Friday, May 21, 2021

When “Crossdressing” Becomes Just “Dressing”

Modern womenswear and menswear

Today, most females dress as males did in the past – wearing pants, flats, minimal or no makeup, shorter hairstyles, shaved heads, etc. Meanwhile, 
some males today dress like females did in the past – wearing skirts and dresses, heels, handbags, makeup, longer hair, etc. 

In the past, these females and males would be considered “crossdressers.” However, for a long time, females have been getting away with dressing like males without being called out as crossdressers. The old saw says that when a female dresses like a male, she is attempting to emulate the superior sex and is applauded, rather than derided for her efforts. So when a females dress as males did in the past, it is just considered “dressing” not crossdressing.

On the other hand, femininely-dressed males are still called crossdressers even though feminine male styles have been gaining popularity for awhile. The antithesis of the old saw says that when a male dresses like a female, he is demeaning himself because he is trying to emulate the inferior sex and as a result, he is mocked.  

But times are changing. Females are gaining on males. They are catching up and often surpassing males in many endeavors. 

When I started working in the 1970s, my managers were all males and they reported to males. There were very few females in managerial positions. Before I retired 35 years later, my managers were all females and they reported to females. Females filled many managerial positions company-wide.

The days of male superiority/female inferiority are numbered. As a result, slowly, but surely, males dressing in a “feminine” manner will be just that, dressing not crossdressing and thus, turning that old saw on its head. 

Will males dressing like males dressed in the past, that is, like empowered females dress, be considered crossdressing? Maybe not because a new version of that old saw says that when a male dresses like a modern empowered female, he is attempting to emulate the superior sex and is applauded, rather than derided for his efforts.

And so it goes.



Wearing Stella McCartney
Wearing Stella McCartney



Tim Hovey (right) femulating in the 1956 film Everything But the Truth.
Tim Hovey (right) femulating in the 1956 film Everything But the Truth.

15 comments:

  1. So well written and eloquently put, Sweetie. I may quote you in MY blog! (with your permission, of course)

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    1. You have my permission to quote me, Julie.

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  2. Ooh..... It's the child actor. Too cute!

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    1. AnonymousMay 23, 2021

      While searching for photos from "Everything But The Truth", I found this photo http://exitinterview.biz/lists/illustrations/hovey_everything.jpg
      Cheer up, kid! You don't know how many of us gals would have loved to be in your situation!

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  3. That is a very pertinent point. I do think that, as the gaps close and women do get recognition for surpassing or being equal with male peers, we shall see an increasing defence of the behaviour you accurately portray. Witness the direction of anti-trans bills (very much attacking the 'males' 'becoming' 'females' too) and the increasing derision for cross-dressing.

    However, the upbeat part of your thrust, that eventually male cross-dressing will become simply dressing - that I also agree with! I think there have been radical and fundamental generational shifts already - hence the screaming of the out-going cultural norms we see around us today.

    In the meantime, and if you'll permit me, I'd like to ask an additional question: to what extent do men cross-dress solely because it is considered against the grain of the cultural norms - that is, when cross-dressing becomes dressing, will we still see the situation of men deliberately seeking out female-cut versions of clothing because it is the female aspect that is the important part. Or, put another way, will we see the phenomenon as we see with women today dressing in male tailored clothing?

    Sorry, you might be able to tell that this is something I am fascinated by in general! Thank you for the opportunity (and the excuse) to join in the discussion!

    Joanna

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    1. AnonymousMay 26, 2021

      I cant wait for the day when no one says anything if a Male dreases in female clothes. To me this is a double standard in public

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  4. Maybe men could be rid of the mandatory dull prosaic hackneyed look of the coat and tie look for formal wear. You see gala events where men look like penguins wearing their tuxedos while women get to wear their gorgeous gowns.
    Besides those of us who wear bras due to chest mounds such as myself would have an easier time adjusting their bra straps without the noose around the neck.

    Hallelujah!

    John

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    1. AnonymousMay 22, 2021

      Why not keep the penguin look for formal wear and be able to spend the rest (>90%) of the time in comfortable skirts or dresses?
      Lucy

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    2. Because I'm SICK and TIRED of the penguin look. I do wear dresses most of the time.

      John

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    3. Billy Porter is a perfect example. There are a few who have pushed the envelope by wearing a dress or skirt but it a rare occasion and aside from Billy, really more a stunt than a statement.

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  5. A big step is when they stop being "women's clothes" and start being "my clothes"

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    1. So true metaphorically, and since we bought and paid for them, true in actual fact as well :).

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    2. Lori and Fiona, I agree on both counts. If I bought the clothes, their mine. One of the online sources I browse is Woman Within. In their brand banner at the top of the screen is a list of other brands under their umbrella. A new brand is "Intimates for all." Intrigued, I clicked hoping to see a non gendered shopping experience, ten tabs at the top of the page. None of which are labelled as 'WOMEN'S" but there is a tab marked "MEN'S" so it isn't any different. How I long to see a catalogue showing people like me modeling the garments. Even in products designed for the average Femulator we see the garment or products intended to be worn by a Femulator worn by a tiny person who was female at birth. It's frustrating because I'd like to see how it fits on MY shape.

      Rant over. Thanks for attending my Heather talk. Peace to all.

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    3. AnonymousMay 26, 2021

      That is how I respond if someone questions what I am wearing. I say why is it womens clothes. It is what I feel comfortable wearing. To many times we think we have to label everything. My question is why can women wear jean skirts because they feel sexy or it is comfortable.

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  6. Hello, I was wondering -- does anyone know where you can watch a copy of "Everything But the Truth"?

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