Men in Kilts, Men's Skirts, Sarongs and Other Kilt-like Clothing
KILTMEN.COM - HOME OF THE BRAVEHEARTS
Home | Advice & Support | Forums | Photos | Links | Movies | Opinion | Suppliers | World MUGs
Confronting the Objections of Trouser Tyrants - Introduction
How to handle objections from wives, family, friends, and others to men wearing kilts, skirts, and other unbifurcated garments.
Where the Challenges Lie
We men who wear kilts and other male unbifurcated garments (MUGs) as regular attire are the new pioneers. We are the trailblazers opening a new world of male fashion, comfort, and freedom. Like other pioneers exploring unfamiliar territory, we sometimes find the natives to be friendly, sometimes skeptical, sometimes fearful, and sometimes downright hostile. A lot depends on the locality, the kind of people you are dealing with, and the way you present yourself.
Men wearing tartan kilts generally enjoy overwhelmingly positive reaction, almost wherever they go. Thanks in part to Braveheart, most people now recognize the kilt as masculine clothing. Men going about in Utilikilts and other types of masculine skirts may not receive the same compliments as those in tartan kilts, but they usually encounter very little negative reaction from the general public, and rarely any reaction at all. Unfortunately, the traveling is not always so smooth.
Pockets of intolerance have been reported in various places in the United States and Britain, and probably exist in many other countries as well. Even in friendly territory we may sometimes encounter stares, sniggers, jokes, or sarcastic remarks. Oh well . . . that's the kind of ignorant nonsense that pioneers learn to brush aside. People laughed at Columbus and the Wright brothers, but that didn't stop them. The overwhelming truth that we repeatedly discover is: The vast majority of the general public simply doesn't care what you're wearing.
Therefore, general public reaction is rarely an obstacle to male kilt and skirt wearing. The biggest obstacles are those closer to home. For example:
These are the primary enforcers of "Trouser Tyranny" in a man's life. The Trouser Tyrants may vary depending on the particular locality, family, social group, school, or place of employment. Some men are able to avoid or ignore such people. If they want to wear a kilt or skirt, they just do it. But for other men, Trouser Tyrants are a constant, unavoidable challenge. In order to win our struggle for freedom, we must develop practical strategies to deal with their objections. This article will offer some suggestions.
Defining Your Goals
Nowadays, a woman in the United States and most Western countries can simply say, "I feel like wearing slacks (or jeans, or a skirt, or a dress) today!" and go ahead and do it, with no questions asked. Ideally, a man should also be able to say, "I feel like wearing a kilt (or sarong, caftan, or other skirted garment)," without having to justify himself. But for many men, it isn't that simple. Merely verbalizing such a desire may stir up a storm of objections. A man might easily become discouraged, particularly if he is uncertain about his own feelings on the subject.
Before we confront the Trouser Tyrants, it would be helpful to examine our own attitudes, motivations, and goals regarding kilts, skirts, and other unbifurcated garments. After all, we are the ones who are challenging the status quo. We know that we may be in for a fight. Therefore, we must have a clear idea of what we're fighting for. Exactly what do we want to accomplish, and why?
The answers to these questions will depend on each individual. There are many different reasons why men desire to wear kilts, skirts, and other unbifurcated garments. Your reasons and goals may not be the same as mine. So, before we become mired in confusion and controversy, let's clarify where we're coming from and where we want to go.
While recognizing that individual men are complex and not easily categorized, it is nevertheless helpful to distinguish the following different approaches to men's skirt-wearing:
Which of these approaches most closely describes your attitudes and objectives? Perhaps you identify with more than one. Perhaps your approach is something altogether different. Whatever it is, you must recognize and understand it before you can develop supporting arguments. The approach that you follow will determine the way you address the objections of the Trouser Tyrants, as well as affecting your chances of success.
When it comes to convincing, or at least neutralizing, the Trouser Tyrants, some approaches will be easier to "sell" than others. It is important that we understand our adversaries and how they think. We will start with the following general observations about people who support Trouser Tyranny:
If these observations about Trouser Tyrants are accurate, men defending the "Transgender" approach might as well save their breath. Cross-dressing is the epitome of everything the Trouser Tyrants loathe. According to the religious conservatives' interpretation of Deuteronomy 22:5, it is an "abomination" for a man to put on women's clothing. They believe that God demands a clear distinction between males and females. In addition, some religious conservatives see cross-dressing activities in public schools as a plot to promote homosexuality. In deference to this view, many schools in the United States have forbidden boys to dress as girls for Halloween or powder-puff football games.
But people do not need religious justification to find cross-dressing objectionable. Discomfort with sexual ambiguity is so common that it probably has deep psychological or sociological roots. In addition, there may be genuine and realistic concern that the cross-dressing individual might become the victim of harassment and even violence.
