(Answer: I think they do.)
If these two facts about female fashion are anything to go by, why do so many people think that women are dressing like men in some sort of gender identity crisis?
Here’s the thing: I don’t buy it.
Even the most ardent feminist has to admit the fact that not everybody dresses the way she intended. This is just the way it is. There’s just no way you can really think about the implications of that without considering gender roles.
Women, on average, dress “like men” simply because they’re born that way (see why here). Just as men are born with a pair of legs that they can’t help but assume are female, just as men tend to dress with “semi-nude” characteristics when they’re on their second date or the first time the guy says he likes you, so too do women dress in certain ways just because they’re born those ways.
But we don’t like to imagine that people act like that just because they’re girls. We wish people could just be themselves and we’re fine with that.
Yes, we know that dress and gender roles can look different for everyone – that can be seen as “bad” for the sexes. But we also know that all people aren’t equally subject to the same societal pressures.
For me, dress choices are part of a growing body of research I did over the past few years that demonstrates how a person’s personal identity is influenced by their body. We are influenced by our clothes and what they represent – and we’re not just influenced by what a couple wears together; we’re influenced by what someone dresses for themselves over the course of their entire life.
I have a friend like this who dresses like a man (and yes, I use the term “he” lightly because he’s male). The first woman I knew who didn’t dress like a boy was a very attractive female student I dated when I first started studying feminism. I loved her and I never once thought, in an instant, that that kind of behavior would make me less attractive to men. So why did women dress as though they were boys in my first decade in academia – and it still doesn’t even surprise me at all?
Maybe I was too young, maybe I was just too into it. But if I had a choice between a man who loved me and a man who didn’t love me, the guy I dated would always win. That’s
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