Can Boys Wear Dresses, Too?

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Gender roles say he shouldn’t wear this dress–but we think he looks awesome! | Source

Gender roles determine a lot for you before you even have a say in them. When you’re a baby, chances are your room’s theme is either a pink one or a blue one, and when your parents picked out your clothes when you were little, it’s a safe bet you wore dresses or frills at least sometimes, right? And people probably bought you dolls for your birthday or holidays, because, hey, you’re a girl!

Thing is, with the way gender roles are in society, as you got older, if you wanted to wear pants and play sports, people probably didn’t even blink. But think about gender roles for guys: If a guy in your school tried out for the ballet or dance team, some people might raise an eyebrow at him. And if he wears lip gloss or a dress? Forget it.

A new article that we’d love you to take a gander at sheds a lot of light on gender roles, gender identity, and gender fluidity–because not everyone born a boy feels like being what people expect from a boy all the time, and not everyone born with lady bits feels like being what people expect from a girl all the time. It’s incredibly important to show tolerance and accept people for who they are, not what society’s gender roles expects them to be–especially when you consider how those same gender roles, describing what’s masculine and what’s feminine, have changed throughout history. Did you know that back in the day pink was considered a strong and masculine color, while blue was seen as girly and delicate? Or that boys wore dresses pretty often? It kind of drives the point home that gender roles are more used to make sense of our surroundings, but ultimately, over time, become sort of irrelevant, don’t they?

Girls are awesome (obvs!), but part of why boys who wear dresses or act feminine are often looked down on is because females are still seen, for whatever idiotic reason, as the weaker sex (granted it’s ignorant, chauvinistic people who feel this way). Gender roles are also part of what’s behind the fact that you probably make less than a man with the same exact job!

You’d be wise not to bully or be cruel to someone for any reason, but especially not for their lack of adherence to a gender role–because you don’t know his or her life or what he or she and their families have been through in dealing with that. Chances are they’ve been picked on at home or put through a slew of therapy with mom and dad.

It’s also pretty important to remember and to try to understand that just because a guy may be into eyeliner or skirts doesn’t mean he necessarily sees himself as a girl. He could just be a dude who likes eyeliner (remember when Pete Wentz was relevant?). Get to know people as people, not as images nor as examples of particular gender roles. The guy with long pink hair may be an awesome boyfriend. The girl with the buzzcut may have killer style. The danger of gender roles is that gender roles can stifle individuality.

And let’s be real: as long as you want your right to wear jeans respected (not that long ago women were SO not allowed to wear pants!), it’d be pretty hypocritical to pick on a dude for wearing a prom dress. Society and gender roles don’t determine who you are: You do.

Do you think gender roles are damaging to individuality? Do you think gender roles are helpful or harmful? Have you ever struggled with gender roles or knew someone who did? Tell us in the comments!

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  • TopCat

    In answer to the question, I do think that gender roles are unhelpful. I am a straight guy who loves to wear clothes and footwear designed for women. I believe everyone should be free to wear whatever clothes they want to – providing that it decent – and that all fashion should be ‘gender neutral’, such that there is no stigma attached to a man who wants to wear a dress or a skirt or a woman who wants to wear an item of clothing that would be traditionally regarded as ‘male’. On a personal note, I think that mens clothes are incredibly boring, hence my reason for wearing women’s clothes whenever I can – lingerie, dresses, skirts, tops, knitwear (cardigans, coatigans, boleros, shrugs), heels, wedges, sandles and boots – there is so much choice!!
    I adore maxi dresses and skirts, also sweater/jumper dresses, but I do also wear other styles of dresses and skirts as well. I don’t just go for ‘plain colours’ and I do have some pretty floral/patterned designs. I also have some gorgeous evening dresses, and for an evening out to the theatre, for example, I love nothing more than wearing one of these dresses, along with a pair of heels, and looking/feeling really stylish.
    I find wearing dresses and skirts is so incredibly comfortable, and just wish that more men would be take the plunge to see what they are missing.

