The female appearance and the female role
The thought which provokes this article is one which may well prove controversial, but I hope to explain myself well enough to get in front of the outrage a bit, if any there be. It occurs to me to wonder how much of crossdressing is about the feminine appearance – the clothes, the makeup, the image – and how much of it is about, perhaps subconsciously, the female role in society. By this I do not mean the ideal female role built upon full equality and no latent sexist assumptions, but the traditional female role. The one where women are seen as a bit less capable, a bit more emotional, a bit weaker, a bit more submissive. If we are honest, must we not admit that often it is that role, however “sexist” it might be, that holds some appeal?
To be clear, I do not wish to in any way imply that any cultural tradition which puts road-blocks in the way of women achieving the highest fulfillment of their potential are justified or ethical. A free and just society must strive for equal opportunity regardless of gender. But at the same time, let’s face it, there are some difference in the way men and women think and feel and interact with the world and it is not sexist to acknowledge these differences exist and that they often affect the choices we make and the relationships of which we are a part. It’s in that context that I wish to frame the forthcoming thought. One other disclaimer, I do not intend what comes next to be viewed in a specifically sexual (as in the physical act) context. Certainly it plays a role but we’ll keep our discussion out of the bedroom.
The “dirty word” in these conversations is “submissive.” The cultural traditions which have held women back from full equality for centuries is the assumption that the female, being less strong and less smart and less everything else was obliged to submit herself to the more capable males. We need only look around us at the astonishing achievements of women in our society – and that society not yet willing to put women on a completely equal footing – to see how flawed that thinking was.
No. I speak here not of the obligation to be submissive, but the desire to. For all the worthy achievements made to give women fully equal standing in our society, it remains true that many women prefer the stereotypical “wife and mom” cliche to the pressure and demands of the “career woman” model. Few would argue there’s anything wrong with making that choice if it’s their own choice.
Let’s be frank, however, our culture has little use for, indeed contempt for, the man who has a submissive bent. But the truth is not all men are competitive “Type A” personalities. Not all men have to win every bet or every argument. Not all feel they must, or even like to, make all the decisions. Yet the peer pressure can be intense to do exactly that, no matter how ill-equipped or unsuited one might be (or perceive themselves to be) to do so. So I submit the possibility that crossdressing can just as easily meet a subconscious need to assume that submissive place in our interpersonal relationships (well beyond any sexual implications) every bit as much as it can cater to our desire to “be pretty.”
Has this been your experience?
Photo credit: smilygirl