It is socially acceptable for women to wear traditionally masculine clothing, and they do. Women wear suits and button down skirts and look amazing. However, it is not acceptable for a man to wear traditionally feminine clothing like dresses, skirts, heeled shoes, or makeup. Why is it normal for women to dress in “masculine” clothing, but it’s highly unusual for a man to dress in “feminine” clothing? The simple explanation is that being feminine is shameful.
It may seem as if this is an over analysis of something trivial. Clothing is often seen as frivolous and superficial, with little real significance; however, such a speculation completely ignores how clothing has been used to define wealth, class, and expression. It has been a vital part of society from the beginning of what historians consider society. It defines entire cultures and elicits controversy every day. In the 20s, the flappers made a statement by wearing dresses in which they showed their knees. This provocative clothing was a rebellion and very significant in the women’s rights movement. My point is, clothing is a defining part of society and often makes political statements.
So what does it say about our western culture and political climate that men cannot wear skirts when women wear traditionally masculine clothing? Well they would not want to look feminine; being feminine is shameful. So many women have been taught that in order to be taken seriously we must first diminish femininity in our appearance and in our interests. This stems from the stereotype that women are soft spoken and weak. Therefore, women want to distance themselves from that stereotype in order to present themselves as strong to the world. What this mentality ignores is overwhelming strength of women and the challenges of womanhood. If a girl is quiet or shy and likes traditionally feminine things, that should in no way imply that she is weak. Most women give birth throughout their lifetime; it is one of the most painful things a human can experience, and then they decide to do it again. Women are tough as nails. My point is, women are strong, and a society that views otherwise is brainwashed.
Things that seem trivial are often important because they are a reflection of the flaws in society. Boys not being able to wear skirts is at most a minor inconvenience. However, it is a reflection of toxic masculinity and how that diminishes femininity. Toxic masculinity is the strict set of rules that a man has to follow in order to be considered masculine and strong; this not only suffocates the individuality of men, but diminishes the strength and validity of women.
Boys should wear skirts. Not only to liberate themselves and allow for their expression, but to make an ethical statement that femininity is not shameful. In fact, it is a representation of strength and power.