offend" and not just be an odd thing to do.

    Quoting muslimahpj:


    Quoting Redwall:

    I'm sorry and I truly am...but I find a man in a skirt offensive.  Unless you're wearing a kilt and are from Scotland.  

    No ill intent in this, but, why is it offensive to you? (Sincerely curious)