Decline of Dressing Well & Women's Lib?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Augusto86, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. celery

    celery Senior member

    Messages:
    2,246
    Likes Received:
    83
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    This thread reminds me of a paper I wrote in high school concerning Women's Lib and the feminization of men.

    One of the biggest evils that came from the women's movement was the gross sterotyping of men as part of their way to validate their own beliefs of mistreatment (don't worry, I'm gonna stick to the topic relating fashion). Of course, in order to portray themselves as victims of men, women had to define "the devil" so to speak.

    Slowly (or should I say, "quickly") they created the image of the lazy slob who sits with a beer in one hand and the other on his crotch while watching sports and yelling at his wife to get back in the kitchen.

    This concept, after being constantly pounded into the media eventually stuck with society in general. Men, who once cared about grooming and appearence somehow deceided that it was not "manly" due to this dumb male sterotype.

    And it has only been enforced by the entertainment industry since then. Just look at the sitcoms of today.
    Everybody Loves Raymond - Dumb husband who dresses like a schmoe and doesn't know how to cook, while being horrible at watching kids, but great at watching sports constantly makes dumb mistakes; and the smart and stylish wife has to show him the error of his ways.

    King of Queens - Fat beer drinking, sport watching husband (who isn't too bright) and has horrible style makes bumbling mistakes, and the smart(er) and stylish wife has to show the error of his ways.

    Two and a Half Men - Two brothers, one who wears shorts and a bowling shirt everyday, drinks a lot, watches TV, sleeps around with women, and generally shows his incompetence in life (but has money due to royalties), this one is shown as the hero of the show.
    Versus the other brother who has earned his college degree, wears "boring adult clothes", is divorced and isn't boorish like his brother is often referred to as "gay" and is constantly shown as a failure with women and is usually the butt of most jokes on the show.

    Frasier - Smart psychologist who has an affinity for the finer things in life and dresses quite well is constantly shown as slightly feminine while his own father is a dressed down guy who drinks crappy beer and watches sports all the time is seen as the "masculine" character.


    Of course, that's just a sample of the sterotyped male that has been created over time. This is only enhanced with shows like Queer Eye for the Straight guy, which quite obviously tells it's audience "Ha ha look at these straight guys, they totally don't know how to dress themselves or do anything that involves more than watching sports. So we have to make them partially gay!"

    How many beer commercials have you seen in which they claim that you shouldn't be ordering any of those "wussy, girly, chick, european beers" but instead you should be ordering this "ultra manly, piss water with barely any alcohol content" because you're supposed to be an American macho guy!


    Dressing down in the workplace is men's way of fitting that sterotype and saying, "Hey, I'm a real macho man, and therefore, I don't know how to dress. Wanna fight?" Men have basically been afraid that showing any care for their appearence will make them seem gay to other men.

    However, luckily (and sadly) we have celebrities, douchebags and amkjacks in general that are helping to change that. I know it's horrible to say, but because of the amjacks and such, men have started paying more attention to themselves . . . to get chicks in bars and clubs. Of course, we haven't really solved our problems with that, but the more men go shopping the closer we get to breaking the sterotype of "manly man hate clothes!" followed by pounding your fists on your chest.


    I am one of 3 males at my workplace. The others dress like pure crap and I usually wear a suit and tie, while the women wear damn near anything they want (as long as it's not jeans), even though we're supposed to be "business formal."
     


  2. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

    Messages:
    8,662
    Likes Received:
    412
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    I think the decline of dressing well has to do less with women and more with the mentality of a large number of Americans.

    Bill Maher said it best when he did a story on the popularity of Crocs "Americans won't be happy until we can go to the mall on the weekends in a diaper".

    It's the whole Mass produced Kmart mindset that is shoved down our throats and forced into our communites. Why buy a good quality $900 suit that will last you a good 6 years when I can just buy a new low quality $100 suit every year?


    Er, not to seem argumentative, but at the end of six years the fellow who buys a $100 dollar suit every year is going to be $300 ahead of his counterpart who buys a $900 suit that lasts six years. I think the real division is not between those who buy $900 suits and those who buy $100 suits but between those who care to turn themselves out well and those who don't.

