Cross Gender Dressing

Topics: Gender, Transgender, Homosexuality Pages: 9 (2838 words) Published: June 12, 2011
Society plays a role in prescribing appropriate and inappropriate behavior. How a man and a woman are supposed to dress are unwritten codes of behavior that most people tend to follow. Cross-dressers represent a group that is defiant of established norms as they opt to dress in ways contrary to their gender assignment. Further controversy surrounds the issue of cross-dressing particularly because there is little consensus on its definition. There is also debate on the distinction, if any, that exists between transvestism and other similar behaviors performed by men. There are similarities in some of the behaviors performed by these separate groups. Research has yet to determine the causes of cross-dressing linking it to home, parental, behavioral and genetic factors, none of which has been established. Similarly the heterosexual non-cross-dressing male attitude, reflective of society's overall attitude, towards cross-dressers is not positive, but with the male fashion trend of skirt like kilts and high-heeled boots coming to trend one may find it more than just a fad to be clad in something similar to ones heterosexual partner. In this essay I would like to dive in to the less talked about world of cross-dressing and mixed sexual feelings and and how this once uncharted secret life is becoming more and more talked about and is an okay norm in our new modern decade.

In societies throughout the world there are certain unwritten codes of behavior that individuals within the society adhere to and often unconsciously follow. Ingrained in these behaviors are certain unquestioned principles that just seem to make sense. One of the most potently ingrained societal norms that pervades in almost all societies worldwide is the concept of dress and its intimate connection with sex, gender and sexual orientation. It is taken as a given in society that women, not men wear dresses. Dress comes to represent one's sex which in turn connotes ones gender and that in turn denotes one's sexual orientation. This automatic connection that is made between sex and dress does not develop as a result of investigative scholarship but rather it is a socially constructed, unwritten principle. From within the wombs this societal principle is already being transferred to the child. In preparation for the arrival of the baby specified colors of clothing and other baby related paraphernalia are purchased that have a distinct orientation towards a particular sex. The "pink for girls and blue for boys" phenomenon is familiar to most . As the child is birthed this societal principle is emphasized in the choice and style of clothing, frilly dresses for girls, sober designs for boys. It is therefore no wonder that as a child develops he unconsciously associates styles and types of dress with particular genders, maintaining these beliefs into adulthood. Cross-dressing has arisen as a phenomenon that is causing some people to question these principles. However the dress equals sex principle is a socially constructed phenomenon and therefore says very little about an individuals sexual orientation or gender association. Cross-dressing as a phenomenon, though it goes against prescribed societal norms, is simply a person's way of expressing individuality without all the schisms of gender and sexual orientation that are attached so intimately with what and how someone dresses. Like all people, gay men express themselves by how they dress, and those members of the gay community who 'cross-dress' or dress 'in drag' are no exception.

Transsexualism and transvestism are variations from society's views of "normal" sexual behavior. These variations of the norm are explained as being disorders and are almost exclusively found in men. Transvestism is the activity of cross-dressing for sexual arousal from that specific object, whether it be clothing, shoes, or what. This can simply be called a fetish. The reasoning behind the few cases reported of female transvestism is...
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