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Why I don't like drag - Me myself and I
It's all about me
liliaeth
liliaeth
Why I don't like drag
I don't like crossdressing in fic, or drag as a Halloween or entertainment thing in real life. Not because I don't think it's sexy or funny, I don't, but that's a personal matter instead of a value judgement.

My issue with it is simple. I find it insulting.

If it were up to me, men should be allowed to wear dresses and skirts and whatever.I'd prefer it, if they wore stuff that actually looked good on them and didn't add fake breasts, but they should be able to wear it. In the same manner that women are now allowed to wear pants and suits. As a normal part of life.

Crossdressing and drag denigrates that. It basically says that socalled 'women''s clothing is inferior or 'funny' or 'weird' or 'fetish' like.

It's like people dressing up as stereotypical Indians because it's exotic and weird. If people wore traditional Native American clothing (and yes, I'm well aware of just how huge a group of different styles I'm talking about, there's dozens if not hundred of tribes, all with their own styles and traditions), it shouldn't be because they're trying to dress up, but because they find the clothing in question attractive.

If a man wants to wear a dress, he should be able to do so, without pretending he's a woman. (unless we're talking about a man who identifies as a woman and is merely trying to express their appearance in the manner they identify mentally. That's different cause those are women who just happen to be born with the appearance of a man. Not their fault and if they want to look like the gender they identify with, then that's their business.

But when you've got a frat boy dressing up as a girl, because it's funny, then he's basically insulting women. He's bringing himself down for a moment to be 'the other', not because he wants to identify with them or know what it's like to be a woman, but because he's mocking them, because he is 'othering' them.

Sorry, I'm bad at expressing myself on these kind of matters.

I just find it wrong that we live in a world where 'female clothing' is somehow considered inferior to 'male clothing'. Where it's ok for a girl to wear pants, cause she'd be rising up to a male level. But if a boy wore a dress, he'd be making a fool of himself.

Kinda like how a girl who became a mechanic is seen as rising up the ladder, but a boy who wants to be a homemaker is often looked down upon, 'because that's not a typically male profession'

It's all in how we express ourselves to the world, do we say that the positions of males and females (and whatever gender you identify yourself as) are equal, or is there a ladder where one is just a wee bit superior to the other and if one on top of the ladder pretends to be the other, then it's 'funny'. or mockworthy like pretending to be a dog, something that can't be taken serious.

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Comments
hells_half_acre From: hells_half_acre Date: November 14th, 2010 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I agree, there is a double-standard there.

That being said, I find men in women's clothing to be pretty damn sexy...but not when they try to look like women, only when they still look like men.

Now, THAT being said, I don't read cross-dressing fics either, because no one does it right.
liliaeth From: liliaeth Date: November 14th, 2010 10:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Not disagreeing*g*, there's plenty of men who look awesome in a dress, the problem is when they start adding the fake boobs. (not that there aren't some who can't pull it off, though I honestly don't think that Jensen or Jared are amongst them, doubt that anyone looking at them while dressed up as women, would think, 'wow those are hot chicks'

I can't begin to count the amount of fics where an adult Dean dresses up like a girl and guys keep hitting on them and not even realizing he's male. He's pretty, but he still clearly looks like a man.

(of course I did just recently read a pretty ridiculous fic where Buffy and Faith dressed up as Sam and Dean for a Halloween party. And Sam and Dean happened to be there as well. And not only did one girl actually take Buffy to be a guy, but worse than that, when faced with the real Dean, she actually confused the two.

I mean, seriously, Buffy's what 5 ft tall, not much more than that, Dean's over 6'2", the girl would have to be blind to confuse the two of them.

Edited at 2010-11-14 10:13 am (UTC)
hells_half_acre From: hells_half_acre Date: November 14th, 2010 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh wow, that IS ridiculous. Maybe when they were teenagers they could have pulled off female, but definitely not now. They've both got the shoulders of football players.

And yeah, the only way I would allow Buffy being mistaken for Dean while in drag is if it was the crack-fic that was being absolutely ridiculous on purpose.
lost2mercy From: lost2mercy Date: November 14th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I totally agree with most points you're making. Sadly, in this day and age a man who dresses in "women's" clothes would never be taken seriously. It's, as you said, considered degrading, while the other way round is considered perfectly fine nowadays. And the reason behind it is that women had to actually fight for their rights. It was women who had an active interest to be treated as any man would. I suspect as long as women don't have a better, enviable (or at least completely equal) status in society things won't change on the clothing front, either.

That said, I don't quite agree that men enjoy dressing up as a woman to ridicule only. Not in every case. Every carnival season I see boys dressing up as women and in most cases they try to look pretty. Yes, they do add the fake boobs and everything, but I think they honestly enjoy going through life as a woman for once. They shave their legs, they love the tights and they ususally put a lot of effort into their make-up. And every once in a while you see those boys who try to rebel with a kilt, insisting that that's the only thing they are ever going to wear from now on. I think it's their way of genderbending in our rigid society...
liliaeth From: liliaeth Date: November 14th, 2010 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll easily admit that there are very few rules if any that well go for everyone. I'm sure that there's plenty of boys who have good intentions dressing up as women, or wearing dresses. I just wish that we could do something about the world, so that there's nothing controversial left about picking whether you want to wear a dress, skirt, kilt or pair of pants or shorts, regardless of your gender for your time off.(not going to say a thing about what would be controversial or not for work wear. )
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: November 14th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
While I don't think all female drag is misogynist - some of it deconstructs male and female binaries in a really interesting way, some of it is a genuine homage to women or a particular woman - the most common public manifestation is what you're talking about here.

