Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Every line should be unisex."

The New York Times has an article today headlined, "It's All a Blur to Them: Crossing between the men’s and women’s aisles feels right to young customers." It a boilerplate "trends" piece. Pick a subculture of people, describe the trend, and get a few provocative quotes from the members of the movement. (In fact, I have myself been interviewed and quoted in two such fluff pieces in that same newspaper — and no, not for dressing like a bitch. 200 bonus Dogen points for anyone who guesses correctly what the articles were about.)

The article features women who wear men's clothing and men who wear women's clothing. Not as "cross-dressers" or performers; and also not as feminists or gender-studies types. They're portrayed as everyday urbanites who can't see why they should be confined to just one half of the clothing department.

But Mr. Pham, 28, an engineer in Manhattan, thought nothing of combining stalk-slim jeans with a sweatshirt pinched from his mom and sexily sheared à la “Flashdance.”
Ah, New York.
What Dr. Ehrensaft has dubbed “gender fluidity” remains in her view a form of rebellion. It suggests, she said, that “younger people no longer accept the standard boxes. They won’t be bound by boys having to wear this or girls wearing that."
You know what? I would argue that the "younger people" — these younger people in particular — have no clue what the standard boxes even are. Are people still rebelling against the 1950's images of masculinity and femininity? The "standard boxes" have been dead for over a generation now. No, these people are not rebelling against the norms of masculinity and femininity. These people have no concept of what those terms might mean outside of the lame stereotypes that gender studies departments and tv sitcoms offer them. You can't rebel against something if you never even believed in it.

They're like people sitting on the beach with their backs to the ocean, insisting it's a desert. That sound of crashing waves you hear is just an illusion forced on us by the patriarchy.
Women have been incorporating trousers, biker jackets and combat boots into their wardrobes since Amelia Earhart swapped her pearls for a flight suit. But increasingly, it is men who are making unabashed forays into mom’s closet, some for fashion’s sake, others for fit.
Gender-fuck for the sake of rebellion or to stand out would be easier to handle. Young people have always and will always come up with stupid ways to rebel against the older generation. This is actually a healthy phenomenon, though of course it usually takes deeply retarded form.

But these people don't feel a thrill of transgression from invading mom's closet. They traipse in there feeling 100% at home, twinkle toes dancing, holding up various items and twirling around in a rapture of genderless bliss.
“In the streets I see young couples dressing almost alike, wearing slicked hair, peacoats, straight jeans or those longer T-shirts that are almost like a dress,” she said. Such a willful melding of men’s and women’s garb represents, she said, “a kind of evening of the playing field.”
What? Evening of what playing field? The clothing field? Was it tilted in one direction or another previously? This is clearly a throwaway remark by the person quoted (Sharon Graubard, a senior executive with Stylesight, a trend forecasting firm in New York). It's probably not fair to jump down her throat about an off-hand remark. Nevertheless, it shows how thoroughly brainwashed people are to believe in the notion of gender disadvantage. If there is any way that something can be tied to traditional (you know, um, real) gender, it's assumed there must be some horrid, oppressive advantage that males have always lorded over the helpless females. The playing field must be evened! Again, Ms. Graubard didn't actually say this, and she probably didn't even think it; it's just implicit in her comment. Thinking otherwise is completely unacceptable in polite society today.
Mingling men’s and women’s clothing, others argue, is like waving a flag of neutrality. “It’s a way of breaking down sexualized relationships,” said Piper Marshall, 24.
Well, here I can agree. It certainly does break down sexualized relationships. It takes away the natural polarity of male and female and robs people of the thrill of enjoying male-female differences. It deflates the cock and hardens the vulva and makes the whole thing into one big mushy, boring porridge of ill-fitting blazers and stretch pants.

There's another salient detail in this quote, though. Our gender-bender here, "Piper," is just 24. With that name and that age, I can easily picture a quite attractive young Manhattan girl. She might have a slender body, a pixie haircut and fresh, vibrant skin. When she puts on combat boots and a man's suit jacket, it's probably quite charming and sexy. Young people give off a pheremonal sexuality that powers through any attempts at masking it. Likewise, I'm sure some of the younger men featured in this article have enough raw sexuality to pull off dressing like teenage girls and still seem attractive to some women.

