Luckily (?) sexism is not a one-day-a-year thing so I guess I'm safe to blog a day late. The rest of the carnival-whatever is here.
Of course, I've had an exceptionally lucky and privileged life when it comes to feeling the effects of overt sexism. (I think the only time I was knowingly denied a job for being female was when I had a short-lived desire to be an altar server in the fifth grade.) Nobody's ever told me to my face that I couldn't do something I really wanted to because of my gender. That's not because sexism doesn't exist — that's because I'm lucky (and quite possibly too obtuse to pick up on subtle hints).
But there's one thing that bugs me — more a peeve, really. Especially now that I've become such a dress advocate. What is it? It's when guys come up to me and say "I like it when women wear dresses."
Now, you might think this is a quibble, because, hey, I like it when women wear dresses. Actually, no — I like it when a woman — one specific woman, one at a time — comes up to me and tells me she ENJOYS wearing dresses. That is, I like it when I meet someone who shares my love of wearing dresses. I like it that someone else is enjoying something I think is enjoyable, not that an ENTIRE GENDER is conforming to my aesthetic ideal.
You might also say, "Hey, Erin, aren't there things that guys wear that you like?" And sure, I'd say. I love Jack Purcells so I know if I meet a guy wearing those that I will probably admire his taste. I know if a guy has a kickass messenger bag we could probably have an incredibly geeky gadget-stowing conversation (one that will probably last much longer than necessary), and I also enjoy the occasional ironic t-shirt. (I also have a strange attraction to Adidas Sambas, but that's just a leftover from having gone to high school in the 1980s.) But all these things are about making a connection with an individual based on mutual appreciation for an object.
But there's something about "I like it when women wear dresses" that completely irks me. Who knows, maybe it's the hangover from thousands of years of patriarchy, or a reminder that wearing dresses used to be an obligation, not a choice, but it just gives me the sneaking suspicion that maybe, just maybe, this is someone who might not see women as 100% belonging to the human race. Maybe it's because substituting almost anything else for the "wear dresses" part of the "I like it when women wear dresses" statement seems hinky. (Try it yourself. The only one I felt okay with was "I like it when women run for public office," and even that one felt weird.)
I am almost certainly overthinking this, I know. But just to be safe, if you're tempted to say something like this (for the ten guys who read this blog) how about substituting "I really like your dresses." Or "That's a great dress!" But not, under any circumstances "I wish my [wife/girlfriend/significant other/mother] wore dresses." (That one's really creepy.)
And this is certainly not a pressing ill that must be remedied before women can achieve full equality, but hey, this is a dress blog and I have to stay on topic!
This picture is from the marvelous Plan59. Go visit!