Men in skirts? Why not?

I’ve often thought that, especially in this weather, a skirt would be rather comfortable.

Anyone know where I might be able to buy a nice manly skirt?

I’ve always said that in the future men will wear skirts (dresses) as much as women. I’m still trying to explain myself why during all these centuries men didn’t dare to wear a skirt (respect goes to Scotland men)?

Wearing skirts has so many advantages – it’s comfortable, it makes your skin breathe, it gives you more freedom when you move… What is so wrong with that? Man have ugly legs? So what? There are lots of women with ugly legs too and they are allowed to wear skirts. Men have something women don’t (you know what I’m talking ’bout)? So what? It’s even more on show when they wear skinny jeans or any other tight kind of trousers – if you want to stare you stare!

Just don’t tell me that there must be something to make women and men different! As if you can’t distinguish a woman from…

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27 Responses to “Men in skirts? Why not?”

  1. Phillip Helbig Says:

    Presumably you don’t consider kilts manly. 🙂

    Princes Charles and Philip often wear kilts even south of the border. Surely what is good for the monarchy is good for the subjects?

    Just do it!

    Historically, many societies have had men who wore something similar to skirts or dresses. Today, “the man in the purple dress” is likely to be some sort of Catholic clergyman.

    IIRC, trousers developed because they were more practical for riding horses, and in the olden days women didn’t ride as often (especially when most horses were war horses and most soldiers men), so trousers became associated with men.

    I was at a concert last year where the bass player wore a kilt, but he (along with most of the rest of the band) was from Scotland.

    I’m sure that men wearing skirts should be protected under the umbrella of diversity.

    • telescoper Says:

      I have never worn a kilt but they seem to be made of rather heavy material and unlikely to be comfortable in hot weather.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        Indeed. I have seen skirts, though, which look like kilts but are made of much thinner fabric.

  2. Phillip Helbig Says:

    As shown in this interesting picture, kilts (and perhaps sometimes too little else) are worn by some people as far south as Kent.

  3. Something like this looks rather fetching:
    http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/171581213124

    It’s in the style of a kilt but made of cotton rather than wool (the traditional kilt material), so might be nice and, er, airy.

  4. Anton Garrett Says:

    In all seriousness, what of the question of which toilet or changing room someone goes to – should this be determined by what clothes someone wears or by body anatomy?

    • Phillip Helbig Says:

      I vote for neither. There are common public toilets in some countries. It’s simply not an issue.

      Common public toilets are rare in Germany, but at concerts and so on when many want to go at the same time, the queues tend to be longer at the women’s since urinals are generally faster, so sometimes some women come into the men’s toilet. I’ve never noticed anyone objecting to this.

      In some countries, there used to be separate public toilets etc for black and white people.

      Another problem with two toilets, changing rooms etc is that it works only a) if someone identifies as one of the choices on offer and b) if other people accept their choice. It also assumes that whatever reasons exist for separate men’s and women’s toilets, changing rooms, etc don’t apply in the same way to LGBTQP folks, which might affect straight people as well.

      At least at places where there are several public toilets, an additional option would be to have common ones in addition to the segregated ones. People can then choose where they want to go. This is rather common at changing rooms at public swimming pools etc in Germany, where there are communal rooms as well as segregated and/or single ones. Very practical for families, since those who are hung up about such things often have different ideas as of what age children are required to go into the “appropriate” room, as opposed to tagging along with the parents.

      For what it’s worth (quite a lot, actually), in German and Dutch-speaking countries, practically all public saunas are mixed (and nudity is required). Probably 10 per cent of the population visit a public sauna, at least from time to time, which is much larger than the number of people who would identify as “nudist” in some incarnation. Again, it’s just not an issue. (Other countries have segregation, or require costumes (which sort of defeats the purpose of the sauna), or, in really hung-up places, both.)

