I once saw a drag queen named Willam Belli pose an interesting point to his peers about this idea of men wearing "women's clothing." When one of his peers said something on the matter, Willam stated that they're not actually women's clothing because he bought them with the intention of wearing them, therefore the clothing isn't "women's clothing." I thought this revealed some inherent beliefs a lot of us have about "men's clothing" and "women's clothing" and whether or not there really is such a thing, despite what society would tell you.
I mean, of course, the term "cross-dresser" implies that you're someone who dresses in clothes of the other sex. So in that regard, you're technically wearing clothes that don't pertain to your assigned sex (well, at least society's crummy views of what men should wear). But once you buy "women's clothing" to wear, is it really "women's clothing" anymore, since it's a man that owns them?
I feel like we think of this because of what society has deemed acceptable for men and women to wear. Though women have some wiggle room as to what shirts, pants, and shoes they can wear while still appearing feminine, men's fashion rules are much stricter and can border into the "cross dressing" or "feminine" category very quickly. Prints that are slightly more feminine in nature are starting to become more mainstream, but of course, they're on button-up shirts that distinctly look like "men's clothing." Masculinity is just too fragile for its own good, wouldn't you say?
It just boggles my mind that, as a society, we made it so important to put genders upon certain articles of clothing. I get the identification part of it, and how it probably seemed like a good idea at one point so that misgendering someone wasn't a problem, but we're in a totally different time, now. It seems pretty limiting to make some pieces of fabric that happen to look frilly and lacy only something that women can wear and feel sexy about. It's as if women are the only people who can appreciate expression through clothing with lace and frills! Come on, society. Get your logic together.
However, if you REALLY want to get deep about this, what would become of the term "cross dressing" if we became a society that accepted genders dressing in clothes typical for the other sex? Would it just be a non-issue? If everyone could do it and it was just an accepted part of the current state of fashion, would there be a need to identify as a crossdresser, anymore? I'd like to think that one day, men can just wear dresses and panties and people just treat it like the norm. Only in an ideal world, I suppose...
So with all of this in consideration, it's hard to think of this concept of "women's clothing" still being regarded as such when men can own them, too. I know the sentiment behind it is that it's clothing that has a more feminine expression, thus it feels like it contrasts the masculine form. To me, it just seems like we've come too far to give a gender assignment to what is ultimately some pieces of fabric. We're all capable of expression in different ways, and labeling clothing as just for men or women feels too restrictive with how much the world of fashion continues to transform.
So what do you think of the idea of "women's clothing" being so strict to just women? Do you think it should be less strict, or is the clear distinction helpful for when it comes to expressing yourself through fashion? I'm looking forward to these comments, for sure!
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