High heels were worn by King Louis XIV of France in 1580 and declared fit to only be worn by nobility. Ancient Greeks wore togas that are basically draped fabric and Middle Eastern men still wear the Khandoora ( a straight-cut full sleeved white sheath garment) which if belted, or free flowing is referred by many who aren’t aware of its traditional name as a dress. But, do any of these factors mean the men wearing them are anything but? Let’s explore this phenomenon.
In a time when every other Netflix show has a gay character and countless celebrities have come out of the closet, what relation does our sexual orientation bear on our choice of clothing? I’m not referring to the act of cross-dressing or even people with gender dysmorphia, but the act of being able to wear what you want without being slapped on the forehead with a label. Is it possible to fathom that a red blooded man could simply just enjoy fashion?
The answer is evident when looking at celebrities of the millennial generation like Jayden Smith and Zayn Malik( not referring to those VOGUE comments) or music icons like Kanye West, all of whom have been with exceptionally beautiful women. The exploration of various silhouettes created through removing the inhibition imposed on us by society, has often lead to an altogether new look. The question shouldn’t be ‘Why is that man wearing a skirt – is he gay?’ it should be a commentary that reads along the lines of ‘It takes a real man to wear that look’.
If you walk into a store, you’re most likely to see the women’s section has adventurous, colorful pieces whereas the men’s section appears to be a high-end version of farm wear- plaid, plaid and denim! Men are continuously programmed to think that the mere notion of extravagance, vanity or the avant-garde is solely designated to women or homosexuals, but the reality is a lot of modern men care about their appearance and it’s time to wake up and accept that it has nothing to do with your sexual orientation!
Another example is Connor McGregor, his testosterone levels are through the roof and yet he’s plodding around in printed trunks and fluffy Gucci loafers that most men wouldn’t wear, but he also has, what one could call a ‘MACHO’ day job. So, is the everyday man’s capability to experiment with style solely dependent on his ability to keep up a façade? I like pink but I don’t like homo’s? Seems to be what a majority of the crowd is about, after all real men shouldn’t wax their legs or trim their eye brows much less wear a jacket from the women’s section. Unless of course you’re an athlete or a celebrity. Which brings me back to, what about the ordinary men?
I can’t speak for all of us, but it is my personal belief that a real man is honest, brave, kind, hard working, and an inspiration to both his family and friends. Judging a man or assuming his sexual orientation by his style preferences normalizes the same theory that every woman who wears a short dress is promiscuous. It is not only harmful but ignorant. In a time when the quest for equality is still a physical fight and discrimination is the name of the game, we need to live by example. The next time you see a T-shirt that you fancy allocated in the women’s section, take it, walk into the changing room, try it on and look at your reflection. What you see, will be the same man you’ve always been, only now with a better T-shirt.