    Certainly, the vanishing of small, indepedent men's stores is a sad phenomenon, but hasn't the demise of small, independent retailers in general been an ongoing process for many decades? People certainly aren't eating any less, but this didn't prevent most of the mom & pop groceries from being killed off by the supermarket chains, and these in turn are threatened by the big-box stores. As far as sartorial standards go, it probably doesn't make much difference whether men who once patronized small independent retailers are now buying from Brooks or Nordstrom. That they are not buying and wearing decent menswear at all is where the problem lies, I think.

    Do most Americans buying clothes have any allegiance to "major US brands"? How many of them are even cognizant of Hickey-Freeman, much less Oxxford, Allen-Edmonds or Alden? Or by "major US brands" do you mean The Gap, Old Navy and operations like that? In the latter case, you are probably right.

    Again, I am not sure what is meant here. Do you mean people trying to dress well who botch things up by buying cheap, ill-fitting suits, or do you mean people who shun any attempt at dressing decently by opting to wear slobwear? I have compassion for the first group, but nothing but contempt for the second.

    I don't know how quality-oriented women are. All too often they are willing to drop a couple of hundred dollars on a cotton blouse that probably cost only a few bucks, if that, to make in some distant land. I think traditionally women have always been more fashion and clothes-conscious than men, but the notion that caring about clothes and dressing well is somehow "unmanly" is of comparatively recent vintage. There may still be a "ton of women's boutiques around," but I think they may be comparatively fewer than when I was a young'un--just my subjective impression.

    Interesting that the height of masculine elegance coincided with the Great Depression. The slumping of sartorial standards has been proceeding relentlessly for years with little regard to the business cycle. I think it's mostly a matter of priorities. I know a number of comparatively affluent men who just hate to spend money on clothes.

    Well said!
     


  3. alliswell

    alliswell Senior member

    Messages:
    3,992
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    To the OP and everyone who wishes that they shared the oportunity to work in an all-female environment, I offer Schopenhauer's observation that:

    'Men are by nature merely indifferent to each other; but women are by nature enemies'.

    - Schopenhauer, On the Suffering of the World, On Women, 7.

    This will not be a fun place to work.
     


  4. Roger

    Roger Senior member

    Messages:
    1,936
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Location:
    Vancouver
    This thread reminds me of a paper I wrote in high school concerning Women's Lib and the feminization of men.

    One of the biggest evils that came from the women's movement was the gross sterotyping of men as part of their way to validate their own beliefs of mistreatment (don't worry, I'm gonna stick to the topic relating fashion). Of course, in order to portray themselves as victims of men, women had to define "the devil" so to speak.

    Slowly (or should I say, "quickly") they created the image of the lazy slob who sits with a beer in one hand and the other on his crotch while watching sports and yelling at his wife to get back in the kitchen.

    This concept, after being constantly pounded into the media eventually stuck with society in general. Men, who once cared about grooming and appearence somehow deceided that it was not "manly" due to this dumb male sterotype.

    And it has only been enforced by the entertainment industry since then. Just look at the sitcoms of today.
    Everybody Loves Raymond - Dumb husband who dresses like a schmoe and doesn't know how to cook, while being horrible at watching kids, but great at watching sports constantly makes dumb mistakes; and the smart and stylish wife has to show him the error of his ways.

    King of Queens - Fat beer drinking, sport watching husband (who isn't too bright) and has horrible style makes bumbling mistakes, and the smart(er) and stylish wife has to show the error of his ways.

    Two and a Half Men - Two brothers, one who wears shorts and a bowling shirt everyday, drinks a lot, watches TV, sleeps around with women, and generally shows his incompetence in life (but has money due to royalties), this one is shown as the hero of the show.
    Versus the other brother who has earned his college degree, wears "boring adult clothes", is divorced and isn't boorish like his brother is often referred to as "gay" and is constantly shown as a failure with women and is usually the butt of most jokes on the show.

