Men using women’s fashion


Style Guides

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I have been trying to figure out why it bothers me when men (who are not drag queens) wear stilettos. I love drag queens, and I find them very inspiring. This is not about that. This is about regular men, who are not dressed as women –and who may or may not be gay– wearing stilettos, purportedly for “functional” reasons of tango.

I felt that I was just being nasty.

This summer in Berlin I’ve also been seeing non-cross-dressing men wearing dresses.

And today I saw a guy doing his grocery shopping with a purse. Not a man-bag, not a gym-tote. A purse. And I felt the same thing. So that means it’s not about what’s going on in tango.

I felt offended.


Because we don’t wear dresses because they are more comfortable, carry purses because it’s convenient, or wear high heels because they keep the weight on our toes!

We wear dresses because our prospects depend on presenting our bodies in the most flattering possible way and showing off our legs. We wear high heels because they slim our legs. We carry purses because most of our clothes don’t have pockets, and even if they did stuffing them as men do would cause unattractive bulges, and because we have equipment for responsibilities that men don’t have. We are supposed to reapply our makeup several times a day or even change from day to night, we need to discretely carry menstruation equipment, and we may even need to swap shoes if we can’t manage the whole day in those stilettos.

When men adopt “women’s fashion” to gender-bend or be cool they are trivializing the realities of gender.


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