The social construct of cross dressing.
If I lived in a society where nakedness was the socially accepted norm, and I decided to branch out and wear some (strange as it might seem!;-) clothes, I would (probably) be looked upon with a certain amount of curiosity and perhaps even derision. Depending on the sensibilities of this ‘naked’ society, I may find myself in prison or even on the receiving end of violent repression. The medical and psychological sectors of this nude community might seek to diagnose and therefore ‘cure’ my ‘condition’. They might label me a ‘Vestite’ or someone who likes to wear clothes, a ‘Dresser!’
‘Vestism’ or ‘Dressing’ might become a thing and I might find myself on the fringes of a society that does not understand my desire to wear clothes. I would probably meet other people who, like me, desire to ‘Dress’ while the rest of my friends are naked. My family might be very supportive of my behaviour, whilst not understand it, or they might exclude me and feel great shame.
I might even doubt my own desire to wear clothes and may buy into the medical diagnosis of me. I might therefore seek to heal myself of my affliction. Sometimes going about my day in a completely naked condition while secretly hiding my desire to wear clothes. I might put on clothes in the secrecy of my own home, I might develop coping strategies that allow me to feel the beauty of clothes while not actually wearing them. some of these strategies might be healthy, but some might not.
The need to label is an integral part of being a human. we name and label everything we see, even ourselves. We’ve named things that are so far away from us we will only ever know what they were like 100’s of millions of years ago. There is nothing that we do not label. So it’s only right that we would label the dressing habits of our fellow humans. But labels have certain limitations. And if certain labels come with certain stigmas attached then things can get messy.
The modern world can sometimes see labels as a method of hierarchal suppression and domination. I (one label) have power over you (a different label), but labels do not necessarily have to be used this way. Labels help me to identify and I need identify myself. Who am I is a crucial question and without some labels it will be difficult to answer it. Problems arise when I identify too strongly with one label over another. When I begin to think I am or might really be one of the labels I loose sight of my true nature, which is eternal.
When we mistake the label for the object we loose sight of the true nature of the object. I am not the label, I am me.
Transvestite is a useful label as it conveys a part of the truth of who I am. I’m also a father, a son, a lover, not a fighter? a brother, a builder, a writer, a poet, and a man. But none of those labels really do justice to the complexity and simplicity that paradoxically exist at the core of each of us. Our ‘Me’ness
Transvestite is a label that I no longer fear or wish to hold on to too tightly. It’s a useful (for me) label in the current meme but its use may fall out of favour as the meme changes.
If you are struggling with what labels to attach to yourself then you have my deepest sympathies. The struggle for Self realisation is very real and is very troublesome for many. It differs from the struggle for survival or food or warmth but it is none the less a struggle. It’s a struggle to birth your Self and all birth involves death. Death of old identities and beliefs, shedding old and out of date labels. The death of the belief that men are tough and do not cry. Death of the belief that women need to stay at home and possibly the death of the belief that they don’t want to stay at home. The death of the belief that men only want to wear blue jeans. Slowly but surely things die and other things are born. Celebrities and ideas are all subjects of this law.
Blessings on your journey, whatever labels you attach to your Self.
I am, A Man in a Skirt.