Who wears the pants in the relationship?
You or your culture?
When we hear that question, “who wears the pants in the relationship” or the statement, “oh, I see who wears the pants in that relationship,” what is really being asked or implied is, not who literally wears a pair of trousers or slacks, but who maintains the higher degree of power, who is really in control?
If you know your history, you would know that pants had to work their way up the fashion ladder to be considered better than poor farming wear. Men of any distinction wore tights, yes, white tights with bulging codpieces (thanks to Henry the VII).
Women tried in earlier times to don a very full type of “pant” that were called “bloomers.” Attempts to make these popular were mocked by newspaper cartoonists without mercy, depicting women who wore them slowly turning into men, smoking in public (which women were not allowed to do until the 1920’s ) and losing the nature of their very gender.
This social prejudice, though mostly directed toward women, has affected men nearly as greatly. Men have been bound to adhere to strict rules of fashion if they want to be regarded not only as men, but as a masculine one. Too many accessories, an attachment to textured fabric, floral patterns, the desire to carry a satchel and you just might be voted off macho island.
Why are we so afraid that what we place on our bodies will change not merely our appearance, but our very selves, our nature and relation to and expression of our sex?
Who does society regard as the greater threat: the liberated, trouser-wearing woman, or the colorful, eclectic and adorned man?
Note here that I have said nothing about sexual orientation, and am not going to, but pause here and reflect what you were thinking, or assuming. It’s ok, you’re not alone there. We are all guilty of running to labels and organizing people into them.
Labels dictate our behavior because they write scripts for us of how we should react, what jokes we think we are allowed to make, how seriously we take that person; we do not think we have to be so aware (and sensitive) because we are acting within the perimeters of what that labels allows.
Another question I’d like to put out there, is there such a thing as non-gender attributes? Or does everything have a bent of being classified as male or female, masculine or feminine?
From colors to shades of mood and aggression, the more we strive to categorize or fit things into their respective “boxes” the more they flip themselves or break open, again, especially if you know your history. So much of what we direct as either masculine or feminine has little to make it stick except the context we find ourselves in.
Men of affluence wore bejeweled necklaces and thick eyeliner in ancient Egypt, warriors of Scotland wore kilts (that hardly look different from contemporary girl’s school uniforms), royalty of France in the time of King Louis (all the Louis) wore high heeled shoes embellished with bows and buckles and would put todays be-dazzler to shame.
The struggle here, the real issue, does not come down to a battle of the sexes, it comes down to a battle of cultures, sub-cultures, tradition versus progress, whose words we believe and how we respond to, or adjust ourselves, and our fashion, accordingly.
With that in mind, who wears the pants in your relationship, you know, the one you have with society?