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Gender Critical Redditor: The coronavirus could destroy fashion … and also “the whole stupid concept of transgenderism”

Working from home, not wearing pants

By David Futrelle

So-called “gender critical feminists” can become quite ingenious when it comes to working their transphobic obsessions into conversaations that have nothing whatsoever to do with trans people or trans issues.

Consider a recent post in the GenderCritical subreddit that’s ostensibly about “fashion in the time of coronavirus self-isolation.” The author, calling herself itsnotaboutewe, sets forth a relatively straightforward argument: since people are dressing like slobs while working from home, maybe they’ll get used to this new sartorial freedom and won’t bother to dress up after the lockdowns come to an end, this bringing about the end of fashion.

“With so many people now working from home,” she writes,

it doesn’t take too long to figure out what to wear to work anymore. Some people wear sweatpants to sit in front of the computer while others don’t even bother to change out of their pyjamas. …

The clothes that our culture dictates we wear to look the part for our jobs are no longer needed. It doesn’t matter if we don’t dye our hair or shave our legs in order to look professional for clients if they can’t see us. There is no boss enforcing an uncomfortable dress code on women of high heels, tight pencil-skirts, stockings, makeup, and push-up bras.

No, but some people are continuing to dress up, even if they know no one will be seeing them, because it makes them feel more normal, more connected to the world before (and presumably after) the lockdowns.

I mean, I personally am dressing like a slob while I work at home during lockdown, but I was doing that already.

Even doing the weekly trip to buy essential groceries doesn’t require us to dress to a certain standard anymore.

No, but again I know that some people who are now making a point of dressing up when they go out, even if it’s just to the grocery store People seem to be divided down the middle on the whole dressing-like-a-slob-because-you-can question.

It’s like we are in survival mode but instead of wearing cammo we are in knitted jersey and crocs with socks. I haven’t worn a bra since February and quite frankly I can’t think of any person or situation I consider to be bra-worthy anymore.

itsnotaboutewe wonders if these habits will stick after the lockdowns come to an end, and concludes that they probably will.

Is this the end of fashion as we know it? By the time we are allowed back in public together again we will have missed at least three fashion cycles. We will all be wearing last years styles but I don’t think anyone will be able to make us care about it anymore. Who will honestly give a rat’s arse if they are wearing last seasons colours?

Either that or they may jump back into fashion even more enthusiastically than before because they’ve been deprived of it for so long.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with itsnotaboutewe’s argument — I obviously have some issues with it — it is at least a real argument. The premises may be a little off, I would argue, but it makes a certain logical sense.

That can’t really be said about where her argument goes next.

“I hope this massive societal upheaval goes some way to destroying fashion as a way of forcing women to conform to stereotypes,” she writes.

Perhaps cross-dressing men will at last realise they can wear whatever they want without having to pretend to be women, and we can leave the whole stupid concept of transgenderism behind us.

What the hell? This is what you might call a stretch, and then some. Trans women don’t dress the ways they do — in clothes ranging from traditionally feminine to androgynous — in order to “pretend to be women” like the stereotypical drag queens that itsnotaboutewe clearly pictures when she thinks about trans women. Trans women dress in these varied ways because they are women. Maybe some trans women dress in more conventionally feminine ways than this particular “gender critical feminist” would like, but so do some cis women.

Indeed, so do some cis women who consider themselves “gender critical feminists.” Though itsnotaboutewe’s post got nearly 80 upvotes from her colleagues in the GenderCritical subreddit, quite a few of those commenting on it disagree mightily with her argument.

“I work from home in general, as well as during the pandemic and I still get up every day, put on makeup, shower, shave and put on leggings and a t-shirt,” notes one commenter.

I find I’m more productive when I like the way I look and feel more “ready to go”. I just feel so BLAH when I pass the mirror and see under eye bags.

No need for pencil skirts and heels (although I live in a city where no one really wears that anyway to work but lawyers because it’s too cold and everything is casual) but spending some effort (to whatever you standard is) I think it still really important because WE see us.

“Getting dressed helps me keep from getting too depressed,” writes another.

Today I wore a dress with happy tropical fruit on it. It keeps the feeling of the world being totally out of control at bay.

Huh. I wonder if it has ever occurred to any GenderCrits that maybe some trans women dress the ways they do for the very same reason: it makes them feel like themselves?

Just a thought, GenderCrits.

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Alan Robertshaw
2 years ago

Well as they hate everything, even themselves, and love nothing they’re arguably correct.

