Why On Earth Are We Still Gendering Clothes?

Ashtyn Britt
abritt@lc.edu

 

For as long as I could remember, I had been told what was boy’s clothes and what was girl’s clothes. When you’re a little kid, you accept what you’re told very easily by your parents. Boys get shirts with footballs on them, and girls get pink dresses. However, as I grew older, I started to realize that for a lot of clothing, there wasn’t as much difference between what were in the Men’s and Women’s section as we as a society think there are.

Sure, there are some things that can be argued as more masculine or feminine, like the differences between a tuxedo or a bodycon dress. Those aren’t the clothes I’m talking about today, though. I am specifically referring to more basic clothes, such as pants, button down shirts, T-shirts, socks, shoes, and so on. I began to notice the unfair balance with clothing a few years ago when it came to flannels specifically. Men’s flannel shirts are actually made with cozy flannel material that can keep someone warm in the cold weather. Women’s flannel shirts aren’t actually made with flannel material, they’re ridiculously thin plaid shirts that wouldn’t keep anybody warm for even a second! Why do boys get to enjoy being warm outside while everyone else freezes? The only real difference is their material, since otherwise they look exactly the same! Same with men’s T-shirts. Has anybody ever noticed they last longer and preserve their color better in the wash than women’s T-shirts do? What gives!?

Recently, I received a free pair of shoes from a friend who had received them as a gift and didn’t want them. They were technically men’s running shoes, not that anybody would be able to tell by looking at them. However, when I tried them on, I felt a huge difference. Specifically, the bottoms of these tennis shoes were at least four times stronger, more durable, and more comfortable than any women’s tennis shoes I have owned in the past twenty-two years. I felt like I could easily run a marathon in these shoes! They’re my current go-to shoe now, and I love them.

Nobody has noticed these shoes were supposedly made for a man to wear, though. The reason is because the idea that women’s shoes and men shoes look excessively different is usually untrue, and it shouldn’t matter. The fashion companies should stop giving women scraps of cloth and shoes made to fall apart in three months! I think I can safely speak for a lot of women here when I say it’s stupid that we seem to keep getting swindled any time we want to wear something functional as well as cute while we make our way through the world. Men aren’t the only people who go outside when it’s cold or who work all day on their feet, after all. Why don’t other people deserve a nice and long lasting piece of clothing?

I don’t know about anybody else reading, but I am personally tired of subpar clothing being charged higher than most men’s clothing. So, the next time you head to the mall to get a cute outfit, check out the nice things in the men’s section and don’t care about what anybody tells you. My shoes don’t have a gender and neither should yours!

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