msolga
 
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 12:46 am
I realize this is not one of those critical, burning issues of our times Wink , but I’m genuinely interested.

Why DO men so often dress up as women?


What started me wondering (again) was a video of Spanish men in high heels, which I blundered upon on the (Oz) ABC news site today.:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/video/2010/07/02/2943492.htm

Which reminded me of the (Sydney) Gay Mardi Gras:

 http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42636000/jpg/_42636891_parade_416_getty.jpg

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42636000/jpg/_42636897_priscilla_416_ap.jpg

Which then reminded me of ..... any number of different instances of men dressed as women.


Anyway, it seems to me that men, of all sorts of sizes, shapes, ages & sexual orientations appear to really like dressing up as women. Otherwise, why would they do it so much? (Much more than women dress up as men, it seems to me. Please feel free to correct me if my perception is wrong.)

So I’d be interested in your thoughts on this. Why is this so?

Some thoughts which crossed my mind:
Does it that men actually WANT to be women? That they like the idea better than being male?

Is it some sort of joke/fun thing? If so, why don’t women indulge in the same thing nearly so much?

Is the motivation to insult, or demean women? If so why?

Does dressing as women give men some imagined power over them? If so, why do men think women are more powerful than they are?

Is the motivation different when gay, transvestite or straight men dress as women?
And so on & so on & so on....

Anyway, I’ll be very interested in responses from both men & women here.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am far more curious than critical.
And I am not remotely interested in a "man bashing" session. OK?
I’m rather intrigued, more than anything else.
It’s all a bit of a mystery to me!

I await enlightenment.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 30 • Views: 24,675 • Replies: 139

 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 01:00 am
@msolga,
Please do not feel constrained from posting your thoughts on the subject.

May I assure you that my sole motivation for this discussion is from the perspective of a seeker of wisdom & truth! Smile
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 01:06 am
@msolga,
I have no idea. I figure though, that plenty of people have much to tell me.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 01:09 am
@ossobuco,
I figure the same thing, osso.

And I am so looking forward to hearing their thoughts! Smile
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 01:43 am
OK, I'll have a go at being first cab off the rank.
As inexpert and as wishy-washy as my initial thoughts might be ... (why do I ask such hard questions? Confused )

Perhaps it's something to do with men attempting to understand/comprehend women? Their power (as their mothers, especially, as significant others) on the impact on their lives?

I say this from the perspective of one who has often pondered the issues of power in my significant relationships. I have often wished I understood what makes men tick better. (My father was the one & only significant male influence on my early life. He was the only male in my family) Though I certainly understand that "men" cannot be conveniently put into some "one size fits all" category .
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 07:17 am
well, first of all lots of women dress like men, (perhaps not dramatically but they do) second (i have not idea what I'm talking about) but the idea of "costume" in the sense of presentation of a alternate persona and what could be more alternate than a man passing as a woman. I don't think it's a sexual thing for most that di it.



ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 07:24 am
@msolga,
Do you never wear a pair of pants/slacks/jeans? no t-shirts or button-down shirts in your closet? no pullover sweaters? no cardigans?

Who decides what "belongs" to womens' or mens' clothing?
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 07:24 am
This activity seems particularily prevelent within football clubs.

its called getting in touch with ones feminin side.
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 07:58 am
@msolga,
i have quite a few cross-dressing friends from the theatre times. most do it for "show" (that is not on a daily basis, but for special occassions only, shows, parties...). it's hardly about power or even about understanding women (they like men and are after men's attention). most often it's as shallow as finding it sexy. just like women, some men adore make up and dresses and glamour that goes along with it... i wouldn't search for anything terribly deep behind it. some men like to dress that way (just as some women do....and some don't) and some men like men dressed that way. truth be told i never pondered why, just like i don't ponder if one is "truly" a homosexual by birth or if it's a choice. when it comes to identities, it comes to feelings about self, and those i don't question. reasons will be very different for different people.

i learned quite a few makeup tricks from some of them and have admired many of theirs artistic personnas, the on-stage, dressed up performances. it's a world of its own.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:37 am
Surprised
There have been posts here!
My apologies, I didn't see them till now.
Ok, off to read what you've had to say ....
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:44 am
@msolga,
I think it is much harder for women to dress as men than vice versa.

A woman with no make-up, pants, button-down shirt, even a tie: perfectly normal and not head-turning.

A man with make-up and a dress: WHOA! Cross-dresser!

I do feel badly for men about this, that their fashion choices are so constricted. We have a much broader range of what we could wear, if we so choose, without being socially awkward.

I was thinking about this the other day when looking at photos of my good friend's absolutely adorable 4-year-old son. He loves princesses and pink and purple and purses and sparkles. She is game and went ahead and gave him a princess party -- there were tutus and pony rides and in the pictures he is beaming.

