Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Men’s underwear in the 21st century

With women insisting ever more firmly on their menfolk looking decorative and pretty, what a male wore under his dress was just as important as the dress itself. As the market for decorative underwear for women had collapsed in favour of practical, simple styles, canny lingerie manufacturers shifted production to male ranges.

The trend for ‘feminine’ underwear for men sold on the open market was initiated by items such as those illustrated below from the Japanese site Wishroom, active from 2008.

Although many men scoffed when such products first became available, this trend quickly spread from being a marginal source of bemusement to a global fashion sensation. Wishroom prefigured the sort of underwear that all men and boys would be wearing by about the middle of the century. Often impractical and uncomfortable, it illustrates neatly how what males wore was determined by the need to please women above all else.

wishroom image

Wishroom image 1

Wishroom image 2

Wishroom image 3

Wishroom image 4

Wishroom image 5

Although males don’t usually have any need for a brassiere, they were worn for the sake of decoration and to hide the wearer’s nipples for modesty. Needless to say, they were flatter than the cupped variety still worn by women (but which now eschewed decorativeness of any kind).

The division of labour according to gender

While girls are busying studying for their careers, their brothers are expected to do the housework, in preparation for their future lives as homemakers.

Most girls refuse to do housework because it is associated with boys and therefore beneath their dignity.

Digital painting.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Tommy advert

Tommy was a clothing brand that started up in the 2030s marketing dresses to boys. It was a typical example of a firm that formerly produced clothes for females but had to reorientate itself to the new world of the genderquake if it was to keep trading.

As the ‘pansy’ trend took off, Tommy quickly repositioned itself to become a market leader in excessively ‘boyish’ styles, as in the advert reproduced here.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Eve’s Rib on deviantArt

my dA siteFans of Boys in the Pink and its sister blog, Eve’s Rib, may like to know that I can be found on deviantArt:

Despite what its name might suggest, deviantArt is not a porn site (!) but a place for any artist to exhibit and discuss art of any kind. It has over 11 million members and over 100 million pieces of art. So go enjoy!

I’ve not finished posting all the artwork from the blogs but should catch up fairly soon. You can also see a few things I’ve picked out by other deviantArt users under Faves.

Zipping her brother’s dress

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The new masculinity

Millions of males now entered upon a strange new world of cosmetics, lingerie and the soft, enticing folds of skirts and petticoats. Instead of getting muddy on the football pitch or playing war games, boys were growing their hair longer and wearing accessories such as ribbons and alice bands. They went shopping together to enthuse over lipsticks and dresses. They pierced their ears to wear ear-rings and spent huge amounts of time filing and painting their nails.

They didn’t have to worry about money, careers, exams and the other burdens carried by the females, only about looking pretty. It was a very new way of behaving but also, provided one could accept one’s inferior status, a rather pleasurable one. And it was heightened by the satisfaction of knowing that one was free of responsibilities, that one would be protected by a strong woman.

By the second half of the 21st century a new generation of young people had polarised decisively. Girls all believed that dresses were strictly for boys and only ever wore bifurcated clothing. They were the dominant sex and they knew it, and they behaved accordingly, being firm, assertive, courageous and ambitious. Boys took it for granted that they belonged in skirts and gradually became shrinking violets quick to submit to a girl’s will. An entire generation of boys was growing up who had never worn a pair of trousers.

The most remarkable trend was probably the ‘pansy’ style for boys. This was a style of extreme ‘boyishness’, exemplified by ringlets, hairbows, full petticoats, handbags in the shapes of hearts, and the deliberate adoption of a coy facial expression and very cutesy, mincing behaviours. The lineage of this trend, which put prettiness on a pedestal, ran all the way back to chocolate-box Victorian girlhood, and was popular with boys who enjoyed the new male stereotype the most intensely.

