Since When?

Sexy D was telling me the other day that at the place of his employment, he is not allowed to wear sandals. He must wear dress shoes at work. But it’s okay for women to wear open-toe shoes, ballet shoes, or pumps.

He’s not allowed to wear shorts, not even when the temperature in his office approaches that of the surface of the sun (actually, I think he said they have air conditioning, but still). Women are allowed to wear short skirts and capri pants, but men must wear full-length dress pants.

He is expected to dress in business attire, which probably means he has to wear a collared shirt, possibly even a tie, but are women permitted to wear sleeveless shirts and camisoles?

This burns me up.

In junior high school, there was a rule that you could not wear shorts to school. At all. For any reason. Girls were permitted to wear skirts with hemlines not more than 2″ above the knee, but boys were not permitted to wear cargo shorts or, as was the style of the time, flour bag pants. Plus, that school had no air conditioning, and many of the windows were nailed shut and had bars over them. So a bunch of the more athletic and popular boys in the school borrowed skirts from their girlfriends and wore skirts to school.

The school administration was *so horrified*, they sent the boys home to change. I thought the boys looked lovely. The school conceded to allow us to wear capri pants, flour bag pants, and shorts that came to the knee.

In high school, where the school was designed like a prison and the only windows in the entire building were in the old part of the place, and did not open *at all*, we had the same rule (I suspect it was because this was in the late 80s, not long after those horrible terrycloth Adidas hotpants were all the rage), and again, the boys borrowed skirts from their girlfriends….I am, of course, assuming they borrowed their girlfriends’ skirts. I am overlooking the possibility that some of the boys I went to school with had better taste in skirts than I did. (I hated skirts, btw.)

The administration of my high school were summarily horrified. They attempted to send the boys home. But this time, the boys just said “no, thanks. I’m more comfortable like this.” That school *did* have air conditioning, and a number of boys wore skirts for a week or two. In fact, a couple of my friends wore the kilts they used in their pipe & drum band…and of course, they were also asked to go home and change…

I remember one kid giving the principal, who was of Scottish heritage, a lecture on kilts.

Anyhow, we got that rule changed, too. After the boys’ protest, the school changed the rule and allowed boys and girls to wear shorts with hemlines no more than 2″ above the knee, and girls only could wear skirts with a similar hemline. Boys were *not permitted* to wear skirts, which I found somewhat disappointing.

As the mother of two wonderful male children, I am disgusted at the clothes available for kids; girls’ clothes are often designed to make five year olds look like hoochie mama whores, but the ones that aren’t at least offer many style choices to choose from. If you have boy children, you have three options: camouflage, denim, or brown.

To compete with the hoochie mama whore clothes for five year old girls, the boys have gangsta chic, with droopy drawers and quilted vests. Nice. Probably no worse than what they did to children in the Renaissance, but still.

ANYWAY, the point I am haphazardly trying to make here is that when I go on about equality, I’m not doing so to the detriment of men. If women are permitted to wear open-toe shoes to work, then men ought to have the option as well. There are dressy sandals available that would be appropriate for a work environment. If women are permitted to wear sleeveless shirts and camisoles, then men should be permitted to wear short-sleeved shirts. If women are permitted to wear capri pants or skirts, men ought to be permitted to wear appropriate shorts (or skirts, if they want to).

Double standards kind of get under my skin.





9 responses to “Since When?”

  1. melistress Avatar

    When my coworker began work here a couple of years before me, he was given a list of rules and a dress code to abide by. Dress shirt, tie, etc. Probably not unlike Sexy D’s workplace. Since then things have relaxed a lot around here. He started showing up on Fridays in casual wear because he had to coach volleyball. I started showing up in casual wear because he was showing up in casual wear. Pretty soon the boss was wearing a hawaiian shirt, sandals and casual pants to work. Now I can’t get the receptionist to dress in anything other than hoodies. It is nice that we have relaxed but we have slipped a little too far and lost some of our professional appearance. That being said, we work with a lot of small business owners and farmers and I am sure that they feel less distanced from us now that they aren’t looking a monogramed silk dress shirts and gold cuff links.

  2. Viper Pilot Avatar

    Quilted vests are gangsta chic? Or am I thinking the wrong kind of quilted…

  3. Smarty Pants Avatar
    Smarty Pants

    It seems to me the 3 choices boys have vs the 100 choices girls have is the industry simply following what it is for adults.
    Men’s fashion, while more varied in colour and stuff, has roughly 5 styles per year. Women? Well, you know – it’s in the hundreds. Plus accessories.
    personally, I *like* having limited choice in clothing. Makes my “dash in and buy it” fashion shopping experience faster and easier. :-)

  4. Stephen Avatar

    Two words: Dress Utilikilt.

    They have a kilt that looks like Dockers. Not my first choice (I dig carharts, but usually on other men) but surely compatible with the dress code.

  5. cenobyte Avatar

    I *almost* bought a Utilikilt when I was at GenCon one year. But, as TUO demonstrated, it ‘hung funny’ on chicks with hips.

    @Melistress – I’m not advocating everyone slummy-Sunday their way to work. I’m suggesting that having a different set of rules for women is shite.

    @Viper Pilot – I’m thinking of the padded vests that look like bubble wrap on anabolic steroids.

    @Smarty Pants – I KNOW. This year, the options are: Charlie Sheen from “Two and a Half Men”; Orlando Bloom; Jeff Foxworthy; Brent Butt; and Rick Mercer. Oh, and for Hallowe’en, gents have the option of either Captain Jack Sparrow or Creepy Iron Worker. I don’t disagree with you about the *cause* for boys’ three options in fashion. I’m saying it’s ridiculous.

  6. Stark Raving Dad Avatar
    Stark Raving Dad

    Believe me, that double standard is alive and well… unfortunately when it does get challenged (legally speaking that is) its frequently the women who suffer, when the administration says “Fine! Everyone must wear long slacks and long sleeved dress shirts with a collar. No exceptions.”

    Seen it happen so many times its a cliche.

    Personally – drives me crazy… but we keep on trying.

  7. cenobyte Avatar

    No, but that’s the point! It’s not the women who suffer! It would be *everyone* suffering in that example!

    NOBODY should have to wear something called “slacks”.

  8. melistress Avatar

    I actually agree with you. I don’t know what was going on there other than a random ramble that got interrupted by something shiney and I never actually got around to any point at all. I hate those days. In fact, it’s happening right now. Probably due to the huge amount of unbelievably loud construction going on outside my window.

  9. Thunderhowl Avatar

    I DID but a Utilikilt at Gencon last year, and they make kilts cut specifically for ladies, should you wish to revisit your kilt-buying urge. Also, my kilt looks awesome on me. I shall demonstrate at SLARPCon this year. On a sad note, Utilikilts (unless I read their last newletter wrong) isn’t making kilts for large men anymore, so I may not get the option to give them more of my money. *sadness*

    I suffer from the same dress code woes as Sexy D, so I die from heatstroke a little every day, while the women in the office dress for summer weather and then whine that they are “freezing to death” in an office that’s 5 degrees ABOVE room temperature. I’m bitter from the unfairness.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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