Chills, Chafing and Cross-dressing
In our era of “love and acceptance”, even for all manner of weirdness, I hypothesize that while intolerance for alternative lifestyles is deemed hate-speech, some alternative lifestyles are not as widely accepted by the general public as studies, polls or media would lead us to believe. I doubt that transvestitism is nowhere near as acceptable to society as a whole as say for instance, homosexuality. I intend to prove this point in a somewhat subjective manner; by documenting the reactions of people in public to an “everyday” sort of experience involving what would be viewed as an otherwise normal activity had it been performed by a woman... Shopping for clothes.
I began to prepare for this adventure by acquiring an outfit of the appropriate size. It was necessary for this experiment that the outfit be something that would be easy identifiable as female clothing, but would not be so absurd as to seem comical on it's own merit. My first thought was a dress, but then I immediately realized that most people would not instantly identify me as a man wearing woman's clothing. It would take too much observation for them to realize I was not just the world's ugliest woman, but a man in woman's clothing. So I opted for a very short pair of women's shorts, a g-string, and a sports bra.
The obvious norm being violated (in so many ways) by wearing this outfit is society's view of gender specific clothing. Men are typically clothed in items that are rugged when compared to those of the fairer sex. The usual attire is pants or shorts (of sufficient length), in colors considered masculine; i.e. blue, black, brown. The coverings for the top half are always shirts of some variety, generally avoiding colors considered feminine; pink, purple, pastel shades of any color, etc. Undergarments for men are almost universally one of two types, boxers or briefs, or a hybrid of the two. Bikini, thong and even g-string underwear for men exist, but are extremely rare and are never covered in pink stars such as those that were wedged into an unmentionable area of my anatomy.
I wore this outfit to Wal-mart, and pretended to be shopping for clothes in the women's apparel. I spent approximately 45 minutes inside the store. The last fifteen of which were spent walking around the rest of the store, just to ensure the most diverse audience possible for this exercise.
I knew that the women's clothing section bordered both the men's section, as well as the “action alley” that customers were forced to enter if they wanted to get from one area of the store to the next. This I knew would lead to a great deal of exposure to people, but I was unsure what percentage of said people would be paying close enough attention to one random shopper whose body would be partially obscured by a veritable sea of clothing racks.
I began my endeavor by getting dropped off at the front of the store by a friend who did not stop laughing the whole way to the “test facility”. I the vehicle and began my short walk to the front door. Even though the weather forecast was sunny, it was still unbelievably cold at 10:30am. I quickly walked to the entrance, and made my way inside. I had reservations about this experiment from the start, but when I walked into the store, I began to feel really good about the premise, and all reservations immediately went out the window.
I walked directly to the womens clothing section and proceeded to act as if shopping for underwear and intimate apparel. I picked about 5 items I thought looked like they might fit, and also a short dress on the way to “try them on”. I then exited the fitting room wearing the only item I actually tried on, the short dress, and asked the opinion of two women passing by. I then returned to the dressing room and put my own clothes back on, exited the fitting room, hanging the items from the handle of a purloined shopping cart, and made my way around the store with the items...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document