Of course, the process was not simple. It did not take place at the same speed everywhere in the world. Only a minority of boys chose to become ‘pansies’. Plenty of senior female commentators disapproved of what had been done to boys, as in the famous 2037 article by Times editor Patricia Finch, written even before the phenomenon was fully developed, in which she bemoaned “the shallow, frilly-skirted and air-headed burdens on society that now pass for boys in this country.”

Men and women alike knew that men had once been considered uniquely able to rule, and this knowledge affected the male response to what was happening, adding an ingredient of resentment and humiliation to the mix that caused definite social problems. Precisely to what extent females would dominate males was a question that only history would answer.

But the basic order was very clear. Boys were the new girls. Femininity was the new masculinity. Trouser-wearing females went out to study and work while their dress-wearing males were kept at home. The sexes had swapped places.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Making the change

Only when women were indisputably on top did it become possible to seriously reverse the way the sexes clothed themselves. Now that they were financially dependent upon women, men found that the decisions about how they dressed were rapidly being taken away from them and made by their wives.

Before the genderquake, any male who wished to wear a dress would immediately have his sexuality questioned. He must be either a homosexual or uncomfortable with his identity as a man. After the genderquake, there was a wave of opinion in the media suggesting that men ought for a variety of reasons to wear dresses as a matter of course. Let us summarise the key pressures:

1. It was seen as more natural for women to wear trousers and men dresses, for reasons of anatomy.

2. Aggressive female supremacist campaigns were appearing, demanding that men be denied the right to wear trousers at all.

3. Women’s refusal to engage any more with the fripperies of traditional femininity meant that the dress-making and cosmetics industries needed a new market — and targeted males instead. There followed a flood of adverts, magazines, celebrity endorsements etc that normalised the wearing of makeup and dresses by men with surprising speed.

4. The professions were completely dominated by women. Males needed to try and entice the breadwinning sex by adopting more decorative, charming clothes. It was in their own interest to ‘get pretty’ if they were to entice the alpha female of their dreams.

5. As society continued to shift in favour of women, a wife who let her husband wear trousers was increasingly seen as weak, her authority being challenged by her man. A trophy husband in a pretty dress became a status symbol, evidence of a woman’s machisma (the female version of machismo). Women became more and more stern about putting their man in his place.

6. Powerful women generally employed males in inferior supporting roles such as receptionists and secretaries. This gratified their female ego and in addition they liked a bit of eye candy; men discovered that if they turned up to an interview in a silky blouse and short skirt they were more likely to be given the job, at a time when their job opportunities were becoming fewer and fewer.

7. In a world where all the females insisted on wearing trousers, wearing a skirt or dress was actually a way to assert an alternative masculine identity.

In this context the ancient taboo on men wearing ‘women’s’ clothes was finally lifted.

Needless to say, there was a lot of resistance from men, many of whom hugely resented this humiliation. But as the woman controlled the purse-strings and paid for what her man wore, the final decision rested with her. The more enthusiastic women became about seeing their men in pretty dresses, the more men were forced to wear them.

The shift happened en masse, exposing millions of men to the uncomfortable fate of having to wear dresses, heels, blouses, lipstick, stockings, skirts, tights etc as everyday wear. A barrage of TV shows, magazine articles etc taught men how to adopt these new and strange clothes, about the importance of removing body hair, about basques and suspender belts, and the other hugely time-consuming rituals of making oneself beautiful. A good example of how the process translated into popular culture was the internationally successful TV show Boyflowers, which gave a makeover to ‘trad’ boys to reinvent them as pretty, submissive modern boys. Such offensives against old-style masculinity had a massive impact on social expectations.

At the same time, a shift in men’s own sense of identity meant that many men were more than happy to adopt ‘feminine’ dress because it seemed to be both inevitable and appropriate. If your wife, and society in general, insists that you should be the decorative partner, it is easier to give in than to try and stand up against 90% of the messages promoted around you; in addition, most men were shy of asserting themselves against their wives. As a home-maker who earned little or no money, a man stamping his foot about being told to wear a frock looked merely ridiculous.