Likewise, men advocating "Freestyler" principles will come up against the same objections to men wearing women's clothing. (Freestyling has been characterized by some as "cross-dressing lite.") The concern for safety may also be an issue - since a Freestyler openly wearing a skirt or dress as a man would make a more obvious target than a man disguised as a woman. These problems might be mitigated if the Freestyler chooses his outfits carefully and projects a self-confident, masculine image. However, the Freestyler philosophy rejects any such limitations. By definition, Freestyling has no boundaries. It stands for men's freedom to wear anything and everything that women wear, all the way up to full drag. This is a concept that Trouser Tyrants will never accept.
In contrast, the "Ethnic" approach would probably be easiest to sell - particularly if you have the appropriate national heritage to justify it - because it involves traditional male clothing worn in a limited, clearly defined context. However, even this is not a sure thing, as indicated by the following examples which have appeared on the Internet. At a high school in Michigan, a boy of Scottish descent wound up in detention for wearing his kilt to the school's "Ethnic Heritage Day." In another case, an Irish-American boy was disciplined for wearing a kilt to school on St. Patrick's day. A few years ago, when a male employee of Scottish descent wore a kilt to work at the University of California-Davis admissions office in honor of Tartan Day, his supervisor ordered him to remove the kilt and put on jeans instead. The supervisor deemed it inappropriate for the man to wear a kilt when greeting prospective students and their parents - even though one of his duties was to praise the University's policy promoting ethnic diversity!
The Ethnic approach might be a good starting point for some men, including those who have some Scottish or Irish background or who don't mind pretending that they do. But it is probably too limited, by itself, to free men's fashion from Trouser Tyranny.
The "Braveheart" approach builds on the already established heritage of ethnic MUGs, such as kilts, but it is not limited to ethnicity or special celebrations. It is open to the development of new varieties of unbifurcated garments, such as the Utilikilt, designed and marketed specifically for men. It provides men with the comfort and freedom of unbifurcated garments without suggesting that they raid the women's wardrobe. Because kilts and MUGs are male clothing, the thrust of Deuteronomy 22:5 is blocked. Because Bravehearts emphasize a distinctively masculine appearance, the concerns about sexual ambiguity are blunted. In addition, the Braveheart philosophy is supported by rational arguments and pragmatic justifications - as well as the emotional power of movies like Braveheart and examples of macho male celebrities proudly wearing kilts.
Using the Braveheart approach, we can stake out a defensible moral and rational position, be consistent, and hold our ground. While there is no guaranty that the Trouser Tyrants will be convinced, we will at least have a fighting chance!
Chipping Away at Prejudices
Overcoming prejudices may take a long time, especially when they have been institutionalized and internalized for many generations. The following are some of the prejudices that may be influencing the attitudes of Trouser Tyrants:
People who cling to such prejudices are generally impossible to reason with. Their preconceived notions have become woven into the fabric of their personalities and their overall view of themselves and the world. Therefore, we must be patient and non-threatening in our approach, giving them both time and incentives to reconsider their views gradually.
It would be extremely difficult, and probably impossible, to change all of a Trouser Tyrant's prejudicial beliefs at once. To be most effective, we must choose the one or two beliefs that are most susceptible to change and which are most necessary for achieving our goal. If we follow the Braveheart approach, our first targets would include the beliefs that skirts are exclusively female and that wearing skirts promotes effeminacy or homosexuality. (Combating homophobia is a separate issue, which need not be discussed at this point.) The Braveheart argument addresses these concerns by distinguishing kilts and MUGs from women's skirts, by emphasizing their masculinity, and by pointing out that very macho men have worn skirts throughout history and still do in many parts of the world. This approach would seem a lot easier than trying to uproot the Trouser Tyrants' deep-seated prejudice against cross-dressing.
The Freestylers object to such gender distinctions. They contend that skirts are skirts, and that it makes no difference whether the skirt a man wears was originally intended for men or women. However, when used against Trouser Tyrants, this argument could easily backfire. It might simply confirm their prejudicial belief that a man wearing any type of skirt is "cross-dressing."
This article will now suggest strategies to confront the objections of various Trouser Tyrants, based primarily on the Braveheart approach. Arguments relevant to the Ethnic and Freestyler approaches will also be included where appropriate. (These arguments will have little or no relevance to those following the Transgender approach, who might be more interested in our page on Non-Braveheart Alternatives.)
Photographs: Mel Gibson in Braveheart; Sean Connery; Greek fustanella; skirt fashion; Utilikilt; hosts wearing Utilikilts on "The Other Half".
Copyright © 2002 by WDP Bravehearts
This site has been visited times since August 14, 2002.
(This page was visited at its original site 1,012 times from April 2, 2002, to September 1, 2002.)
This page last modified on May 23, 2003.
KILTMEN.COM - HOME OF THE BRAVEHEARTS
Home | Advice & Support | Forums | Photos| Links | Movies | Opinion | Suppliers | World MUGs