Where I live, everyone dresses pretty much the same - jeans, work shirt, boots, maybe a woollen jumper and beanie if it's cold or a t-shirt and cap if it's hot. That's just "work", not male or female, and many have dressed like that for 50 years or more. And still, when the teenage boys want to do something stupid, they dress up a dead kangaroo in women's clothing because that's hilarious. Or they steal their sister's clothing. It's transgressive, but I would not be surprised if they turned on anyone who is actually transgressive, especially men. There are 5 lesbians in my town of 800 people, and no out gay men.
liliaeth From: liliaeth Date: November 14th, 2010 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
True there's exceptions to every rule. And I even think that most of the guys who dress up as women for a joke, don't even intend to be insulting. To them it's just some 'funny' thing to do, they don't think about it, either of what it means, or what it says about women.

Society is a huge part of the problem in that, we're almost trained to find the idea of a man in a dress, funny. When little boys want to dress up in pretty frilly dresses, they're often treated as if there's something wrong with them for wanting to be the princess for a change. Where as a little girl in a Batman costume is considered adorable.

It starts with Bugs Bunny and it keeps on going. And it's one of the hardest things to stop, because most people don't even realize what they're doing, either to their children or to themselves.
lit_gal From: lit_gal Date: November 14th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can get uncomfortable with men in drag, and I never knew why. I even wrote a number of drag queens in Witness and Recovery Epic, and I never had any sort of squick, so I couldn't put my finger on why they usually bothered me when I saw it in other stories. I think you just put your finger on why I am sometimes bothered when I see men dressed as women. They think it's funny... that it's degrading (and it's used to trigger humiliation for either erotic or punishment purposes). That really is an insult.
liliaeth From: liliaeth Date: November 14th, 2010 07:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it's like those fics where Xander or Spike or Angel or Dean or... lose a bet/get taken by the bad guy/... whatever and are forced to wear a dress. And we're supposed to empathize with how humiliated they feel about getting done up like a girl, make up and all.

Or a fic where a guy dressed up as a girl and gets sexually aroused by the taboo of it.

I know it's a kink for a lot of people, but I often wonder if people even realize what that says about their view of women. Because the worst bit is that most people don't think about it, don't realize it and just go with society's idea of a man in a dress being either weird, funny or kinky.
elisi From: elisi Date: November 16th, 2010 10:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm. This post made me think. I get your point, but I live in England and here drag is... well, it's just one of those things. It's part of the culture, the very fabric of the nation, in a way it isn't really anywhere else. (AA Gill has an excellent article here.) You'd be hard pressed to find an actor in all of England who has not dragged up at some point or other f.ex.

Yes it's funny of course, but not mock-worthy. Not in a sense of putting women down. I'm not sure I can explain it, except to say that it's quite a masculine thing - this story being a prime example. But that's just England. Not quite sure what I'm saying, just thought you might like a different perspective. :)
liliaeth From: liliaeth Date: November 16th, 2010 10:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh I understand about tradition. But let me give you a counter example.

I'm Belgian. Along with the dutch, we have this annual tradition of Sinterklaas and his Zwartie Pieten

Zwarte Piet is basically played by men and women, in general, most of them are white, who wear blackface and are the saints servants and aids, helping him in handing out treats to kids.

It's tradition, it's something that's a part of our culture...

But people might still think it's racist, because you got a black servant to a white guy...

Even though no one who's ever dressed up as Zwarte Piet or Black Pete (in english) ever meant anything insulting to people of African origin...

See what I mean?
elisi From: elisi Date: November 16th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh yes, I can see that. Although blackface is more problematic, I think. *ponders* Mostly though, I don't think any woman has ever thought panto dames insulting.



But like I said, it's a thing very peculiar to the English. I am trying to imagine the same thing in, let's say Denmark, and it's quite a different picture...
liliaeth From: liliaeth Date: November 16th, 2010 10:49 am (UTC) (Link)


Just to compare, those are two Black Petes with a Sinterklaas which is a sight you see all around Belgium from about nowember to the fifth of december.

And I'm not sure if blackface is any more inherently othering the other party, than wearing drag is. Aside of the part of how mysogony has been internalized for a lot longer and is seen as more acceptable, as more 'normal'. Because racism is more obvious and easier to identify, while we all 'know' that women and men are different.

The basic fact is that both are probably wrong. Overhere people have gotten into a habit of trying to change the tradition to saying that no, Black Pete isn't supposed to be black, he's a chimney sweeper... Not that it helps much.



Edited at 2010-11-16 10:50 am (UTC)
elisi From: elisi Date: November 16th, 2010 12:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just to compare, those are two Black Petes with a Sinterklaas which is a sight you see all around Belgium from about nowember to the fifth of december.
Can I ask, do the black Petes have to be white people in blackface, or could they equally well be actual black people? I'm curious, because Dames can only be played by men. They're almost... a third sex? That sounds bizarre, but they're somewhere in the middle, something quite unique.

Thinking about it, then I know that there are many problems with men in drag (excluding Dames), and misogyny, but OTOH then I think people should wear whatever they're comfortable with. Yes, straight, cis-gendered men and women are different from each other, but there are an awful lot of people who don't feel comfortable in either box. Look at f.ex. Grayson Perry. Clearly he is not... normal, but his choice to dress up as a 7 year old girl is his alone.
liliaeth From: liliaeth Date: November 16th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well there's no rule that says that black people can't play Zwarte Piet.

And the thing is, if men want to wear pretty dresses, because they like the look of it, then I have no problem with that. Especially when we're talking about transgendered people. I just have a problem with the notion of drag as entertainment based on the idea that men in dresses = inherently funny
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