I have a significant problem: I like to shop. The irony, however, is that I rarely buy anything when I do actually shop. I have been
cursed gifted with a very creative eye, and I can usually walk through an outlet mall (such as yesterday) without a bag in hand simply because nothing catches my eye. Imagine going to Olivander’s and never being able to pick out a wand (though I’m sure he has a backup plan for that). I think my problem is shared with many others, but it makes me reflect on this idea of fashion.
Fashion is Female-Centered
Please, feminists, start an outcry. I am well aware that I am voicing my outrage that fashion is typically matriarchal, but I only do so because I am a minority. Since the earlier part of the twentieth-century, shopping malls were designed, truthfully, with clients in mind: women. Our culture has changed dramatically since then, and this patriarchal ideology is finally beginning to wane, but why have shopping malls failed to keep up?
- Macho-Culture: I don’t know if this phrase is actually a thing, but I sincerely want it to become a thing. Seriously. Macho culture, to me, is defined as a part of a culture whose intent is to eradicate feminine behavior and lifestyle from men and to further create segregation and a fine line between the masculine and feminine. Often times, macho-culture is against homosexuality because, in spirit, homosexually eradicates the line between the masculine and the feminine, which is opposite. Furthermore, macho-culture identifies things often considered feminine (i.e. shopping, cooking, fashion, child care, etc.) to be against the stigma of masculinity.
- What Options Do We Have: Perhaps because of macho-culture or because the industry hasn’t evolved yet, really why is there a need for more when it comes to men’s fashion? I think of the options I have to an interview: 1) suit and (bow)tie; 2) shirt and tie; 3) don’t show up. I would attempt to write all the options women have, but that would probably make this post a lot longer than it is already becoming. What I’m trying to say is that interview/job culture has defined what is acceptable when interviewing, but men are often left with very little options as compared to their counterpart.
- Me Talk Pretty One Day: Regardless of macho-culture or not, men are often stereotyped as not caring and, to be perfectly honest, this sometimes is true. I have seen too many men who just wake up, put on whatever clothes on, and go. Naturally, the smell test is utilized, but this stereotype, while true for a wide majority of the male population, is not always the case for the few (and proud).
I can do search after search on the internet, and there are more posts every day about the general care and hygiene of the male figure, but often there are topics just simply not talked about because of this macho-culture I just talked about. With the dawn of the twenty-first century, manscaping not strictly a “gay” thing (nor has it ever been), but it has been seen like this through the gaze of the discriminatory culture we are finally beginning to get out of.
So what can be done?
Honestly, the culture needs to change. First and foremost, the line between the masculine and the feminine needs to be torn down and never built up again. I am so proud of my transgender family members (you all are family, I don’t actually have a transgender family member) because they literally take the norm, crush it under his/her foot, and walk over it like it’s nobody’s business. I am, and always have been, obsessed with my looks. I think about my appearance: clothes, hair, eyebrows, face, skin, eyes, etc., and I can’t help but feel relatively alone in my routine. Yet; I know there are many out there that are, but you will see conditionally a macho-culture response using the slurs of queer, fagget, and the like.
So, in order to create a homogenous ecosystem, we must first remove the classification systems in stores. I’m talking about that BOY section and GIRL section. Eliminate it. Destroy it. Yes; we can keep the same boundaries, but if I really like a woman’s scarf, I have every right to take it. If I know a woman’s shirt fits me better, you bet your bottom dollar I will take it (I haven’t, but if it happened I would). I recall coming home with a scarf from this really great store, and my mom’s first response was “is that a boy’s scarf?” Why does it matter if it is or not? If we are to create a safe and homogenous system in fashion, this classification ought to be eliminated. This is especially true if young boys and girls are curious about their identity – it will remove the social awkwardness of the experience.
Furthermore, specialty stores are lame. I hate walking into a cosmetics section (looking for the infamous ‘mens section’) because the place is overly potent with matriarchal signals and symbols (woman portraits, all female employees, etc.). I understand that the intention to claim the stronger market is there, but don’t alienate and ostracize a minority simply because of the macho-culture we live in. If I want to wear makeup, I should feel comfortable going to a sales person (likely female – sigh) and asking; but culture doesn’t afford me this luxury. If I want to get a pair of shoes (which is near impossible), it would be really great to walk into any shoe store and find an equal amount of both shoe styles; again this doesn’t happen. In the world of Harry Potter, you didn’t see a BOYS and GIRLS section in Olivander’s (though, the fact that Ron Weasley got made fun of because his dress-looking dress robe is upsetting). This unification is exactly what we need in our fashion culture.