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Articles > Rant November, 02, 2015

Sexism? It’s all about clothes…

Shane Janik
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Essentially, both varieties of human are the same. Given equal aesthetic encouragement, visual differentiation would be far more difficult. Discrimination based on sex is everywhere you look, but it isn’t going to change unless the right things are denounced. It’s easy enough to target male bastardism with general outrage, but to eradicate inequality it must first be universally understood that there is no inherent difference between men and women. Both genders are equally as horrible as each other. Any definitive rift is an invention. And in no area is such segregation more obvious than in fashion. Obviously.

Victorias secret

Photo by Cyril Caton

Now, when I say ‘fashion,’ I don’t refer to popular trends like shoulder pads and swastika arm bands. I mean the institution of clothes wearing overall. For a woman this is typically assumed to be an area of deep interest, hence the sizable industry based around women’s fashion: dresses, corsets, flares, you name it. If you’re a man: Shirt, jeans. Jean, shirt. Shirt, jacket, jeans. A monotonous damnation to drab fashion.

Admittedly, this might be vulgar exaggeration; but suits are claustrophobically distressing and chinos are inexcusably awful, so sadly not by much. The severe design limitations of male clothing lines is the most grotesque exhibition of tight-arsed distribution since the Peanut-butter Kitkat Chunky – and not nearly as rewarding.

Clothes in rational terms are little more than a sensible means of covering up that hideous meat wrap you call a body, hiding it from the other self-conscious citizens you’re forced to share a planet with. If this was the simple frame of mind clothes were produced in there’d be no issue. However, the fashion industry deems females in need of superior garment choice.

Let’s take underwear for example – I personally made it into my teens without once selecting my own (like most males), resulting in years of wearing badly sized grey monstrosities bearing Tesco labels. It’s unavoidable when none of us are encouraged to take an interest in clothes early on, whilst it’s common practise for girls to studiously seek out preferable wear from infancy. Though if we were to have investigated the matter sooner, we’d have discovered merely two options to decide between for the rest of time – boxers or briefs.

No other choice. And definitely no cross dressing if you wanted something functional. Granted that women possess slightly more to conceal & support, but does this really justify so extensive a range of frilled cloth incomparable with our 4ft squared of wall space? Wandering through the women’s section of any department store provokes a pang of inadequacy when observing gargantuan feminine displays and a realisation that we’ve been deprived of lace. And any attempts to rectify matters through direct investigation of its gentle caress against the skin leads to your sudden security escort out of the shop.

But our polyester induced inferiority was confounded when even this meagre choice was scrapped and boxers were declared a universal item. Whoever initially produced the boxer design should have been publicly flogged for not predicting such maliciousness. At the very least shorts manufacturers should be far more anatomically accurate in their designs for male wearers.

To be perfectly honest I wouldn’t have minded if there had been some sort of trade off. The mutual application of hosiery, for instance, would have been divine. Yet the pleasant sensation that accompanies donning stockings is socially denied as a comfort, wholly off limits to anyone with a Y chromosome. Sure, you can put them on beneath your trousers – but what’s the point? Oh shut up. We’ve all worn them in a curious moment and it’s damn depressing the male privilege to flaunt them hasn’t been retained: it makes you grieve the loss of gaiters.

The female populace’s abundance of fabrics can only be blamed on retribution for decades of patriarchal insolence and an architecturally envious alternative to our own bizarre physique. Inevitably it’s only a matter of time before women reign supreme, absent of revolt from us ‘blokes’ as we biodegrade in the corner like the shoddily clothed simpletons we’ve become, conspired against by dress clad genii who wouldn’t let us join in.

Equality is just a byword to disguise the chasms of gender division far too integrated in all facets of society. Perhaps this separation is necessary, but without encountering a garment coalition, I’m forced to see our current situation as flagrant disregard of the possibilities for collaboration.

Here’s hoping evolution promises our development into a herd of colourful hermaphroditic creatures. Then maybe we can go shopping together without awkwardly having to avoid the underwear section just because we’re not planning on wearing any. It’s not perverted interests that drive our fascination with lingerie, merely curiosity.

It may well be a banal chore for women, but men have never experienced this. Were clothing choice not exclusive, the genders may still choose to dress in their current styles, but as long as one section of society is denied something, then instinct creates a craving for that which is prohibited.

And that’s where sexism comes from!

First published on Oct 12th 2012

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  1. hala abdullahi

    Its true…this article just says what everyone is too afraid say

  2. Charlotte Bromwich

    This is an excellently worded article that creates some very interesting points, and while I agree that fashion is much more of a woman’s world your conclusive sentence literally made me choke!

    Sexism does not come from fashion. And what you are describing is not even sexist towards men. Men cannot wear women’s clothing because doing so ‘makes’ them feminine, which is deemed negative. Men do not have a wide variety of clothing for the same reason- a man who is interested in fashion is homosexual according to media stereotypes. Of course, it is not just men who enforce these images. Flicking through channels a few weeks ago I caught a glimpse of the panel of women on ‘Take Me Out’ all switching off their lights for a man who salsa danced because- tragically- they wanted a “real man’s man”.

    My point is, while everything you have said is unfortunately true it is the fear of femininity that has caused it. Can that ever change? I certainly hope so. But it is impossible for as long as we are bombarded with forced gender roles in children’s toys, fashion outlets and the media.