25. There are value-neutral clothing choices available to me; it is possible for me to choose clothing that doesn’t send any particular message to the world.
Really? All clothing denotes class, IMO. I don’t own a single item of designer clothing. What does that say about me as a man?
Chuck’s point about class is well taken.
I would argue, however, that there are more “does this send the wrong message?” wardrobe concerns for women than men. “Will this look too sexy?,” “will this make me look unfeminine,” etc.. As Rougewench wrote in Chuck’s comments, “the vast majority of clothing choices for men, with the exception of what you might find in a clubwear catalog (read as International Male) do not denote messages as to the morality of the wearer.”
In light of all this, I feel I should rewrite item 25, but I’m not certain what the new wording should say. If anyone has any suggestions, please post them in comments.
Of course, there is a male disadvantage that’s a counterpart to the female disadvantage – women are far freer to wear so-called “male” clothing styles without harassment than men are to wear women’s (i.e., a woman in slacks is nothing unusual in the US, a man in a dress is often harassed and sometimes worse). I think sexism harms women more than men, on the whole, but it’s clear to me that men are hurt by this system, too.
26. My wardrobe and grooming are relatively cheap and consume little time.
Metrosexuals, even? I know men who spend an hour every day getting ready.
Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. Exceptions do not represent the whole, however, and do not invalidate the general point.
Besides, being a metrosexual (that is, a man who likes very fashionable clothing and grooms himself with great care) is a choice. But for many women, not only social pressure (which is bad enough) but their jobs require them to spend more on clothing than their male counterparts, regardless of what they’d prefer. The ordinary work wardrobe of an office or retail worker, most of whom don’t have the option of quitting their jobs, is cheaper for men than women – and the disparity is larger still when the costs of hair and makeup are included.
(This is one of a number of posts responding to Chuck’s critique. You can use the category archive to see all posts related to the Male Privilege Checklist.)