Subject: Crossdressers: Men's Fashion or Feminine Hearts?
From: TheCallan (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 14 May 1998 - 16:22:26 BST
I'm surprised that nobody commented on Rachel Miller's "theorY' presentation
to California Dreamin 98.
First of all, Miller argues that theory is boring and irrelevant.
Then Miller launches into this odd little fantasia, the entire point of which
is that in the future, men's fashions will change. Miller gives three
10 years: a young male with padding to appear female winning a beauty pagent,
and the father is proud
20 years: the end of specialized crossdressing groups because crossdressing is
socially acceptable, so they are not needed
30 years: Men can wear skirts to football cames and cry on their birthdays.
It sounds to me like Miller's dream is simply to change the gender role of man
so that more fashions and behaviors are acceptable, even if those fashions
include men masqueading as female bodied and wearing women's clothes.
Skirts on men are acceptable today, although still rare enough to be
noticable. About a year ago, I passed some notes on to Miller about men in
skirts from alt.fashion, where women were clear that they had no objection to
men in skirts as long as those men didn't try to look like females, like
Yet, almost no transgender support group, including groups that cater to
straight men in dresses, draws a large contingent of manly looking men in
simply cutting edge or modern men's fashion.
Is that really the goal of crossdressers, simply to expand men's fashion
choices? I doubt it, because most of them drool over Vogue and not GQ, spend
money to appear as women born female, not as stylish men.
In the same way that women who wore slacks in the 30s were not trying to pass
a men, men who care about opening up mens fashion choices are not attending
crossdressers meetings. Yet crossdressers seem to want to keep up this
fantasy that it's just about clothes, that eroding gender lines is fine with
them, not transgressing or crossing them.
I have often been asked "If men could wear dresses -- though without the
padding, makeup and such that makes them appear female boddied -- would
transgender go away?" I don't think so, because I don't think it's about
clothes, no matter how much any of us protest that.
Every time I hear a transvestite say "Well, it's only the clothes," I wonder
if they mean that they really want more choice in men's fashions or really
want to wear clothes assigned to women. I suspect it's the latter, that it is
an expression of a transgendered heart, and that leads to the question: "If
gendered clothing and communication goes away, we can't tell what people mean
about themselves by the clothes they wear, then how can anyone express their
gender -- even the transgressive kind?"
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