    Frasier - Smart psychologist who has an affinity for the finer things in life and dresses quite well is constantly shown as slightly feminine while his own father is a dressed down guy who drinks crappy beer and watches sports all the time is seen as the "masculine" character.


    Of course, that's just a sample of the sterotyped male that has been created over time. This is only enhanced with shows like Queer Eye for the Straight guy, which quite obviously tells it's audience "Ha ha look at these straight guys, they totally don't know how to dress themselves or do anything that involves more than watching sports. So we have to make them partially gay!"

    How many beer commercials have you seen in which they claim that you shouldn't be ordering any of those "wussy, girly, chick, european beers" but instead you should be ordering this "ultra manly, piss water with barely any alcohol content" because you're supposed to be an American macho guy!


    Dressing down in the workplace is men's way of fitting that sterotype and saying, "Hey, I'm a real macho man, and therefore, I don't know how to dress. Wanna fight?" Men have basically been afraid that showing any care for their appearence will make them seem gay to other men.

    However, luckily (and sadly) we have celebrities, douchebags and amkjacks in general that are helping to change that. I know it's horrible to say, but because of the amjacks and such, men have started paying more attention to themselves . . . to get chicks in bars and clubs. Of course, we haven't really solved our problems with that, but the more men go shopping the closer we get to breaking the sterotype of "manly man hate clothes!" followed by pounding your fists on your chest.


    I am one of 3 males at my workplace. The others dress like pure crap and I usually wear a suit and tie, while the women wear damn near anything they want (as long as it's not jeans), even though we're supposed to be "business formal."

    I have to say that I've seldom read a supposedly intelligent hypothesis with I have disagreed more than the preceding. For every slob character on TV there are well-dressed ones (consider Law & Order and its spin-offs, and Without a Trace, etc., etc.). To attribute the decline of men's dress to some hypothesized female conspiracy to feminize men just doesn't jibe with any current social-psychological theories or the empirical evidence--if viewed objectively. The whole idea of such a conspiracy (let alone its supposed effect on male dress) strikes me as more like an urban legend than a serious hypothesis and, unfortunately, suggests a certain tinge of misogyny.
     


  5. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

    Messages:
    8,662
    Likes Received:
    412
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    I am strongly inclined to agree with Celery. Without citing examples and wishing to belabor the point at length, I think within my lifetime there has been an enormous trend in American culture certainly and probably Western culture generally to downgrade men, maleness and masculinity and exalt women at the expense of men. We're the apes, they're the angels. This has seemed very obvious to me for many years. And if the culture at large tells men they are apes, they will probably start dressing like apes, at least if apes could dress themselves.
     


  6. 76classic

    76classic Senior member

    Messages:
    590
    Likes Received:
    10
    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    An office full of women? I would be inclined to dress to impress. I wouldn't want to look like a bum around females. Especially since they would have an eye on my shoes [​IMG]
     


  7. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

    Messages:
    25,745
    Likes Received:
    238
    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Location:
    Constantinople
    Is the publisher's name Sappho? That would give an indication as to the inclinations of an office full of women.
     


  8. Augusto86

    Augusto86 Sean Penn's Mexican love child

    Messages:
    6,776
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    A Cave in Afghanistan
    Weird thing about the office is I know there must BE men - I spoke to two men on the phone when I was interviewing and emailed a third. But in the 1.5 hours I was there, I saw only women. Very peculiar....maybe it's just an HR thing.
     


  9. Roger

    Roger Senior member

    Messages:
    1,936
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Location:
    Vancouver
    JLibourel, I don't mean this personally (i.e., that it applies in your case), but it has been my observation that very often men who have this view have had a lack of success with women or have experienced rejection by them. I wouldn't elevate this to an hypothesis, but this has been my observation. One can choose to see the somewhat limited gains that women have made in the workplace, the academy, and the professions as evidence of what you believe ("we're the apes, they're the angels"), but even with these gains, women's opportunities are still far more limited than men's in most spheres--certain medical specialities, the academy, the upper echelons of business, to give just a few examples. Perhaps the fact that I have three daughters has made me more aware of this fact--or watching the trials and tribulations of my PhD-level wife in a university deanship being treated differently than the male administrators at her level--but this inequality is as obvious to me as the opposite is to you. From time to time, there have been, to be sure, some unfortunate inversions (like reverse discrimination) over the years in the course of past inequalities being--at least partially--remediated, but the truth is that women still lag behind men in most of the accepted indicators of opportunity, occupational equality, and personal safety.