The problem these people will have is if they really buy into all the ridiculous nonsense they are spouting. If "Piper" tries to dress like a man when she is 34, it's not going to work anymore. And the men in this article — I'm assuming not all of them are gay — can have all the pithy one-liners about gender roles that they please, but if they try that mom's closet bullshit at age 40, no one's going to think they are "edgy," only pathetic and creepy.
Fall advertisements for Burberry show a succession of lanky, pallid men and women wearing what seem to be interchangeable coats.
Again, I don't think that the cross-dressing is the cause of genderlessness. I think it is the symptom. People are so full of foggy, flavorless, false ideas that they drift away from their own physical existence. It's like they wish they didn't even have bodies, or that their bodies were otherwise constructed, by gray aliens perhaps.
“Obviously androgyny may not play in Peoria,” said Dr. Ehrensaft, the psychologist.
Ah, the requisite NY Times sniffing at flyover country. Now the article is almost complete.

“But norms are shifting.” In her clinical practice, working mostly with teenagers and elementary school children, Dr. Ehrensaft said she routinely witnesses “a kind of gender fashion parade.”

“Kids, even little kids, are experimenting across gender lines. Boys are wearing My Little Pony T-shirts, just because they like them. Sometimes they like to dress in the girls’ section because the shirts are cooler.”

Adults have long dictated the way young people dress, Dr. Ehrensaft said. “But now the young are giving us a different dictation."

And here I think we can see the underlying message: that this is a good thing. Dr. Ehrensaft is a textbook product of liberal quackademia. I can't believe it's 2009 and we are still living out the Freudian psychodrama of the Baby Boomers. This shit is so tired.

Don't you see the subtext? It's good that adults no longer set the standards. Because adults are hidebound and evil. Children are innocent and wonderful and all things green and good spring from the ground of youth. Never mind that children are almost totally lacking in moral feeling. Never mind that adults have at least a fighting chance of picking up some wisdom that might be worth passing on. No, if junior wants to wear a My Little Pony shirt, so be it.

In the end, of course, as a man, this just makes it that much easier to turn women on. Dress sharp, dress like an adult, dress like a man. Even the women who believe in all this airy gender-bender crap — especially those women — will be drawn to you they know not why, like moths to a flame. Because gender is real, women are women, and they crave a man who is a man.

9 comments:

  1. " They traipse in there feeling 100% at home, twinkle toes dancing, holding up various items and twirling around in a rapture of genderless bliss."

    Priceless. I bet Mr. Pham does lots of genderless twirlings. As for women being attracted to these effeminate poofs, I highly doubt it. Women CRAVE masculinity, no matter how fervently the reporter and those she interviewed desire it to be otherwise.

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  2. Arrgh. Another reason to cheer on the coming apocalypse. My generation is a generation of brain-dead dolts.

    I love how these clowns think they're being transgressive and edgy. Newsflash: authentic social transgression doesn't make the New York Fucking Times. True rebels are kicked and spit on by the establishment, not lauded by them.

    "I can't believe it's 2009 and we are still living out the Freudian psychodrama of the Baby Boomers."

    Fuck the Boomers. Fuck them sideways. It's their fault we're in this mess.

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  3. The most subversive people in the world know it's best not to stand out in a crowd. I'm just sayin'.

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  4. @Ferdinand:

    Yes, the smugness is so thick it blinds. My eyes.

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  5. This kind of shit works for teenagers and gets old real fast afterward. At least they aren't wearing eyeliner like back in the 1980s.

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  6. I completely agree with you. All women, deep down (at least the heterosexual ones) are attracted to masculine looking men. Nice analysis of the article. I love your blog!
    www.deardanielleadvice.blogspot.com

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  7. There's a lot of diversity among humans, though. I'm a woman, and I like hot masculine guys, like Hugh Jackman. But I also like hot androgynous guys, like Adam Lambert (sexy!) or David Bowie.

    And yes, I know Adam Lambert is gay. I know I'll never screw him. I still appreciate the view, though.

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  8. David Bowie can get away with it because he's (A) actually very manly under all that make-up, and (B) very famous and all ready pre-selected by millions of women.

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  9. this is just brilliantly put. BRILLIANTLY.

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