My boyfriend decided to put himself in the role of a woman to literally walk a mile in our shoes.
From makeup to heels to lingerie to Nair, he experimented with it all. The result was a new found appreciation of the female gender. It’s also noteworthy that I am not exactly a feminine person; even on my most feminine days, I don’t wear makeup or heels or anything frilly. Yet he went there, to places I have rarely gone, and hardly ever enjoyed by any real definition of the word.
He experienced all the self-consciousness, all the nervousness, all the peer pressure. He remarked on the prices of makeup and clothes, the tedious and painstaking journey to being hair-free, and constantly feeling held to a higher standard for seeking a feminine look.
It was a remarkably brave thing to do and I greatly admire his experiment. We took tons of photos for his photography class project, hence the first picture of him with the camera.
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it y’all.
This was a truly eye opening experience. Sure, role reversal invokes an element of taboo excitement, however there’s something much more important to learn here.
As a white middle-class male, I acknowledge that my world view is subjected the bias of power privilege. While I’m never satisfied willfully accepting ignorance, I recognize how dangerously convenient it can be to sympathize, but not actually empathize, with differences in equality. Similarly, it’s one thing to acknowledge injustice, but completely another to be emotionally stirred, avoid bias assertions, or be proactive about it.
Rivaled by the novelty of thigh high pantyhose and patent high heels, is the realization that women are pressured to do this kind of thing every day. No, it’s not always lingerie, but women of all ages are somehow expected to maintain a well groomed, picked and pruned, fashion friendly, and physically fit bodily exterior. (It should also be noted that comparatively, there’s no such thing as men’s lingerie).
Under normal circumstances, I shave my face every few days, and generally it’s only to suffice my employer’s dress code. Ladies on the other hand are broadly expected to shave their whole legs, pubic region, armpits, and any other unsightly hair – regardless of employer or even visibility. In addition, women are strongly encouraged to apply make up every day, style their hair, and accessorize.
If males were suddenly asked to do the same, it’d seem like absolute nonsense. Seriously, I’m still baffled how woman find the time to do all this every single day. Altogether, it’s actually very upsetting to me; I fear that the vast majority of the effort made is completely taken for granted. Instead of them being appreciated as they need to be, or the favor being reciprocated, almost all of those extra special efforts invariably disappear into a cloud of unjust societal expectations.
I never knew about all the things I wasn’t able see before. I definitely appreciate women in a whole new way now.
My girlfriend just got even more amazing. :)