    That said, the hypothesis that somehow the obtaining by women of some of the rights and opportunities long enjoyed by men is somehow to blame for the decline of men's dress in present-day society strikes me (as noted earlier) as largely urban myth--the kind of thing people who need a scapegoat latch onto. The decline of dress--as has been well-documented by many--began in the 1950s, was accelerated in the 1960s, picked up further steam with the advent of business casual, and has been further helped by certain societal trends of the 1990s and into the 21st century. The fact that women have, during some of that period (beginning in the early 1970s), gained some well-deserved opportunities and seen accepted some more enlightened reconceptualizations of their place in modern society has, in my opinion, had exactly zero to do with the unfortunate decline in dress.
     


  10. RatherAnOddball

    RatherAnOddball Senior member

    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Hear hear, Celery and JLibourel!

    I'm in general agreement with you, of course we both know that the matter goes far beyond the simple explanation and exemplification that you were forced to give due to the constraints of an internet forum post.
    Feminism isn't wholly responsible for the decline of masculine style and masculine culture, but the feminization of society due to the particular methods of the feminist movement as it has heretofore existed has accentuated the depressive effect that a number of socioeconomic factors have had upon masculinity in all its forms and variations.
    I'm curious whether gents from nations other than the US could tell us whether the same vibe - of masculinity waning along with male style - prevails in their homelands? I'm particularly curious about comparisons between England and the United States, since both have shared similar and significant economic trends over the past decades.
     


  11. mr.loverman

    mr.loverman Senior member

    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    the negative impacts of the feminist movement have been getting more awareness lately. my mother is in the psychology field and she even says that the feminist movement did a lot to damage males(think about all the feminist teachers you had as a child and how witchy they were, in general the animosity was taken out on defenseless males). there was a large branch of feminism that aimed to elevate the feminine through denigrating the male. males were stereotyped as misogynistic, abusive and exploitative and just as often as dumb, lazy, and incompetent. its not a myth or a "conspiracy theory". there were plenty of feminist groups that demonized men and give them a negative stererotype. it was actually pretty mainstream. a lot of feminists tried to make their male children play with dolls and discouraged or forbade male play(toy guns, trucks, rough housing, etc.) they basically tried to deny that gender existed(besides the obvious physiological differences) and claimed that modern gender concepts were simply cultural constructs. and they argued that these "cultural constructs" were created by men to be used as a tool of oppresion against women. that was first and second wave feminism. we now know that gender differences are not only anatomical but to a large extent are manifested in our psychology(as a result of hormonal influence on brain developement). of course men have known this all along. if im correct, 3rd wave feminism or "neofeminism" is beginning to embrace modern concepts of psychology and biology for a more evolved feminism. many women who went to college in the 70's, 80's and 90's and even more recently, were unfortunately exposed to the outdated lesbian manhating propaganda known as 1st and 2nd wave feminism. sadly young girls are continually exposed to this garbage and it can be blamed for turning countless young naive college women into lesbians every year[​IMG] . its rhetoric gives them the intellectual resolve to forego cultural standards of beauty(or as they see it, "male imposed standards of beauty") for the frumpy lumberjack look[​IMG] .
     


  12. celery

    celery Senior member

    Messages:
    2,246
    Likes Received:
    83
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    I have to say that I've seldom read a supposedly intelligent hypothesis with I have disagreed more than the preceding. For every slob character on TV there are well-dressed ones (consider Law & Order and its spin-offs, and Without a Trace, etc., etc.). To attribute the decline of men's dress to some hypothesized female conspiracy to feminize men just doesn't jibe with any current social-psychological theories or the empirical evidence--if viewed objectively. The whole idea of such a conspiracy (let alone its supposed effect on male dress) strikes me as more like an urban legend than a serious hypothesis and, unfortunately, suggests a certain tinge of misogyny.


