Where’s the politics in clothes? Isn’t what we wear just a matter of personal choice?
Yep – choice is part of it. And our choices are also influenced by what is acceptable to others – i.e. social NORMS.
The social norm which ties men to trousers is heavily policed – by other men, by industry, by women, by the media, and by institutions.
But it’s not just other people. We take on this social norm deep into our own identity, so that we feel uncertain – vulnerable – when we wear unfamiliar garments.
Our choices are also restricted by what is available to buy in the shops. When the fashion industry doesn’t make skirts, men can’t buy and wear them. So people see men only wearing trousers.
Because these powerful political forces are at work inside us and around us, when men do things which “normal” men don’t do, such as wearing non-conventional garments, we need to claim the space to do so.
We must assert that what we are doing is perfectly legitimate, entirely positive, and a valid way to be a member of society.
— It’s just different to what most people expect.
The talks and essays in this section flesh out all this – hopefully providing some supportive ideas and stories.