A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a women’s clothing maker who touts a new design of women’s shirts. Their claim to fame is that the shirt they have designed is a man’s shirt tailored to accommodate the shape of a woman, without feminizing the shirt. Upon deeper thought, it occurred to me that this shirt makes a much broader statement.
When a little girl likes to play football, climb trees, and play typically male games, what is she called? She’s called a tomboy, and this is not a negative label – it’s usually said with a smile, as in “She’s such a little tomboy.” If a little boy likes to play with dolls and play with little girls what is he called? He’s called a sissy, and it is not at all positive – it is pejorative.
If a career woman is decisive and aggressive, she is admired. If a career man is sensitive, prone to tears, and displays emotion, he isn’t going to climb the corporate pyramid very far. Not long ago, I was in a business meeting. One of the ranking executives (male) came into the room wearing a very nice gray pinstripe suit with a light blue turtleneck shirt. Following him was his executive assistant (female) wearing a brown pinstripe suit and orange turtleneck shirt. (I privately labeled them as Thing One and Thing Two – as in Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat). When the lady came in dressed in that suit, no one gasped; no one reacted at all. I thought to myself, “I wonder how they’d react if I came in wearing a skirt and blouse?”
If you are reading this, odds are that you enjoy wearing feminine things. That’s what Xdress and Body Aware are all about. Chances are also that you are very discreet about wearing your lovely lingerie. Being gender fluid, we are painfully aware of the double standard in our society that says women can dress like men, but men absolutely cannot dress like women. It kind of goes back to the childhood scenario of tomboy (good) versus sissy (bad).
What does all this say? Basically, male good, female bad. Gloria Steinem, the patron saint of feminism, apparently didn’t get quite as far as she hoped. Essentially, she managed to get women to emulate men in order to excel in the corporate world and beyond. One thing good that did come out of the feminism movement was equal pay for women, and that is a very good thing. It puzzles me that what Steinem championed was called “feminism”. It is anything but. A more appropriate label would be “masculinism,” as the movement puts down all things feminine, and being a traditional girly girl is not a good thing.
My wife struggled with ascending in the corporate world and finally did what she was destined to do all along – she left it and set up her own business. Happy to say, she is very successful and she is very feminine. In her frustration, she sighed and said, “Honey, it’s a man’s world.” How true those words are.
So what does all this mean to you and me? First of all, we aren’t going to change society. As the saying goes, it is what it is. While we aren’t going to change society, don’t let society change you. As I’ve walked deeper into the feminine side that is a part of me, I’ve never been happier and my marriage is the best it has ever been. When I stepped out of the binary male and embraced those traits that are typically associate with females – patient, kind, nurturing, listening, supportive – our marriage began soaring to new heights. When I embraced who I truly am, my wife said on a number of occasions, “What did you do with my husband?” and she meant this in a very positive way. Because you and I have chosen to be true to who we are, it does put us in a rather precarious position with our society, but for me it has been well worth it. Move on, dear friends, from the constraints of our society and celebrate who you are. Enjoy those panties with all their wonderful fabrics, textures, and designs. Luxuriate in those camisoles (the Xdress Glistening Satin Camisole is my absolute favorite), and enjoy the feel of your beautiful bras with all the lace and bows. Who you are is neither good nor bad – it is unique. Let’s celebrate that uniqueness and be who we know ourselves to be!
Angie, Guest Blogger
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