From roughly the 2020s to the 2050s there was a kind of transitional period in which men and boys began to wear makeup, dresses, longer hair and other ‘feminine’ styles, while women hadn’t entirely given them up. But by the 2050s the social mood had moved on again. Women and girls not only demanded that their males conform to the new stereotype — they were to do so all the time. Males weren’t wearing dresses as just another option in their wardrobe. They had become the standard male fashion which females now disdained.

Concluded in the next post.

Skirts and the man

At the dawn of the 21st century very few men wore skirts. As comedian Eddie Izzard pointed out at the time, women couldn’t really crossdress. Women routinely wore trousers, shirts and even ties, and could switch from dungarees to a bouffant evening dress with no one raising an eyebrow. At the same time, men who adopted female dress still risked ridicule. For a man to dress in a ‘feminine’ way was seen as degrading because it reduced him to an inferior level. This enduring taboo belied the often-repeated pretense in that society that men and women were now equal — men clearly still considered women to be beneath them.

To be understood correctly, the issue of fashion, like gendered behaviour generally, must be seen historically. Skirts were not at all uncommon for men for much of history. They were worn by males in many cultures, including ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, and more recently in Anglo-Saxon times. Even in modern times, dhotis and sarongs were worn in the East, the foustanella in Greece and the djellaba in Africa.

A skirt in all but name: the Olympian Spiridon Louis wearing a foustanella.

It was only since the 15th century in the West that bifurcated clothing became exclusively associated with masculinity. Men’s tunics gradually became shorter and tighter, and required separate legwear which evolved into breeches and then into trousers. There was also a practical question. Trousers were more appropriate for a sex that rode horses, ploughed fields, fought wars, and worked in factories. The very impracticality of women’s clothes was an important element in traditional femininity.

We often forget that until very recently in the West male clothing was generally just as colourful and decorative as women’s. It was only in the 19th century with the rise of the responsible bourgeois that men’s clothing became relatively dark, dour, and functional.

Even in the industrial period, non-bifurcated clothing for men persisted in a few forms, such as the dressing gown. Nothing better illustrates how nonsensical all these conventions were than the kilt: this garment is obviously a skirt but it was considered an insult to say so.

The early 21st century saw a change of attitude. An early example of this was the ‘Men in Skirts’ show at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2002. The blurb for this event illustrates the way that women’s dizzying ascent was causing gender roles to be re-examined:

Menswear is dramatically re-invented for the 21st century in this catwalk show featuring men in designer skirts, dresses, kilts, sarongs, kaftans and frock coats. Internationally renowned designers reappropriate the skirt for men... The skirts showcased in this event represent an alternative to conventional menswear which can be as comfortable and elegant as it is radical.

This sort of reappraisal of traditional attitudes was a necessary first step to overturning the skirts taboo.

At the same time there was a growing lobby for men that recognised the illogicality of the taboo and was essentially a movement for equal clothing rights. “We’re fighting against prejudice and clich├ęs,” said Dominique Moreau of Hommes en Jupes in 2008. “Women fought for trousers; we’re doing the same with the skirt.” This movement gave considerable impetus to the campaign to make ‘female’ clothing for men more acceptable.

Gradually it became acceptable for men to wear skirts, albeit seen as something of a novelty and mostly practiced by the younger generation. Change was slow but steady. By the late 2020s a minority of boys was experimenting with wearing skirts. These were generally non-decorative — floral patterns and filmy underskirts were not yet acceptable — but represented a kind of transitional step. Male makeup, lingerie and high heels were also creeping into the shops. Most importantly, the jeering and fear had been swept away. The taboo was dead.

In fact, it was popular by the late 2020s to argue that the skirt was better suited to male anatomy. Males, of course, have external sex organs, and the trouser seam pressing into them could be uncomfortable. Hence the familiar post-genderquake assertion that women naturally belonged in trousers, and men in skirts or dresses.

