Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Sexism Oppresses Us All, or The Princess and The Dandy

Riffing around a theme here. There are lots of feminist fashion bloggers putting some top stuff out there right now. I don't consider myself a fashion blogger - I dunno what my 'genre' would be... lifestyle? Sunday-paper-column-fluff-wiv-issues? Ah, anyway, I describe my stance on the matter feminist so their posts were all very interesting (remembers not to say 'girl power', having watched the interview scene in Spaced, like, ten billion times).

It got me thinking about equality and the idea of balance. The idea of binary opposition (that we are defined as much by what we are not as what we are). Sexism degrades us all: women and men alike. For example; if one is locked within the belief that women are 'defined' by make-up and skirts, then one's clothing will be limited by that belief, man or woman. Not to mention that any idea based on ignorance lowers and limits the capacity for free thought and thus learning; as Forest Gump himself said 'stupid is as stupid does'. Yes, stupid might mean your dinner always ready on the table and a model wife, but you're still wasting part of the miraculous spark, intelligence, which (ironically) is what civilise 'mankind'.

A gilded cage is still a cage: it still limits choice. As you might have noticed I recently married my partner of 11 years. Yeah I know I haven't mentioned it that much, we weren't that bothered or nuffink. When people inevitably ask about kids he often mentions that he would love, in the future, to spend some time as an at-home-dad. [Edit: I have removed lengthy explanation as to why because let's face it, why should it need justification?] From your eedjit down the pub, we've had every comment from 'aren't you ashamed' (I suppose for him not being manly/me not womanly enough) to 'you couldn't handle a kid' (to be honest, he's much better with bubs pre-speech than I am). Everyone who actually has kids immediately chips in with praise though. And that's the ignorance v experience angle of sexism: what is usual v what is practical.

Sexism is demeaning to humans, it enables grubby and lazy thinking. Women bear the brunt of the obvious negative effects, but anyone who embraces it is limiting their choices and opportunities.

Anyway, enough of me prattling on (FYI muskerbeers I have a tinny here as I type, no cabbage patches and I haven't seen any storks flying round M'kay?) with musings, on to the fun bit.

Non-sexist fashion should not just be about freedom for women to wear what we like. If only women are free to express ourselves through fashion, we are still mere decor attracting the gaze, and the men still relegated to the status of observer. Let every person express themselves through their style without fear of rebuttal. Here's to the dandy, the sartorialist, the poser: the men who express themselves though clothing:

Beau Brummel - the Kellogs of Dandies


Gotta love the Loaf. 


  1. This post is brilliant, well done. I just know that my comment is not going to do it justice though which is really annoying. First off congratulations on your recent marriage, I had not realised, but am very happy for you both. I think it's great that if you have kids your other half is happy to be a stay at home dad. Why not indeed! Also, I love Spaced so much you have no idea! I have to go now before I completely fill up your comment space, but I do love this post!

  2. Amen amor,I strongly agree with your rant.
    I love me some meat loaf,he is hilarious in all his videos.

  3. Very well said. Any blogger that references Beau Brummell is alright in my book.

    ps - the shoes are really comfy and not at all foot-squishing. A tad big perhaps but then they're not a brand renowned for being consistent with their sizing.

  4. I've been meaning to actually get around to commenting on your blog, but like Happy Frog I find it horribly difficult to be succinct and/or intelligent enough when faced with a comments box. Anyway, hi. And thanks for the cringe re Daisy's horrific women's mag interview.

    I very much agree with your comments - obviously on feminism, but specifically regarding the dandy. Whilst I find the tiny shorts and flower behind the ear Cristiano Ronaldo rather repellent - at least he's doing his own thing. I do feel sorry for men, all the joy has gone out of fashion for them in the last 80 years or so. Hats are well overdue a proper come-back, or perhaps capes. I know my husband - who is completely disinterested in fashion, yet has oddly strong opinions on how his plain t-shirts must look - would love the chance of carrying a sword beneath his cloak. No double entendre meant.