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Phillip,

        Unisex toilets and changing rooms can be constructed having individual cubicles, but the logical corollary of all this is unisex sports teams which strikes me as unfair to women.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        The usual justification for separate men’s and women’s sports teams is that the strongest men are stronger than the strongest women, so in sports where strength is essential all good teams would be all-male. I don’t know whether table tennis has separate men’s and women’s competition, but it doesn’t seem that the strength factor is essential here. The same for bowling, drag racing, billiards, etc.

        Of course, broadening the picture somewhat, there is a long history of debate about transgender, XXY, etc people in sports: if someone is “really” a man is it fair to compete in the women’s competition?

        I don’t think that the consequence should be unisex sports teams. If there is a valid reason for a distinction, that’s fine. I see no problem with giving women more time off from work before the birth of a child than men, for example. Public toilets don’t have any valid reason, as far as I can tell, and seem to work fine where they exist.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        So men and women emerge from a unisex changing room and then separate into different sports teams? That is simply inconsistent.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        “So men and women emerge from a unisex changing room and then separate into different sports teams? That is simply inconsistent.”

        Really?

        Assuming that more than one match is taking place near the changing room in the first place, what is wrong with this scenario? (Whether it is “consistent” doesn’t really matter.) Should they arrive by separate buses, trains, etc as well?

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Yes, you have seen the point. A line has to be drawn somewhere. Blithely asserting that where you think it should be drawn is “valid” is not a constructive way to engage.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        “Yes, you have seen the point. A line has to be drawn somewhere. Blithely asserting that where you think it should be drawn is “valid” is not a constructive way to engage.”

        I don’t think I blithely assert anything. Yes, people will differ on where the line should be drawn. If society deems that a line should be drawn at all, it has to agree by democratic process, preferably informed based on facts.

        My position is that any sort of segregation requires an objective reason. Apart from leave from work in the few weeks before and after a birth and some kinds of sports, I don’t see any objective reasons for society treating men and women differently.

        Another point: not everyone might like LGBTQP people, but they do exist. Any sort of dichotomous system must take this into account. Actually, I think the recognition of a broader gender spectrum renders dichotomous systems rather obsolete.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        And that is the point. If you acknowledge LGBTQP (and more), why should sport be subdivided into just two, referred to as men and women? Does consistency not demand either unisex teams or multiple teams, one for each category; and if not, why not?

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        As I mentioned above: “Of course, broadening the picture somewhat, there is a long history of debate about transgender, XXY, etc people in sports: if someone is “really” a man is it fair to compete in the women’s competition?”

        I think the issue of sports, though, is largely a red herring regarding a) the acceptance (or at least tolerance) of LGBTQP people in society, b) mixed toilets, changing rooms, etc, and c) men in skirts.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        I mean no discourtesy but I think you have ducked my question.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        I assume that this is the question: “Does consistency not demand either unisex teams or multiple teams, one for each category; and if not, why not?”

        I think neither. Multiple teams, i.e. one for straight men, one for bisexual women, etc, doesn’t make any sense. One team for all would, as you mention, essentially eradicate professional sportswomen. I think the only issue—something which has been an issue in the past—is an unfair advantage of someone who is not completely a woman in the traditional sense competing in a women’s team, e.g. woman-to-man transgendered person, XXY, whatever. I think it is rather difficult to “treat someone as a woman” if she was formerly a man, is two meters tall, and wants to play on the women’s basketball team. This is really less an issue for society as a whole and more an issue for sports, I think.

        One might say that as a (serially) monogamous straight bloke I shouldn’t comment too much on the transgendered world, about which I know essentially absolutely nothing (despite getting an email from Estelle Asmodelle this morning—extra points if you can figure out why), especially since I have almost zero interest in competitive sports. I don’t think the approach, though, that each person should be able to independently decide how society should view them is the correct one, as the interesting story of Rachel Dolezal demonstrates. (My own feeling is that if I wanted to live “as a woman” I wouldn’t change much at all, except perhaps occasionally wearing a skirt. Many transgendered people opt for an extreme, almost caricatured, version of their desired gender, i.e. shiny black leather shoes, pipe, short hair for male and high heels, makeup, long hair for a woman. I find such artificial gender markers annoying even among straight people. I would also find it hard to ask for society to treat me differently if I adopt another gender personality because I would rather live in a society where people are not treated differently based on gender or anything else.)