Needless to say that there was a lot of resistance from both men and women. Women were themselves undergoing considerable change, and some saw the ‘skirts for men’ lobby as a threat to their own identity. Trained for centuries to regard men as providers and protectors, many women were still uncomfortable with the idea of a dependent, ‘feminised’ man over whom she had authority.

In fact there were all sorts of forces tipping into the debate. There were crossdressers, keen to finally be allowed to wear the feminine clothes that enticed them. There was the ‘equal clothing rights for men’ brigade. There were female supremacists, who wanted men to be forced into dresses entirely while women ruled in trousers. There were men’s rights groups like Men Matter, who generally advocated sexual equality while trying to hold back the ‘feminisation’ of males. There were also very conservative groups, some of them religious in motivation, who wanted to reverse history entirely and send women back to the kitchen.

Through all this ferment, the great majority of society moved steadily towards finding male skirts acceptable. And once the taboo was overcome, there was no limit to where society might turn next.

[Part three follows]

Clothing the male in the age of women

As women became more empowered, they adopted many of the behaviours associated with the dominant sex. From the late nineteenth century onwards, modern women gradually dispensed with the frivolous trappings and wiles of femininity and began wearing trousers, smoked, wore ties, drank beer, talked loudly, took up sports and became more violent. This was seen as a natural enough process: it is acceptable to imitate one’s perceived superiors.

The debate around male identity was more fierce, and the further women pulled ahead in the sex war during the 21st century, the more it intensified. When power was monopolised by women, how could society forge a new identity for men? It was clearly inappropriate for men, living on their wives’ and girlfriends’ salaries and subordinate to female authority, to strut around as if they were still running the show. The debate was wide open and it was clear that extraordinary change was in the air.

Many commentators, including some male ones, asserted that low status behaviours belonged with the inferior sex, i.e. that men should now start behaving like women used to. This didn’t just mean that they would be stuck in the home cleaning and cooking. It meant acting in a more subservient way, submitting to females’ will and being more passive, coy and soft-spoken, and its most dramatic implication was that men should start to wear ‘women’s’ clothes. After all, men were now the home-makers and the child-carers — why not also the dress-wearers?

This was not a new idea. Ever since the Suffragettes, conservative forces had produced alarming cartoons and doggerel suggesting that if women acquired the vote, they would become dominant and push men into feminine roles, including forcing them to wear dresses. (There is a good article about this on the Femulate blog).

There had already been various attempts in the latter half of the 20th century to introduce skirts for men, for example by individual pioneers like David J. Hall or designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier. All these attempts failed, for a simple reason: the traditional power relationship of the sexes still prevailed, and men still saw the adoption of ‘feminine’ behaviours as degrading.

H&M skirt for men(Right) Skirts for men became available to the mainstream shopper in the 2010s, such as this example from H&M. But they did not become widely worn until the 2030s.

It took the female revolution to finally set society on a new path. It was clearly illogical for men to boycott women’s clothes on the basis that women were inferior, when women were unquestionably the dominant sex. Also, women did not need to try and seduce men any more. If anything, it was men who needed the financial support of a woman, and therefore counted upon charm and appearance to win attention. Frilly, shiny, lacy, fluttery things and cosmetics were the weapons of the dependent sex, not the ruling one, and that surely made them the prerogative of men under the new order.

[Part two follows]

Sunday, 4 July 2010

A new dawn

At the dawn of the female age.

Where women lead, men follow. Nursing the humiliation of being subordinated by women, men must reconcile themselves to their new role as homemakers, wearing dresses and submitting to female authority.

As reported by The Economist:

Friday, 2 July 2010

Modern love

Relations between women and men had changed dramatically since the genderquake. But though the roles and the clothes may have changed, people still of course fell in love and tried to have successful relationships.

Despite their power, women did not suddenly change into sadistic Amazons, torturing men in dungeons or leading them around on leashes. That sort of thing belonged in sexual fantasies. No – in some senses, life went on much as before.