I initially wasn’t going to publish this onto the blog. Thank you, Carsen, for giving me the courage to do so, even though I had already made up my mind that I wasn’t going to publish anymore work onto this. Especially after regretting it last time I published a major piece onto this. Thank you.
Giving a gender to clothing has been ingrained into our culture since the beginning of time. Cute pink blouses with inspiring, feminine quotes for girls; adventurous blue t-shirts for boys. Clothing shouldn’t be separated into different aisles based on what gender should wear them.
We shouldn’t enforce gender stereotypes and social norms upon people, children in particular. People can like whatever they like, and don’t need to receive the criticism of others because of it. Who are we to decide what someone should and shouldn’t wear? We shouldn’t judge a boy for liking to paint his nails, or a girl for liking to wear suits. You can’t change who someone is.
This is especially an issue for non-binary people. They have to worry about whether they’ll be seen as a girl if they wear a feminine shirt one day, or if they’ll be seen as a guy if they wear a masculine shirt the next. This is an issue I personally have. My wardrobe is mostly full of androgynous/masculine T-shirts, but I have a few shirts I like that are more feminine than the others. If I go out in public wearing any of them, a label is stuck to my forehead: Girl. That hurts.
There’s one solution to this problem as a whole, one that some (possibly even many) may not agree with: to stop labeling all clothing as either for boys or for girls. Get rid of the store aisles separating clothing into the two groups. Any piece of clothing can be for anyone.
If people are concerned about not being able to determine someone’s gender by just looking at them, then we can start a new type of introduction: first name [last name], preferred pronouns. For example: Baile Apar, he/them. That’ll solve the problem. Another solution, we could just ask what someone’s pronouns are. We should already be doing that. With the rise of people identifying out of the gender binary, and some of them solely presenting traditionally femininely or masculinely, you don’t know who’s cis/trans and who’s non-binary. Someone presenting in a feminine/masculine manner may be non-binary, and you wouldn’t know it.
Yet what complicates this is that this doesn’t affect most individuals. Many are content with wearing the clothing assigned to their sex. They don’t have to worry about it. But what about those who do? It’s a matter of empathy. Put yourself in their shoes – in our shoes – for a minute. Imagine being non-binary. Having gender dysphoria. How would you feel if you weren’t able to relieve yourself of the pain of being misgendered constantly; just because of being judged for wearing a certain style of clothing?
Think about it.