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        So you accept the categories of men and women and regard LGBTQP etc as subcategories based on dress and sexual preference?

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        “So you accept the categories of men and women and regard LGBTQP etc as subcategories based on dress and sexual preference?”

        No. The world is more complicated than that. There is gender based on chromosomes, based on morphology, based on hormones, based on self-perception. These do not always correspond. Neither are these individually always clearly defined (I specifically mentioned XXY, for example.) A non-negligible fraction of babies are born with no clear gender.

        Then there is sexual preference, which is certainly influenced by other factors. (Again, I am not an expert on this; perhaps the gender aspects mentioned above are completely orthogonal to this.) L, G, and B are by definition based on sexual preference. T can be based on (altered) morphology but also on dress and is more or less orthogonal to sexual preference. If P is “pansexual”, then it is also concerned with sexual preference; if it is “poly” then it is concerned with quantity, not quality (the latter not implying goodness, merely methods of distinction). Q by definition is undefined. 🙂

        (I once new a girl who, when filling in forms which asked for “sex”, said “I always put F for frequently”.)

        Back to sports, I don’t see where sexual preference should have anything to do with anything. (In practice it does; apparently it is rare for male footballers to be openly gay, whereas many female footballers are openly lesbian. The German football club FC St. Pauli (which at times has been in the top league, the Bundesliga) had an openly gay owner for a while, who was also an icon of the gay scene in Hamburg, but this is the exception rather than the rule (as is FC St. Pauli in many other respects). (St. Pauli is a part of Hamburg noted for, among other things, the harbour, the red-light district, the development of the Beatles, and the burial place of C.P.E. Bach.)) As opposed to gender, or sex, or whatever, then if there are separate teams based on this (as far as I know, there are none apart from men’s and women’s), then obviously this has to be defined somehow—chromosomes, morphology, hormones, self-perception, with all the details mentioned above and complicated by the fact that these can change with time. But since this shouldn’t have any repercussions outside of sports, it seems to me to be one of the many decisions which those who organize sports have to decide. There was a similar discussion a while back about a runner who had prosthetic legs which might have been an unfair advantage.

        Apart from sports and maternity leave, it seems to me that both the easiest and best way is not to make any distinctions at all. Things such as gender and sexual preference shouldn’t be relevant to anyone except the people themselves and (perhaps) those sexually interested in them, neither of which have to do with how people should be treated in public.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Let me be explicit that I do not believe in treating people nastily, and I agree that sexual preference should not matter to sporting categories at the least. But if male and female are not exhaustive categories, as you affirm, then sport should either take account of those other categories so as not to discriminate against them, or go unisex – should it not?

      • telescoper Says:

        I never really understood why there are separate Bridge competitions for men and women…

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        That was done for the sake of marital harmony, Peter. People have shot their bridge partners for lousing up…

      • telescoper Says:

        There are mixed pairs, but it is forbidden for husband & wife combinations to be partners at bridge. If that were allowed, the divorce rate would rocket.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        “But if male and female are not exhaustive categories, as you affirm, then sport should either take account of those other categories so as not to discriminate against them, or go unisex – should it not?”

        As you seem to agree, sexual preference is not the issue. With regard to morphology, the number of people who don’t fit into the standard male/female mould is probably not large enough to get enough professional-level players into one team, not to mention enough teams for a league.

    • telescoper Says:

      We have gender neutral toilets here at Sussex, actually. These are not uncommon on the continent.

      You may also have noticed that elsewhere in the UK, e.g. in Paddington Station, there are toilets that can even accommodate Daleks:

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        I must say it has struck me for decades that public toilets should consist of a room of pissoirs for the exclusive use of those with willies who wish only to micturate, and a separate room accessible to all giving access to individual cubicles each containing a sitdown toilet and a sink.

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