  • batephil19

    I think its cool if boys want to wear girl’s clothes. I would help a boy if he wanted to

  • Deedee

    I have been wearing “women’s” undergarments for years as they are so much more comfortable than tidywhitys or boxers and this has led to a closet with many dresses, skirts, blouses and other feminine clothes. It is so much more comfortable and colorful.

  • Maya s

    It’s literally a piece of fabric you put on your body, why is it gendered? I say, wear whatever you want!

  • Robert

    I wore dresses as ayoung boy and even played outside in them. I am not gay and and am offended by anyone who thinks that clothing will influence your orientation. My friends knew i was a boy and still played with me, so did the girls. I grew up and spent 4 years in the military and was apolice officer for 20 years.

  • Tom

    To answer the question on top of page,

  • Bart

    I’m a guy and I really like dresses and skirts, I also paint my nails pretty often, it’s great, the only issue may be wearing lipstick while having facial hair, it looks a bit.. weird, then again thats just my opinion and people should do what they want and wear what they want..

  • Lorraine

    Times are changing and the comments show this, gender has no place in fashions and clothing. Human beings should be able to wear what they love or wish to wear and that go’s for men and young guys. If a young man feels like he wishes to be pretty and feminine and wear dress and high heels and every thing else he should with out fear of being attacked or ridiculed or labeled gay. It’s time for equality in fashions and removal of gender from clothing allowing human beings (men) the same freedom that woman have enjoyed for over 70 yeas.

  • Lee

    It seems to me that gender roles only apply to men and boys. Women and girls are free to do anything and wear anything they want. There are no longer any restrictions on females.

  • Tammi

    I think if boys want to wear dresses they should be able to do so and if my son wanted to dress that way , I would not try to stop him.

  • Men’s Skirts
  • Alex

    Exactly my point,
    My gender also differs from my sex and I have to conform to society just so I wont be picked on, but when I am around people I can be comfortable with I am like a different person because I let myself be as girly as I want.

  • Jeff

    I am in my 30’s and over the past two years have started wearing ladies panties, stockings & suspender belts. I shopped and purchased my first skirts, dresses and heels at the weekend and discovered how much more I enjoy ladies clothes than men’s. I came on from work tonight and changed into a dress, which just feels so right!

  • joe

    i love wearing dresses im a guy

  • marshmelo

    OMG Josh Ramsay can actually pull off eyeliner better than most girls, lol I think he’s so hot I don’t even care if he wears eyeliner 😉

  • ashley

    its articles like this that give me faith in <3

  • Heather M

    I have no problem with it.
    My daughter’s room is painted mint green and my son’s is red. I’m all about putting my daughter in a dress and my son in overalls (not that these aren’t for girls too), but I have no issue with them being themselves. My daughter’s favorite toys are her cars. And my son is only 7months old, but if he wants a doll when he’s older, you’re damn straight I’ll buy him one. I HATE gender specific items. Who cares what they want to play with and wear, it doesn’t change who they are!

  • Angel

    Pete Wentz is STILL relevant. So is Ryan Ross ( <3 He's my 'Harry Styles' 😉 ). And Billie Joe Armstrong. And like 50 other guys. I think more men should try out makeup. I mean they dont have to go full blown out Kiss or anything, but I'm assuming guys think about their apperance more than they let on, and it could help boost self confidence if it was more excepted and they liked how they look.

    • pw2987

      Omg dude i love you….and Pete xD

  • Vivi

    People brought me monster trucks for my birthday and sports equipment lol the only person who brought me a doll was my grandmother because she thought I would have fun with it… Let’s just say the head was removed within two minutes and I completely dismantled it 😉 I was a weird baby to some people because I was a girl and did “boys stuff” – my room has been blue since I was really little! Im fine with guys in dresses. They should get the freedom to fashion like us! Lol