Why It's A Big Deal When Men Wear Women's Clothes In Public
Shocking, but why?
For most women, wearing women's clothing in public is not a big deal. It's something we do everyday without so much as batting an eyelid. We can also wear men's clothing out in public without too much trouble either. When was the last time someone took issue with a woman wearing a sweater and jeans, for example (besides in some whiny Craigslist posting, and Craigslist postings don't count as reality anyway.)
For men however, the act of wearing women's clothing in public is something of an act of defiance. It breaks the rules. It shocks onlookers. It draws furtive glances and giggles.
Not all of these things are bad. Most of us grow up within this double standard never questioning it. I know I certainly didn't until I actually met a man who wore lingerie and began to see the world through his eyes. It's easy to judge people for not seeing the inequality, but the fact of the matter is, as humans we tend to see only those things which effect us. You could call it being self centered, but in reality it is probably more a result of the fact that there is just no real way to comprehend all of the social issues in the world at one time.We only have so much brain space, and much of that is taken up with the task of not falling over when we walk.
So then, when we first see a man wearing women's clothing, be it a skirt, a dress, some panties, or even just carrying a purse, our little minds are blown.
Some people react to this change with anger and try to reject it. 'It's wrong', they say, or 'It's gay'. (Thereby rejecting the behavior by associating it with a group which has traditionally been marginalized and stigmatized.)
Other people are more on the fence. 'Huh. Okay. I guess if he wants to it's okay.'
Still other people love the idea and embrace it fully. There's some evidence that there are genetic markers associated with being receptive to change. People highly receptive to change are generally liberal in political outlook and don't get too upset when they encounter worldviews markedly different from their own. People who are not receptive to change tend to become defensive or aggressive when presented with views, ideas or realities which conflict with what they have come to accept. It doesn't make the behavior any less bigoted or wrong, but it does explain the logical disconnect which occurs when people become outrageously upset over things that really do not affect them (ie, when men wear women's clothing.)
If you want proof of that wild and unsubstantiated claim I just made, check out this TED talk on Conservative and Liberal morality. It is sure to learn you good on this subject.
Of course, the genetics of temperament only indicates how we feel about a subject on a reptilian, primal level. It is not an excuse for ongoing bigotry, or for hurting those around us by enforcing our limited world view upon them. When we understand the motivations which drive us, we have the chance to overcome them, live a happier life, and leave others to live happy lives as well.