When Men Wear Skirts
December 31, 2009
Radical Masculinity for Carnal Nation
At a bar last week, catching up with some feminist queer old friends, I began discussing my ideas around Radical Masculinity and the theories I am putting forward about the ways masculinity needs work. I drunkenly argued that women have surpassed men with some of their access, range, and gender acceptance, only to be met with dismissive pshaws.
“Come on,” they said. We all come from a feminist, women-are-oppressed-in-this-patriarchal-hierarchy background. “Men aren’t oppressed!”
“It’s true!” I drunkenly argued. “Can women wear pants, acceptably, with no consequence?”
They laughed. Yes, of course.
“And can men wear skirts?” I pressed.
“The word you’re looking for is no.
“Can men have long hair and still be considered manly (outside of the heavy metal scene)? Can men bake cupcakes or needlepoint or grow sunflowers without taking shit from his buddies? Can a butch order a vanilla vodka and cranberry without getting sneered at? Can you name five positive, good traits about masculinity? Can you point to positive masculine role models? When men wear skirts, with no consequence, with no backlash, with full acceptance, then I’ll accept that we’ve reclaimed and revalued femininity and masculinity to the same extent.”
I was ranting, it’s true. But the point still remains: masculinity has a long way to go. Masculine people still need social permission to be able to pursue the wide range of interests or activities or personal tastes that are (for the most part, though not without caveats) already available to women.