OPINION: Gender discrimination and the American male

opinion john

Across this nation in small towns and major cities, men are routinely discriminated against and no one seems to be concerned with our plight.

There are no protests. There are no social groups to help call attention to unfair treatment we are exposed to on a daily basis.

From the office cubicle to board rooms to churches and social settings, it is completely unacceptable for men to dress as comfortably as women during the long sweltering days of summer. This must change; men deserve equal rights just as any other group.

Women have almost unlimited options in clothing and footwear that are deemed appropriate for the average office or social setting.

Men have extremely limited options—none of which are nearly as comfortable as the options of women.

In all but the most casual settings, men are expected at a minimum to wear full coverage shoes, socks, long pants and a collared shirt. In many settings, particularly when meeting with clients or attending functions, men are expected to wear the above plus a necktie and often a jacket.

I don’t recall ever seeing a sign in a fancy restaurant that mentions anything about jackets being required for women. Why are men the only gender required to suffer from excessive layers of clothing to enjoy a fine dining experience?

Women can wear open toe shoes that allow their feet to stay much cooler than their counterparts. They can even get away with shoes that look as if there is nothing more than a sole and single strap between their first and second toes. Men can’t get away with this; there are few places where men in sandals are acceptable.

Over the last several years, I began to wear casual, but hopefully still professional-appearing, shoes sans socks. And, both male and female coworkers have negatively commented on my lack of socks; but it is my right and nowhere in our employee manual is the wearing of socks specifically addressed. Not wearing socks is much more comfortable and it’s my own rebellious form of silent protest.

Women can wear sleeveless blouses or dresses to the office, to church, to restaurants and the like. Let a man show up in a sleeveless shirt and he would be subjected to comments such as “Ewww…we don’t want to see your armpits, put a shirt on.”

Women can wear skirts, dresses or those skorts things and it’s acceptable in most settings. This privilege allows for a flow of fresh air on their legs and those unmentionable areas of the human body that simply are more comfortable with airflow. Let a man show up at work in shorts, and we would be laughed out of the office likely by both women and men.

Women often complain about being cold in an office environment while we suffer from near heat exhaustion? Men are forced to endure cruel and unusual temperature torture while women flit about with exposed extremities and ample airflow.

Ever wonder why most men despise having to go to fancy parties, restaurants or weddings? Women again get to wear things that are far more comfortable than what we are expected to wear. Men are usually expected to pile a minimum of three layers on our torso and often a choking device around our neck; long pants, dress shoes and socks. It’s just not fair.

Men have been conditioned to accept our positions and rarely complain about it, but the time has come for us to fight for our right to be comfortable.

I think I’ll start shopping for kilts and see how acceptable these are in the office. Nowhere in our employee manual does it say that men can’t wear skirts.

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  1. No More says:

    Are you serious? Bored? Slow news day? You have outdone yourself – and not in a good way.

  2. John says:

    It is about time men should be allowed as many options as women in clothing. Kilts are far easier to wear in hot conditions and look just as good if not better than pants.

  3. John Hewitt says:

    @No more! This is an opinion piece and not intended to be news.

  4. Charlie says:

    I absolutely agree with everything you say. I’ve long wondered why men have to sweat in jackets and pants with or without the hated necktie while women stay cool and comfortable in floaty dresses and sandals. You, like me are fifteen years into the twenty-first century; others are still stuck in the nineteenth century with its Dickensian attitudes. By the way – I’m a man and I often wear skirts – they’re much more comfortable than pants!

  5. Grim says:

    Completely agree with the tone of the article. Some small factual errors, there are some social groups whose aim is encourage what I like to call “fashion freedom” There is a group in France whose name escapes me, a very popular website on this side of the pond is skirtcafe.org, another is dress2kilt.eu and there is the very traditionally minded xmarksthescot.com

    I have been wearing skirts for about 2 years or so, and at work for the last 3 months. For those considering it, everyone’s situation is different, and I asked management first, but I have had zero negative comments, and only a couple of reactions that could be called negative. On the other hand, I’ve had many positive comments, and could have got a couple of phone numbers if I’d had a mind. In the very hot weather of those last 3 months, it has been so nice to enjoy the comfort, physical and mental that skirt wearing has given me.

    Guys, take a trip to your local thrift stores, buy a couple of different styles, try them out at home, you don’t know what you’re missing!

  6. Dillon says:

    I can’t think of any article of clothing more absurd than the necktie. The freedom women have with their clothing choices reflects two things. First, that men think fashion shouldn’t matter if you have a Y chromosome, because they regard clothing not as comfort or expression, but as a uniform, and, second, that men are too chickens–t to step outside the box, and are totally petrified by the thought of being different from any other man in any imaginable way. Right on for men’s skirts!

  7. Bill Hines says:

    First let me thankyou for a most interesting opinion article. Now let me list some facts.

    1. The skirted garment is the second oldest to be worn by men and women. The first was the loincloth.
    2. Trousers came into being as an adaptation for protection while horseback riding.
    3. Men have only been making use of a bifurcated garment worn generally for about the last 300 years.
    4. Trousers were popularized during the French Reveloution when they were worn to mark one as part of the revolt against the aristocracy.
    5. If you are going to raise a family skirted garments are best for the health of the male anatomy as they allow the testes to naturaly regulate the temperature in the scrotum which should be cooler for the production of sperm.
    6. Men arn’t built for trousers as the engineers say “Form follows funtion.”

    I have been wearing kilts since the mid ninties. Just as a side note I’ve been happly married for four decades and my wife approves.

  8. A good article and I agree with it.

    There is no law in the western world, certainly not USA and UK that men cannot wear skirts. Certain parts of society put peer pressure on men eg at work to name but one, but not for women as to what they can wear and the degree of flexibility and it is down to men to do what the women have done and started in a big way via feminism and start to stand for their rights. We live in an equal gender world these days so claim your rights.

    I wear skirts and clothing that society still label as womens wear but any wear for women in all aspects of my life except for certain DIY, my self employment and most hiking on the hills due to practical reasons.

    I have a web site that gives good reasons why men can and should wear what they want. http://www.theskirtedman.eu

    There is no law, men do not need to ask, they just need to embrace freedom of choice and expression, a right.

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