Viscaria
Viscaria
2 years ago

I’m pretty sure our culture (and practicality, to varying extents) still dictates what essential workers have to wear to “look the part.” The many people who cannot work remotely and are now out of work have not formed a new association between working attire and sweatpants. I myself can work remotely, but on the two occasions I have done so in the last month* I have had to get just as fancied up as usual, minus the shoes.

There are a whole lot of people in the world who are not white-collar office workers. I guess itsnotaboutewe hasn’t ever met any of them.

*This is such a yikes number. So many yikes.

Talonknife
Talonknife
2 years ago

I used to like fashion until I grew out of my preferred style. Now I just wear whatever’s on top of the clean laundry pile.

Allandrel
Allandrel
2 years ago

There’s a line in that MLP episode that perfectly describes what dealing with client feedback feels like. Rainbow Dash sees the first version of her dress and says:

“Just make the whole thing, you know, cooler. It needs to be about 20% cooler.”

Naglfar
Naglfar
2 years ago

@‘mantha

I like nice clothes (usually from charity shops) but have never had a clue about what’s supposed to be ‘in fashion’ at any given moment. This can’t be uncommon, surely.

Fellow trans* woman here. Didn’t see your comment until now, but I feel the exact same way. I like clothes that I deem to look good (which varies based on the situation), but I don’t really follow fashion shows and the like (plus I can’t afford the super expensive fashion stuff they show).

Nentuaby
Nentuaby
2 years ago

Aside from the transphobia, the premise is fundamentally extremely silly. In WWII, most of the population wore military, auxiliary, and factory uniforms for quite a bit longer than we’re going to be sheltered in place, and somehow that didn’t leave us all wearing nothing but jumpsuits from thenceforth.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
2 years ago

@Allandrel:
Which falls into the ‘under-specific but expect you to be a mind reader’ category I noted above. As well as generating a meme that lasted for a while after that episode.

As for ‘over-detailed’… I’m not an artist, but I know several who could tell stories of what, in the furry fandom, is often known as the ‘sparkledog’, otherwise known as the person who will come up with a multi-page and exceedingly detailed and ‘unique’ character description that becomes an absolute horror to any artist that gets asked to draw it.

Naglfar
Naglfar
2 years ago

I’m not very familiar with MLP, but from what I know of the show, the pony I relate most to is Twilight Sparkle. The one I relate least to is Pinkie Pie.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
2 years ago

I’m also a Twilight Sparkle from the episodes I’ve seen. There’s a piece of Rarity and Fluttershy in me too.

Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
2 years ago

Fashion is quite the multi-billion dollar industry….

I doubt that it’s going to disappear because we discovered we could work in our PJs

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
2 years ago

Cautiously optimistic again: only a 9% increase in Ontario today, and the hospitalized count (which may be more reliable as a gauge) has been level-ish in the low 600s for four days now.

On the other hand, I’m a bit worried that nicer weather will cause more people to go outside and weaken the social distancing. My last two supply runs I saw a lot more pedestrians and even cars moving about than the previous two.

The less-densely-populated little chunk of Ontario where I am has had 12 confirmed cases thus far and one death.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
2 years ago

@Surplus:
Well, in many ways, the hospitalized count is one of the most critical measurements. The entire point of ‘flatten the curve’ and the lockdowns is preventing that number from getting high enough to overwhelm the system.

@Naglfar, weirwoodtreehugger:
Well, as a friend of mine noted, fundamentally the arc of the first season at least was ‘sheltered bookworm/geek is forced to move to new town but makes some great new friends once there’, and when framed that way it’s no wonder that it hit a lot more than the originally intended market.

epitome of incomprehensibility

Also, I like nice clothes (usually from charity shops) but have never had a clue about what’s supposed to be ‘in fashion’ at any given moment. This can’t be uncommon, surely.

@’mantha – Same.

A bit OT, but I like Karolina Żebrowska’s YouTube channel. She studies fashion history and does vintage-related fashion stuff as well as funny sketches.

Masse_Mysteria
Masse_Mysteria
2 years ago

@Nentuaby

and somehow that didn’t leave us all wearing nothing but jumpsuits from thenceforth.

This honestly seems like a missed opportunity. Think of all the advances the field of jumpsuits could have made. Jumpsuits for all dresscodes and occasions!

Because surely people will try to fancy themselves up with anything they happen to have, if they just have the time and the energy to do so.

impudentinfidel
impudentinfidel
2 years ago

Personally “dressing to feel more like yourself” and “dressing down in self-isolation” both mean “walk around naked”, but you do you.

