|Paradox: Lingerie, Drag Queens and Feminine Feminists
By Charles Alexander Moffat.
Victoria's Secret just opened a new store on Broadway with a lot of fanfare. Why is it that there's no male underwear stores that make such a fuss? I WANT FUSS ABOUT MY UNDERWEAR! I'M JEALOUS!
Seriously though, why is it that men don't make a fuss about their own lingerie? For the same reason I just said "Just kidding". Because its considered to be a "wussy" idea, something that only gay and transvestite members of western society participate in. Totally besides the point that many gay men are quite macho. As for the transvestites, they are equally at the whim of society with respect to how they are treated and viewed.
In retrospect, I think thats changing however. Here in Toronto, Canada, a drag queen recently ran for mayor. "She" (since she and he are gender identified roles, we call him a she for the purposes of gender) came in 2nd in the mayorial race vs Mel Lastman.
Lastman won, like he always does, but the close race with Enza Anderson, drag queen extraordinaire, was very memorable. My personal beliefs in androgyny won a small battle during that whole election campaign. Next time I'm hoping for a landslide, because Enza is out there doing public service and attending charity functions more than Mel Lastman does, and he's getting very close to retirement (especially considering his recent scandal with his ex-mistress and two illegitimate sons).
And so I come to the thesis of this essay. If feminists consider lingerie a bondage forced upon them by patriarchal western society, it is at the same time a release for men to explore their feminine side. The trick is how society describes femininity, and if we 'destroy' the concept of femininity, then men will no longer be able to explore their feminine side... and women will no longer be trapped within the bondages of what society considers to be feminine.
Lets stop and make a quick list of what society considers to be feminine. According to the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (a tool used by psychologists to determine how masculine, feminine and androgynous a person is), these are the following things society considers to be feminine:
Very emotional Able to devote self completely to others Very gentle Very helpful to others Very kind Very aware of the feelings of others Very understanding Very warm in relationships
A person who scores highly in all these traits is considered to be high in femininity. Incidentally, I scored 31. The maximum a person can score is 32. Each attribute is ranged from 0 to 4, with 0 being not like that attribute at all.
The problem is that this is how society expects females to behave, and thus young females are raised with these beliefs indoctrinated into them. If they react any differently, they are automatically stereotyped as a butch, a bitch, a slut, or any of a dozen other names that modern females find offensive.
This is where feminists start to run into problems... some are more aggressive with their beliefs of throwing of the shackles imposed by society. They refuse to shave their legs, wear dresses, wear make-up or wear lingerie. These females generally end up getting called a "butch", a "tomboy" and a variety of other offensive names.
Then there's the females who are seemingly proud of their feminity, they enjoy the attention they receive from males (and other women who are jealous of their looks). These women can still be feminists in the effect that they want to be treated equally, but they're forcing themselves to live under a double- standard that society will impose on them. They have already fallen into the traits demanded upon them by society by shaving their legs, wearing dresses/lingerie/etc, and thus are upholding society's standards, but at the same time trying to fight everything that society is demanding them to be, from their work (housewives, nurses, secretaries, etc and other jobs many women now consider demeaning and low in pay) and their relationships (kind, considerate and dutiful wife, again something that annoys many women).
Society expects these things from women, and the male dominated aspects of society generally go along with it because they see no point in changing it. There is a point however, and only the people who have experienced society rejecting them will understand this...
Its the males exploring their "feminine" sides. The moment a man starts imitating the traits society considers to be "feminine", other men (and sometimes women) reject the male as being an inferior male (as if somehow being androgynous is inferior).
However, at the same time lets stop and consider what many women look for in a male's personality? Emotional, devoted, gentle, helpful, kind, understanding and warm. Wait a sec... wasn't that the same stuff society considers to be feminine...?
So what women are really looking for is... other women? But who just happen to have a male body...?
There's two reasons then. #1, men who explore their so-called feminine sides will finally be able to pick flowers for the fun of it (something I thoroughly enjoy) and not be hassled by other men, and #2, having all those feminine traits will actually attract women... and any straight male would probably go for that, correct?
And likely gay males too, because they like tenderness and affection in their lives too.
And so the paradox that is currently our society, a place where we want to explore the other aspects of our personality, but we're stuck in our current state of life because thats how society expects us to be. And who governs society? Us, of course. Thankfully society is changing, and the time for androgyny is growing ripe.