Gender Bending Fashions

There’s nothing sexier, more mysterious, than a woman in a man’s suit. So says a blog that sells suits.

Not very newsy, but this part is intriguing…

The brilliance of gender-bending is not that it allows women to wear suits (there are plenty of women’s suits out there), it’s more the fact that it reveals gender to be an artificial construction capable of being mimicked and transformed. When people look at a butch lesbian and feel as if something’s gone awry, it’s because they’re made aware of their subjection to a system of signs that empowers some whilst disempowering others. Rather than actually doing something about this, they deal with it in the easiest way possible: ostracize the problem-maker and stigmatize the lesbian. But a woman who dons a man’s suit not only looks clever because she has the wherewithall to become a vehicle for a “Fuck you” message to the system, she also looks ultra-chic, her wardrobe having taken on resonances of meaning that go above and beyond the norm. Exposed, undermined, the veils of illusion lifted, the patriarchal structure loses its power and the seeds of revolution are sown.

I don’t agree, but not because I don’t like suits (a well-tailored suit, men’s or women’s, can be breathtaking, and you can wear pretty lingerie under it if you wish). But is copying a man’s suit really gender bending? Is projecting a male look the ‘clever’ way for women to to say “Fuck you” to the system?

Women who crossdress are no different than men who do, in my opinion. They explore their tastes, and that can have political or social tones, but does it do away with stigmas or social structure or even address them?

Women have been crossdressing for years — remember the ruckus when women first started wearing pants? Yet the reactions to ‘butch lesbians’ still (supposedly) exists. If ‘we’ as a society ‘feel as if some thing’s gone awry’ when we see a ‘butch lesbian’ it isn’t a lack of comfort with ‘less than clever clothing’ but a reaction to a sexuality that isn’t accepted — that’s where the subjugation exists (along with just being female).

If male crossdressers make ‘us’ uncomfortable, it’s not because they wear ‘less than clever’ fashions, it’s because they raise questions of sexuality, gender, and orientation — and those issues are to remain in the closet next to clothing belonging to any person.

A woman wearing a man’s suit may blur patriarchy for some, but it doesn’t deal with it.

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