OK, so despite what I had promised to a certain somebody, this post won’t be about the patriarchal architecture that surrounds us in Western society. That one is in the works. This post, rather, is going to be about hosiery. True. Hear me out here people.
The post was born of a facebook wall-to-wall war I had with an old friend of mine regarding a facebook group he’d just set up, declaring “tights are not pants”.
Having been invited to the group, I declined and posted this on his wall:
The image of your group depicts not tights, but stockings [the original picture was of a fat woman wearing stockings and a singlet top] — an entirely different piece of hosiery. Further, I take issue with the SUBSTANCE of your group. Of course tights are not pants. Neither are skirts, or shorts. Only pants are pants.
Also, I might point out that sentiments like yours are essentially anti-woman. Let people be! Sheesh.
I later went to to elaborate on the way groups like this, and indeed sentiments like these affect women.
Don’t you think there is enough pressure on women’s images already? Be skinny, but not too skinny, eat well, go to the gym, have tanned skin, don’t go to the solarium though, that’s for idiots who want to die, wear skirts, act like a lady, but not too short, you’ll look like a skank.
Founder of the group and said friend, Crook, hit back arguing roughly two things:
1) Calling it ‘anti-woman’ was an exxageration as the group was merely concerned with the classification of tights in a “functional sense”, and was also willing to look at inappropriate tights on men.
2) Placing this conversation in a gendered context was an abstraction as the group existed as part of an in-joke to try and establish support for different sides of this debate.
Here again (like Jermaine and Germaine), comedy can give us some clues into our own prejudices and assumptions. To me these strongly held stances against tights (and boy are they strongly held, even in blogs which I read daily), are essentially about economies of taste, about superiority, about retaining control over acceptability and ultimately about telling women what they can and can’t wear. Not cool.