The Golden Boy…or Girl
I’m Deadly. What would come to mind if I decided to introduce myself in such way? Well, most of us don’t think of one another as deadly, however, gender seems to place us into two categories that determine what type of tactic we’ll be using as a form of defensive mechanism or simply out of cruelty. Our society has fallen in love with labels, they’re they “it” thing whether you’re single, taken, divorced, hetero, pan, or Trans sexual; people crave to know where you fit in. The notion of being neutral, even in arguments, is no longer an option. You’re either hot or cold, right?
“Foucault’s apparent gender neutrality is problematic precisely because we live in a society that is far from gender neutral and in fact constantly seeks to reiterate the polarization of the sexes through these ‘techniques of gender’.” — Angela King
Most of us want to be able to point at something and say, “That’s exactly what I want”! But not everything is as clear as water. And our society has developed a fascination with one’s personal life. You might be asking, “Why our personal life”? One can think of certain people as vultures, scoping out what we’re eating, who we’re dating, and who we follow, but in particular people are fascinated with clothes. Some argue that you can tell a lot about a person just by the way they dress, well I’d argue otherwise. You could catch me in a sweater and baggy pants one day, followed by a form fitting dress the next day simply because I felt like it, not necessarily because I felt “Off” or “Tired” in one outfit rather than the other. For all you know, I could have been having my “Off” day when I “Looked” my best.
According to Elizabeth Wilson fashion is ‘obsessed’ with gender, and serves to define and redefine the gender boundary (Wilson 1985 p.117)
The quote above serves as a platform for many of the ideals we still hold onto. It wasn’t until a couple years ago, with the exception of Diane Keaton and Barbara Streisand that pantsuits started making a staple on the red carpet. Most candidates and presenters (if female) wore/wear dresses, while the males stick to the suit. I mean have you ever seen Harrison Ford or Stanley Tucci in a dress? I didn’t think so, I mean maybe a kilt, but that’s as close as we’ve gotten.
“Anxiety aroused by ‘cross dressing’ the very idea of which could not be possible if it were not for such rigid gender demarcations.” –Angela King
A couple years ago, Cross dressing was very much looked down upon; it still is for the most part. Many view it as a deviation of who you are. On average men are mostly known for participating in this. A couple years ago, Oscar De La Hoya, “The Golden Boy” of boxing was caught cross-dressing; many began to chime in on his personal life and questioning his sexuality. After all, why would “The Golden boy” want to dress as a woman, doesn’t he have boxing gloves? Oscar came out apologizing for his behavior (what he chose to wear), which led to many in the cross-dressing community to be upset for apologizing for something they feel is not a crime nor says anything about their sexuality.
I find the above quote by King to be formfitting because, many times we fear the unknown. Whatever we don’t understand makes us panic. As humans we have evolved to like structure and we crave familiarity. Anything out of the “NORM” can be considered threatening. While many consider it a shame to have seen the Golden Boy wearing women’s clothing because he had something far “better” to wear, others saw it as a step forward to break the tradition of the notion that what you wear describes who you are. I mean, why the paranoia? Could it be because of the hype of over masculinity and the double standard that would pose? After all, he still does reign as a light welter weight champion of the world, regardless of his fashion choice. Wearing heels didn’t affect him.
A man is defined by his physique and strength, a woman is defined by what she wears and how she portrays herself. In our society there’s a certain stigma in which a woman can “get whatever she wants by how she looks”. So could it be that a man who is male, by birth, and at the top of the hierarchy caught in a woman’s clothes come off as homo eroticism to those so perplexed by this situation? That is what many were weighing in on when it came to cross dressing. You have a person who is either male or female (body) and then find them adorned with something that makes the opposite sex seem appealing (clothes). There’s no restrictions, thus this doesn’t seem viable in terms of our society because it’s unknown and quite taboo even today. However, it’s important to note that not everything will always be able to fit inside a box as neat as we may want it to.