Clothes Don’t Make The Man, Or Woman

It occurred to me recently that I rarely see transgendered women (a woman who was born a man and became a woman) wearing gender neutral clothing. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, maybe I just don’t notice. Yet I wonder to what extent a person’s gender identity is determined by their clothing, or how clothing really matters in the grand scheme of life.

For example, could I call myself a woman if I threw on a dress? Sure, but of course that wouldn’t be accurate. Could I call myself a woman while wearing the same sweet cargo shorts and baseball tee that I wear every day? Of course, but the assertion would be equally bogus.

Clothing doesn’t have much to do with gender anymore. Liberated women these days dress closer to Justin Bieber than Marilyn Monroe.

Allowing things you buy at the store to define you is unhealthy. It’s materialism, and the lowest form of expression.

It’s paid for.

From my experience transwomen are prone to girling it up more than almost any other group of women, often wear gaudy ballgowns or at the very least, hot receptionist attire in casual situations. The earrings and heavy makeup are omnipresent. Caitlyn Jenner, we get it.

Most of the women I know wear jeans and tank tops. If they work in a formal office setting they may rotate in skirts and blouses but they are quite often wearing pants – the most comfortable of genital coverings.

The difference between sex and gender is as follows: Sex is what a person is born as, gender is what sex they identify as.

As our society is moving in the direction of gender equality, feminists of all stripes are fighting for women’s right to free their nipples. Just decades ago, it was the right to wear pants in the office.

Are trans women displaying an antiquated notion of femininity steeped in the very cultural oppression of women? Would it be fair to posit that embracing antiquated notions of female gender norms could be a hindrance to progress?

The notion that feminie clothing, jewelry, and makeup can change who or what a person is is completely bogus. If that were the case, people without access to certain possessions wouldn’t be able to attain self actualization, and that precedent is both frightening and glaringly bogus.

Wearing makeup, painting your face in other words, is a bizarre cultural practice if you really think about it and a lot of feminists and a growing percentage of women don’t do it.

The origin of a typical feminine makeup regimen; red lips, rouged cheeks, and thick eyelashes is meant to mimic the physiological changes that occur when women become sexually aroused and therefore flustered. As hormone levels spike, the face becomes flush and the lips swollen. Eyes are made to pop so as to signify sultry stares and batting eyes.

It’s sexually objectifying to women. And many of them don’t mind. But men don’t walk around with prosthetic boners. That would be weird.

Transgendered women are often times a guy in a dress. You aren’t supposed to say that, but it’s true from a biological perspective. Similarly, a cisgendered woman is just a woman in a dress. The dress shouldn’t be important as to how the person classifies themselves.

What I find confusing is that most of my fellow progressives who are down with the LGBT movement seem to consider gender stereotyping a negative. Why can’t a girl play football? Why can’t a boy play with Barbies?

It follows, why can’t a transgender woman wear cargo shorts and a Señor Frog’s T-shirt?

What you wear or put on your face, the things you’re carrying, have nothing to do with you being a man, or a woman. Real progress will result in eliminating rigid gender stereotypes, not their reinforcement.

That’s not to say gender roles won’t remain. Of course there are a myriad of differences between men and women. Women are better at communication and men are better at fixing things, and this won’t ever change. But that’s not to say women belong in a call center and men belong in a garage.

You can’t give Kate Hudson a jackhammer and call her a dude. The Caitlyn Jenners of the world are engaged in a form of minstrelsy that in my opinion weakens the entire cause.

You can’t find yourself at the mall, no matter how much we’re told to believe that.

 

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Matt Ralston is a comedian and writer based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewRalston

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