Articles tagged with "Gender Bending"
How can we make it normal for men to wear high heels or long boots?
1. Be visible
The single most effective thing each and every one of us can do is to be visible. The more people see men in heels, the more it will be normalised.
Every time you venture out you have an opportunity to educate more people and give them a different perspective on how they look at men in what they would normally consider women's clothes. Many people are still unaware of gender issues. Some may find it un-settling at first as we're challenging the status quo... Be kind.
2. Socialise your visibility
Being active regularly on social media is helpful in getting our message about men in heels to "cross-over" into mainstream life. YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook can all be effective and it's often possible to repurpose content created for one platform on another. Learn about hashtags and use them properly - they are vital to getting noticed. Make hashtags relevant to your post and make them unique to each post. Keep your content focused and on-topic, make it predominantly about your style in heels. Creating a new heels-focussed account is often a good idea if you have pictures of your pet/holidays/what you ate for dinner on your account now. Focus drives follower engagement and retention. If you're not getting (and keeping) the followers you want, make sure you're only posting about topics relevant to their interest.
We can all play our part in social media and in addition to going out there and doing it every day, our community needs us to share our shoe collections, our outfits, our public experiences with whatever level of personal expression we feel comfortable with. Being visible, loud and proud on social media is the key to effecting real change. Resist the temptation to make critical comments when your own profile is empty or has very little content - your voice will be heard louder iand more objectively if you can clearly demonstrate that you walk your talk.
3. Blog it!
Creating a blog website to blog about wearing heels and boots will reach a wider audience than Instagram alone. It can also funnel traffic to your other social media accounts.
You'll probably already have a great deal of content from your social media account (your photos etc), all you need is a little narrative to tell a good story and your website will work well in attracting visitors. Regularly promote your blog on social media.
Some great blogs on high heels and boots can be found at:
4. Ally, don't alienate
Support and ally with other minority groups. Align yourself alongside LGBTQIA+, Feminists and anyone actively gender bending and de-gendering fashion.
5. Support the community
Support each other by making positive, constructive comments on social media, cross-posting and promoting other people's posts and profiles. We'll all achieve more, faster by pulling together as a community.
6. Be gender aware
Be alert to gender-labelling of non-gendered items and call people out on it! The less gendered our world becomes, the better it will be for everyone, us heeled shoe wearers included.
7. Know your history
Educate yourself on men's heel history, fashion and gender issues, it will give you more confidence in yourself and help you develop your style.
8. The fine line between fashion & fetish
Be mindful of sexualisation - don't confuse fashion and fetish. If you have a fetish for anything, that is fine, but keep it private and keep it separate from anything fashion related.
Some things that would also be helpful, but are largely out of our control are
Seeing more men in heels in mass-media Movies, TV series, newspapers and magazines and not just because they are wearing heels, but as matter of fact every day fashion. It's time to change-up the narrative from men in heels being there for shits-and-giggles, because frankly that's getting boring.
Older generations appreciating that the norms that they live by are not the norms that WE live by. We're going to break your norms because they don't have the same value to us as they did for you.
Comments from our readers
We had some great comments on this question posted on our Instagram page for previous posts of this Q&A issue, from both men and women...
"I feel the only way to that is to bring back Cuban heels to mainstream men’s fashion like skinny jeans. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but unless we start with mainstream Cuban heels, high heels will have no chance in men’s mainstream fashion."
"Sadly society have stereotypes about this and wants to quietly shame us for this." ...and we say "Thanks, but we say to hell with gender stereotypes! they are just an out-dated product of the patriarchal society that we live in. The shame is on the people who perpetuate them!!"
"Lead by example. I live in a small town, but still wear heels and/or boots - and dresses or skirts - almost every day. And reactions are almost only positive! ❤️ Even the few, that gave me strange looks, in the beginning are now used to it, and see it as a natural thing, that I dress the way I prefer! 🙏"
"Be confident. And be visible. That makes it fit the norm."
"The more men wear them, the more normal it becomes!"
"Same as guys wearing any formerly masculine style that got appropriated by women...guys just have to get out in them as men, even if "looking" feminine. Clothing does not change one's sex."
"You just do it. I make it normal for myself"
"It will take companies to start making more larger sizes. And market, market, market to men too. Just like Birkenstock big buckle sandals. They stop at size 11. They need to at least go up to 16. I would love to get several of them but no size 14. I wear a size 12 in men's. So that's what it's going to take. We can't wear drag heels and boots all the time. 'Even though I love them' 🙂"
"Normal is majority... more the merrier scenario. Acceptance will return if retail label some high heels as MEN'S. It will take the major retailers to sell them and then the men with the balls to wear them. It will become normal again. If the mullet haircut can return... anything is possible if enough embrace the trend and the trend is marketed"
"As far as I’m concerned it already is, I do it and I consider myself to be normal lol 😂"
"Honestly try to avoid anger when people make comments or laugh. We have to stand tall shoulders back and be proud. No matter what and where your background is."
