It’s been a big week for men in skirts.
Schoolboys donned skirts to protest against an unfair uniform policy, while similar protests by French bus drivers and a British call centre worker went viral, and Paris Fashion Week was packed with gender-neutral outfits.
About time too, because men in skirts are manly AF.
It takes balls to wear a skirt – remember the ridicule David Beckham got for wearing a sarong?
That was nearly 20 years ago and people still snigger about it – but they shouldn’t, because skirts were made for men as well as women.
They’re the second-oldest item of clothing ever invented (the loin cloth was the first) and were worn by men and women for thousands of years without anybody getting weird about it. In many cultures, they still are.
Somewhere along the line, though, some cultures persuaded themselves that skirts weren’t for men.
We ignored basic biology – our testicles hang down for a reason, and that reason is ventilation – and decided to gender a bit of cloth entirely at random.
Don’t believe me? Here’s an experiment to prove it.
Imagine you’ve got yourself a length of fabric and you wrap it around the lower half of your body a few times. Now, imagine sticking a pin in it so it doesn’t unravel or fall down.
What are you wearing?
Kilt or be killed
I’m a Scot, so to me there are two likely answers: it’s either a kilt, or it’s a skirt.
Either way, you’ve just gendered it – because a kilt is something men wear and a skirt is something women wear.
If it’s a kilt, you can wear it to weddings and football matches and be seen as the manly man you are. And if it’s a skirt, you’re going to get yelled at, or worse. You might say it’s a choice of kilt or be killed.
That’s just silly.
Look at Kanye in his leather skirt, or any buff Scotsman in a kilt, or Russell Crowe in Gladiator, or the Kilted Yoga guys. Think of the famous images of Kurt Cobain in a frock, or Brad Pitt in a tight dress.
You would, wouldn’t you? Of course you would. Men in skirts can be sexy as hell.
But of course, it’s different for celebrities.
In the real world, with people reacting to the sight of a well-turned calf in much the same way Victorians did to well-turned table legs, it takes balls for a man to wear a skirt.
You’ll be catcalled, glared at, perceived to be a pervert or some kind of exhibitionist.
That’s just daft.
We’re still amused or horrified if men do or wear supposedly female things, because we don’t value those things as much as we do traditionally masculine things.
But we should.
In the middle of a heatwave, men in skirts can be a very different kind of hot.