GENDERLESS CLOTHING: MEN'S SKIRTS & WOMEN'S SUITS
Men wear suits, women wear dresses, or so we’re often told. Clothing has historically divided us along gender lines, but as these definitions continue to blur, is it finally time to leave our old prejudices behind?
The history of clothes is one of labelling and costuming, of denoting who we are and what we do. Every profession has an expectation of how you should look, act, and think, and society is not much different. Masculine clothes, typically, symbolise that you provide for the family, father children, and protect the societal unit. On the other hand, female clothes serve as an indicator of wifely duties, homemaking, and mothering.
The problem is that these gender roles suck, not to mention there are many more than just the two offered by most clothing outlets. Luckily, we live in a time where we are beginning to pick apart society’s expectation of gender, although not quickly enough for our liking.
Society’s traditional beliefs are being challenged daily, and gender expression is at the forefront of this fight. We are long past these stereotypes of husbands, wives, boys, girls, so do we really need a uniform for our gender? Despite what internet randos will tell you, the answer is a resounding no. So, let’s change the narrative.
Women wearing men’s clothes has been accepted (to a degree) for longer than men in women’s clothes. However, the idea that we even have ‘women’s and men’s clothes’ is an outdated dogma that tells you no more about a person than their skin colour, spiritual beliefs, or their profession.
Take a look at some of the big stars in pop-culture right now, say, Harry Styles and Ruby Rose. Both have long rejected how society expects them to look, be they opting for a suit instead of a dress or choosing a floral blouse instead of a button-down shirt. The arts have long been filled with individuals toying with the idea of gender and it’s finally starting to gather momentum in the world at large. These days it’s not uncommon to see people on the street and be unsure of their gender, but guess what, it’s not your business! If they seem confident, let them be confident.
The biggest barrier to the total acceptance of freedom-of-clothing is systemic bias, and the prejudice inherent in the way we do things - oftentimes without even realising. From birth till death, girls are pink and boys are blue, anyone who steps outside those lines is often side-eyed. Many of us unintentionally feed these stereotypes through purchases, word choice, and unconscious decisions. Recognizing this is the first step in moving forward as an accepting and gender fluid society.
Recently, several clothing outlets have launched gender-neutral collections, and this is definitely a step in the right direction. For those whose clothing choices exist outside of traditional gender lines or who feel at home presenting a more androgynous look, this can be chalked up as a win. However, these options arguably still serve to segment human beings along some kind of arbitrary gender line.
If we want to go further and eradicate these stereotypes altogether, perhaps we should move away from the entire ‘women’s clothes’ and ‘men’s clothes’ completely. For most of my life, I wore women’s jeans because, guess what, I’ve got big legs and they were more comfortable. Clothing stores can play a vital role in deconstructing these biases by not instantly trying to categorise shoppers as soon as they land on the page. “Do you want the women’s site of the men’s site?” MF, I’m just trying to find some clothes I like and actually enjoy wearing.
Sure, some people may say, “Ahh I ordered the women’s shirt by accident, but I wanted men’s”. Well, does it look good on you? Do you feel confident and comfortable? Then by all means, wear it!
The brave pioneers already wearing what they like are making the world better for everyone. If you’re the best accountant in the world, it shouldn’t matter whether you’re wearing a dress, dungarees, or a three-piece suit with a lacey thong underneath, you deserve a chance to show what you can do. Although the wheels of society turn slowly, as people begin to dress for their likes, comfort, and desires, clothes will become less about defining gender and more about expressing self-confidence.
No matter what you choose to put on before you head out the door, Ella, our scientifically engineered vibrator, fits you in the place that matters. Explore your body as much as your wardrobe and live your best life.