  5. Perdita, as always I enjoy reading your post!
    Being able to live our lives the way we want to, is our ultimate and most brave statement!

  6. Lord Florizel is looking rather dapper there.
    It's true, men do face sexist remarks and teasing too. I found it most amusing that when I blogged about gender roles nobody commented on my ability to wield a drill but several remarked on Jon's knowledge of a sewing machine.
    Men can be peacocks, you've only got to travel to India where male-only beauty salons hugely outnumber those aimed at women. xxx

  7. VV- I noticed that but didn't comment on it! Florizel likes to make afternoon tea (breaking not only gender but age stereotypes), which dovetails nicely because I like eating cake.

    Lakota & Ofelia- very true, provided it doesn't harm others, we should choose our dress based on our taste!

    Alex and La Dama- I love Brummel and Meatloaf. Apparently Brummel was slightly chubby so may well have looked like Meatloaf in real life.

    Happy Frog- your comments are always insightful and intelligent, I love to read them, like your blog! :)

  8. Lets hear it for Bowie and Meat!!! Random info which is kinda linked, I was reading an article on a woman who was bringing up her kid 'gender neutral' so the it wouldn't face the stigmas placed upon society - ring social services was my first thought, but also that genders are important, men and women are different in many ways and it isn't a bad thing neither is it a bad thing when these steriotyped rolls cross over or reverse. Heres to everyone being able to wear what they want, me loves a good dandy!

  9. I saw a programme about wrongly gendered/gender neutral kids as adults, they were pretty unhappy. :(

  10. Great post! I'm delighted to see Spaced, Beau Brummel and the fabulous Mr Bowie all in one post xx

  11. I nearly didn't get to read the post as I was having a Spaced reminiscing moment for a while!

    Ah the male dandy and gender issues!

  12. Hi my dear-a really good post, so insightful and true words said, I love the pictures you've used too. Have a great weekend! xx

  13. Gosh, what a lovely post. Fresh for the weekend, men are strange creatures.

  14. But of course if you really opposed gender roles, and gender binaries, you wouldn't be in a heterosexual relationship would you? I mean "heterosexism" is based on differences which feminists insist do not exist.

    Also, you would not be endorsing your husband (is it still okay to say "husband"?) as a stay at home dad. That is, if you were really in favor of gender neutrality, then you would be as opposed to men staying home as you are to women staying at home. The fact is, you are basing who should stay at home solely on gender. It's currently PC to encourage men to stay at home and discourage women. It's as strictly gender based as ever. The only difference is the hypocrisy on the part of those insisting we should move away from gender, while all the adhering to the new rigid gender roles endorsed and imposed by feminism.

  15. Thos, thanks for your comment. I am sure you are very intelligent and the gaps in your reading are due to 'blog skimming', of which I am as guilty as any, when skipping through Blogger. You appear to have exaggerated and confused observation for imperative at several points.

    I have at no point 'insisted' differences don't exist: merely pointed out that, unlike several historical contexts, men are as repressed as women through being 'barred' from stereotypically female roles. If you read with care, you will note that I don't advocate or set 'rules' about anything ("The fact is, you are basing who should stay at home solely on gender. It's currently PC to encourage men to stay at home and discourage women."- really? REALLY? Or just in the Daily Mail?) I certainly do not 'tell' my husband what to do. My point is quite the opposite. Indeed I would never neglect any child of both parents' love if at all possible- I have checked and, no, I don't say men 'should' stay at home.

    Why would I not call him a husband? It's the term for that family member, like sister, brother, mother, father.

    Your first paragraph is interesting: I am not sure if you intend it this way, but it suggests that heterosexuality is incompatible with unconvetional attitudes to gender roles. Are you imagining therefore, that all heteros are 'conventional', all male gays 'camp', all lesbians 'butch'? How neat and tidy that would be! Knowing nothing of my sexuality (bar that I chose a man to marry) it is a brave point to make. But when using persuasive methods around generalisations, shades of grey aren't helpful, are they?


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