My thought process was approximately "good for her" then "people do know they're gay as early as four, don't they" and then "maybe he just likes purple et al" and then "god I'm glad I didn't have to deal with such questions" (sozlet has had major tomboy tendencies throughout, though she also liked pink and purple and sparkle et al) and then "hey that's not fair... how come sozlet can like sneakers and shorts and t-shirts and being tough and sporty and that's just cute, but this kid likes 'girly' stuff and that's seen as weird/ alarming?"
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:49 am
@dyslexia,
Quote:
well, first of all lots of women dress like men, (perhaps not dramatically but they do) second (i have not idea what I'm talking about) but the idea of "costume" in the sense of presentation of a alternate persona and what could be more alternate than a man passing as a woman. I don't think it's a sexual thing for most that di it.


Yes, lots of women dress like men, I suppose.
But the thing that struck me watching that video from Spain & also the regular Mardi Gras parades in Sydney, ... was that you don't (or at least I haven't) seen such mass "performances", almost, of women "being" men ... I was wondering what such rituals actually mean to the men participating in them. No, I don't think it's a sexual thing, either, dys.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:50 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
A woman with no make-up, pants, button-down shirt, even a tie: perfectly normal and not head-turning.


that's still fairly recent on the BIG calendar

I'm hoping that in another 20 or 30 years (mebbe less?) it will be as easy for men to wear whatever whenever as it is for women.

Just think of the number of posts we've had over the years by women of the Eva/EOE/ehBeth generation talking about sit-ins/protests at schools to allow girls to wear slacks to school. It was a huuuuge deal. Women didn't wear pants to work in offices at the beginning of my work career - that was a job ender. Men wore pants, women wore dresses - very occasionally skirts and jackets, but that was already pushing the limits toward dressing like a man (unless it was Rosalind Russell in a movie).
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:56 am
@msolga,
There definitely is female drag, too, though I see it less. A friend of mine is in a lesbian burlesque show and so I see stuff on Facebook of very butch lesbians (hard to tell they're not young men) strutting their stuff in drag shows. They usually feature facial hair and sort of Eminem-ish affect (tattoos, wifebeaters, jeans, vaguely menacing air). That's definitely more envelope-pushing.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:57 am
@ehBeth,
Quote:
Do you never wear a pair of pants/slacks/jeans? no t-shirts or button-down shirts in your closet? no pullover sweaters? no cardigans?

Who decides what "belongs" to womens' or mens' clothing?


Don't misunderstand, please. I am not being critical or judgmental. I hope it doesn't sound like I am, because that's not my attitude at all. I was wondering, as I said in my previous post, why? For example, why is it such a feature of the mardi gras, for men to costume themselves in this way? Why is it such a tradition amongst gay men? I mean, is it a homage of some sort? Some sort of statement about their homosexuality? What interests me is why choose women for this sort of ritual? It intrigues me.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 08:59 am
@dadpad,
Quote:
This activity seems particularily prevelent within football clubs.


Yes it is. In Oz, anyway.

Quote:
its called getting in touch with ones feminin side.


Ah! That's what it is? You might be right.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 09:00 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
For example, why is it such a feature of the mardi gras, for men to costume themselves in this way?


Misrule -- topsy turvy, peasants are kings and kings are peasants, men are women and women are men... (but because of how things have evolved, men as women carries more misrule oomph than women as men.)
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 09:18 am
@dagmaraka,
Quote:
..it's hardly about power or even about understanding women (they like men and are after men's attention). most often it's as shallow as finding it sexy. just like women, some men adore make up and dresses and glamour that goes along with it... i wouldn't search for anything terribly deep behind it. some men like to dress that way (just as some women do....and some don't) and some men like men dressed that way. truth be told i never pondered why, just like i don't ponder if one is "truly" a homosexual by birth or if it's a choice. when it comes to identities, it comes to feelings about self, and those i don't question. reasons will be very different for different people.


Interesting, dag.

I certainly wouldn't waste my time pondering, or questioning (heaven forbid!) anyone's "real" sexuality, either. That would be the height of arrogance. They just are what they are ...
I guess, as a woman, it interests me that so many men enjoy presenting themselves as women with such enthusiasm. I would love to understand this. But there seems there's nothing to understand? I had a hunch that, with gay parades like the mardi gras, that it was some sort of political statement? But maybe not.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 09:22 am
@sozobe,
Quote:
Misrule -- topsy turvy, peasants are kings and kings are peasants, men are women and women are men... (but because of how things have evolved, men as women carries more misrule oomph than women as men.)


That's interesting, soz.

I'm going to have to take a minute to get my head around that. Smile
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 Jul, 2010 09:30 am
@sozobe,
Quote:
There definitely is female drag, too, though I see it less.


That's partly why I asked the question. Because I've rarely seen female drag. I've had close lesbian friends (gay men friends as well) , worked very closely with women who are lesbians & gotten to know them well. It hasn't been a feature of their "culture".
 

 
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