There was some soft newstory this morning about men in kilts and or pantyhose. My father loudly opined “Ugh, why would men want to wear skirts? That’s just strange.” I replied that kilts were traditional male dress. He tried again offering that, “no woman wants to see a man in a skirt.” I responded that obviously some do, since I’ve seen many men get married in traditional garb before. Frustrated at his inability to get me to agree at the obvious unmanliness of this dress, he asked about pantyhose. “Why would a guy want to wear pantyhose?”
“Why would a woman? What makes pantyhose feminine exactly?”
“Don’t you wear pantyhose?”
“They made me during Catholic school so again I ask–what’s so feminine about pantyhose?”
He turns to my mother and offers, “there’s something seriously wrong with your daughter.”
Apparently there’s something seriously wrong with not rightfully recognizing the gender dichotomy as it appears in clothes. As it is, he still couldn’t explain what’s so womanly about thin material with holes in it worn over the legs. It simply is. That’s usually the answer one gets when one questions closely held notions of gender appropriate behavior. When you ask “what makes this male or female” the response will generally be “only men do this, only women do that, it just is!” Its frustrating. At the same time failing to recognize gender norms as infallably correct frustrates others. Fitting in requires unquestioning adherence to the rules. Asking why frustrates the whole point of the rules–you’re thinking. You’re not supposed to. There’s something wrong with you and you’re ruining it for everyone else.
That’s feminism for you, always ruining a good time.