Nicholas Kiddle
Nicholas Kiddle
2 years ago

I’m trans masc, which as usual the terf has forgotten all about. I’m also depressed, which means I dressed like a huge slob even before this. Somehow doesn’t stop me feeling dysphoric when I catch sight of the mirror and see how feminising my new absence-of-haircut is, or panicking that I’ll die without ever having the chance to grow bum fluff. Because oddly enough I’m still trans when I’m staying at home.

Also I masked up with a scarf to go to the supermarket the other day and the employee in charge of the queue called me sir. Which a) made my day and b) suggests it’s my hairless chin that gets me read as female more than my chest.

Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
2 years ago

I still have to leave the house to work. Even though it’s scary, I prefer it because staying at home by myself all the time after what happened with my cousin feels very dangerous right now.

I only have to wear workout clothes because I’m working with dogs but it’s still a big deal to me to look presentable at least, even if no one else sees me. The depression, anxiety and PTSD get far worse if I don’t, and right now they’re really bad anyway so getting dressed is a must.

Lainy
Lainy
2 years ago

Everything is blooming here on my parents farm and my body thinks pollen is a personal attack. I haven’t gotten out of my sweat pants and tank top yet. No bra. No make up. I feel like trash and look like trash. So I just wanted to take this moment and say no terfs this isn’t desirable at all. I miss my dresses, miss my lipstick and miss being able to breath out of my face.

Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
2 years ago

@Lainy: I’ll be feeling the same about a month from now.

Lainy
Lainy
2 years ago

@Yutolia

my body : oh it’s nice and warm, we don’t have to be burred in clothes anymore. oh this is nice
Also my body: what’s this pollen! intruder, this is the plague. Rally the troops we attack at dawn and die like men!

Moogue
Moogue
2 years ago

Is no-one here going to obsessively quote Miranda Priestly? No-one? Really? Fine I’ll start doing it, consider it my sacrifice.

” ‘This stuff’ [fashion]? Oh, ok. I see, you think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. You’re also blindly unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves St Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. Then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic “casual corner” where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and so it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room. From a pile of ‘stuff.'”

Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
Rhuu - apparently an illiterati
2 years ago

OP’s opinion is so uninformed, because while people sometimes have to wear the most stereotypical outfits to be percieved as the gender they are for gatekeeping reasons, they also wear them because they *personally* are most comfortable wearing what they like.

For instance, i don’t have to wear a binder, i’m not ‘fooling’ any random person i could possibly interact with. I only really interact with my room mate, and occasional video calls. But i’m not going to go either binderless or braless, because the thought of not binding is personally really upsetting.

I also get dressed, just as if i was going out to work, because i feel less sad when i have ‘pyjamas’ and ‘daytime clothes’.

One thing i did recently was to order an aligator clip. It’s to hold the long hair on the top of my head i want to keep, while i hopefully get up the courage to use my trimmer and shave down the sides. Nothing fancy, just an undercut. I would feel happier with that! And if i mess it up, there’s time for it to grow out and get trimmed by a barber. No better time to try, right?

I do it for me, is what i’m saying, so i feel better about my body + appearance.

@Nicholas Kiddle – HMMM! I wonder if wearing a mask would get me the same result, assuming i don’t speak first?? Now i want to try! Another thing to sew, lololllll.

Bakunin
Bakunin
2 years ago

@Rhuu
I wish dysphoria transplants were a thing. Give a cis person a bare idea of what it’s like to never recognise your own body as yours, even if just for a bit. Hopefully they’d realise why it isn’t “mimicking gender roles” or whatever

Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
Yutolia the Laissez-Fairy Pronoun Boner
2 years ago

@Bakunin: I wish that existed too.

There’s a scene in a movie called Powder where the main character, who has special powers, puts the pain of a dying deer into the hunter that shot her. It was to prove that the hunter’s assertion that the deer wasn’t feeling pain was wrong.

I’ve always wished I could do that with all sorts of things. Not to harm, but to show someone how it feels to be treated the ways we treat all marginalized people in this society. Maybe make people think twice about their actions toward others.

Frederic Christie
2 years ago

There is no need to say the argument is self-refuting. The only way gender “ends” is if we stop policing it. That means everyone not caring what someone else does. Wear a skirt, a kilt, heels, flip-flops, sweats, whatever. They want to enforce gender in the way that appeals to their biases.

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