    A few things:

    1. I'm not a mysogynist. But I certainely do hate feminists, but I happen to believe in women having equal rights and opportunities. And I am also understanding of the fact that a drastic movement was most likely needed for women to get at least where they are today.

    2. Law and Order and the other CSI type shows typically have little to do with male and female relationships (although they slip them in here and there), but the shows in general are about more dramatic content than your typical sitcom, which is meant to show "a real life realtionship with situations that you may have experienced."

    3. As for it being a hypothesis / conspiracy, unfortunately, it is and it isn't. Feminists, in a very real way, did their best to villify men. It may not have been their direct intention to influence the media, but the sterotypes snuck in (most likely because people like to laugh at sterotyped examples even of themselves (I happen to enjoy all the shows I listed).

    On top of all that, this is not just a one way street here. Women, just like men, have been sterotyped and been told what to want in life. Go see Sex in the City if you need proof. Millions of women nationwide went to see that movie because "it identifies who they are" and they feel that they should act and think the way the women in the movie do. I have heard women refer to it as their "religion."

    So, it's not just men who are sterotyped, so don't think I'm saying that. But in my opinion (which isn't worth much) the women's movement is the catalyst that changed the concept of acceptable gender behaviour. I honestly have a difficult time finding any other reason for men to cease caring about themselves so suddenly.

    Anyway, as for myself, I have a girlfriend of 5 years (our anniversary was just a last weekend), we both have college degrees and she makes a bit more than I do, which I have no problem with. She also hates feminists and happens to agree that feminism greatly contributed to the de-masculization of men (in America at least).

    It's not about women entering the workplace, it's about how men's perception of themselves changed.
     


  13. mr.loverman

    mr.loverman Senior member

    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2007
    also, feminists hold the belief that hunting, fishing and sports are silly, stupid wastes of time. they believe most men are slobs and the well-dressed, fit man is a narcissist or a fag. i love women but i HATE feminists. i've had countless encounters with them in the college classroom and they are overwhelmingly fat, frumpy ulgy or smelly. i did get the chance to meet and speak with a famous feminist once and she was quite attractive(almost strikingly so) but she was also a third wave feminist, so i'll take her hotness as an anomoly.
     


  14. Wrenkin

    Wrenkin Senior member

    Messages:
    571
    Likes Received:
    37
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto
    also, feminists hold the belief that hunting, fishing and sports are silly, stupid wastes of time. they believe most men are slobs and the well-dressed, fit man is a narcissist or a fag. i love women but i HATE feminists. i've had countless encounters with them in the college classroom and they are overwhelmingly fat, frumpy ulgy or smelly. i did get the chance to meet and speak with a famous feminist once and she was quite attractive(almost strikingly so) but she was also a third wave feminist, so i'll take her hotness as an anomoly.

    I see, so you lump all these "feminists" together when it suits your purpose (they don't like sports, and they question your (because you dress well) masculinity), but you're more than happy to differentiate when it suits your purpose (you find some of them attractive, specifically those that agree with you).

    Seriously, this is so good you have to be making this up.

    Anyway, I think it's best when clothes forums stick to clothes. It's like whenever the Republican party comes up in the Trad forum at AA. I would have really liked to believe that their clothing choices were by and large not motivated by their hatred of "hippies". [​IMG]
     


  15. Piobaire

    Piobaire Not left of center?

    Messages:
    50,404
    Likes Received:
    13,625
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Location:
    In My Douchemobile
    From time to time, there have been, to be sure, some unfortunate inversions (like reverse discrimination) over the years in the course of past inequalities being--at least partially--remediated, but the truth is that women still lag behind men in most of the accepted indicators of opportunity, occupational equality, and personal safety.

    First, discrimination is discrimination. No "reverse" about it. Second, you are quite incorrect in just about everything else I have quoted. Men are more often assaulted, murdered, and raped (yes raped) than women in the United States. Women now make up a majority of not only undergrads, but also law and medicine. I have not seen stats on b-school, but suspect men still dominate MBAs.
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by