Once in a while, you just run across these things, fashion trends that don’t make sense. In fact, it’s best not to think too hard about them at all. I understand that there are a lot of different styles, some of which are out on the edge. Some of them rightly wither and die, like an exotic flower in the desert, and some of them stick around as a testament to the chaos that rules our universe. I’m not sure which category mantyhose, tights or pantyhose intended for men, fits into yet.
Some gender-bending men’s fashions are less creepy, but I see very few of them that actually work. It always seems like these fads rarely stick, or they are confined to a niche market. Maybe 200 years ago, mantyhose were all the rage, but today it’s definitely a niche market. To each his own, I guess.
Hey, I’m conscious of gender issues! I took a class! Really, I do understand that fashion is a way to project signals, both about status and gender. Keep in mind that the people who are advocating for mantyhose aren’t fetishist or cross-dressers. They actually think they look good as a fashion item. I’m sure the guys wearing skinny jeans thought they looked awesome, too. Still, they have some cogent points about why mantyhose should be considered unisex:
“We want to promote/achieve gender equality for men, to eradicate sexism that is attached to us by forcing men to the classical macho roles and to a limited number of acceptable clothes/outfits. (And by the way, are all the women who wear trousers cross dressers?)” – E-Mancipate.net
I definitely recognize clothing as a source of conformity, and macho fashion trends are definitely about projecting a certain persona. I guess tights serve a similar function, and there’s no real reason to say that men can’t wear them. But the comparison to women wearing pants doesn’t seem like an apples-to-apples one. But who knows, maybe in 30 years, guys will be wearing tights all the time and nobody will care.
Comfort Counts for Something
But fashion is also about functionality and comfort, and that’s why some of these trends just don’t make sense to me. Don’t they just look uncomfortable? I mean, there’s a reason I wear boxer shorts and baggy pants; I don’t like body-hugging clothes. Then again, girls are willing to put up with uncomfortable clothes to create a look, almost to the point of it being a costume, and I can think of several examples of men’s fashions that do the same thing (skinny jeans anyone?).
Can I also say that I usually don’t like stockings or pantyhose on women either? It seems like a very ‘80s fashion, and I’m glad that most of those trends are gone. But even ‘80s fashion has come back in niche markets, though thankfully big hair stayed away. I’m sure there are looks with girls in stockings that I would like, but are they really necessary? I always hear girls complaining about what a pain they are.
In the end, I guess it only matters what the ladies (or gentlemen) think. Is it sexy — in a Paul Revere kind of way — when a guy is sporting tights? Is the Peter Pan look hot?