"You never will, what is normal to one person will not be to the next. You just have to do what feels right for you and if it doesn't please some people that's their problem and if they get over it then that's up to them. You can't truly define normal."
"The behaviour and style of the mainstream is the 'normal'. But minority groups with a goal have the chance for change something. For example women in trousers. For men in skirts, heels, leggings or anything else of female clothing it's the same. We have the right to wear it and we can do. Without Instagram or other platforms in the web, every man in 'wrong' clothes was the only person who do this. With the visibility in the web, every man can see there are any other man doing the same. And the mainstream also see that there more men doing this. And while these men doing and connecting, the trend hunter of the big companies seeing it too. For an example, three years ago ASOS didn't sell swim thongs for men. Actually the do and not only normal thongs, tie side thongs and bikinis for men. Buy what you want, wear what you want with confidence and write reviews at the retailer websites. If the companies see the communication from the customer, they think about developing and offer products for men. ASOS started to sell their shoes in the women department in bigger sizes. They well spotted the trend. It's a crosslinked evolutions starting with our steps which need a little bit self-confidence: 1. Buy the item, with the mindset "it's normal what I'm doing here." 2. Wear/use the item with the mindset "It's normal what I'm doing here." 3. React to weird views or dumb comments/question with the attitude and mindset "I really don't understand you because it's normal what I'm doing here." 4. Ask the employees in the store for assistance when you need and act normal when trying on with the attitude/mindset "It's normal what I'm doing here, so why should I not or should I hide." Sounds easier than it is, but it works and brings you in a positive mood/vibes. Let us start it."
Posted: 7 December 2022
Are we entering another Peacock Revolution?
The 1960s saw a huge shift in men's fashion, as the standard template of the tailored suit gave way to more flamboyant styles.
Before the 1960s, men's fashion generally followed a conservative template that nobody thought to question: shirt, tie, plain hand-made suit etc. A new, confident youth culture demanded fresh styles and the Mods (short for 'Modernists') ushered in a new style with colourful Italian slimline suits, short jackets.
The 1960s saw the trend gather pace and more colourful and unapologetic patterned shirts made an appearance, popularised by groups like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. New retail opportunities appeared, supporting this new style, bringing it to the masses. High heeled boots replaced shoes as the footwear of choice for men.
By the mid 60s, fashion conscious Londoners were challenging male etiquette, unashamed to wear frills, velvet and other elements, now stereotyped through movie characters like Austin Powers.
New fashion boutiques sprang up along London's Kings Road, 'Mr Fish' in particular sold a range of "Peacock" Styles which were highly individual: wide ties, colourful suits and culturally influenced separates.
Towards the end of the 60s, military style also became popular and once again driven by groups like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, reflecting a new desire for something fresh and new.
The new flamboyance of men’s fashion during the 1960s lead to the name “The Peacock Revolution”.
We now have male music artists, film stars and other people in the public eye who are wearing more flamboyant clothes and occasionally a pair of heeled shoes too. There is a move towards more individuality and self expression.
It does appear that we are heading in a similar direction.
Posted: 7 September 2022
People say you’re gay if you’re a man who wears high heels or boots... Is that true?
It may be true that people say that, but it’s certainly not true that any item of clothing or footwear can ever change your sexuality when you put it on. To even suggest that is ridiculous.
In talking to various people during my research for this answer it was by no means conclusive that gay men are more likely than anyone else to wear heels and boots. They don’t need anyone’s judgement any more than anyone of any other sexual orientation, straight, bi or otherwise who want to express themselves with their clothing choices, but one thing is certain it’s not clothes that determine any person’s sexual orientation.
Deconstructing gender stereotypes is the key to changing this situation. There are many on Instagram who are behind that movement and call it out. We all need to play a part if we want to freely express ourselves. Raising awareness via Instagram other social media and blogs will help, but we also need open and honest conversations with the people around us. While we may be comfortable, familiar and accepting of the notion that clothes have no gender and don’t dictate your sexual orientation, to most people that will be a new concept, so perhaps it's time for a coffee and a chat...
Thank you again to everyone who contacted me with their perspectives on this topic during my research. Much appreciated.
Comments from our readers
We had some great comments on this question posted on our Instagram page for previous posts of this Q&A issue...
"No, you’re a person who just happens to like them. Nothing about being gay or straight etc. Do women who dress like a man get called gay"
"As a pre op transgender wearing heels comes naturally to me, even driving in 3 inch block heels no problem"
"After all it is simply an item of clothing. And when you go back and look at the history of boots particularly over the knee boots and thigh high boots they were originally designed hundreds of years ago for men all of this stereotyping people has got to stop gender neutral fashions should be everywhere and we should just be allowed to wear what we want wearing a pair of boots that are marketed for women is not a sign of being gay it’s just a freedom of your own expression. I seriously wish all boot Manufacturers would start marketing to men there are so many of us out there they enjoy the pleasure of wearing a pair of boots design for women and are afraid to come out there is no reason to be afraid times are changing but they need to change quicker."
"Speaking as a heterosexual happily married man who has enjoyed a lifelong passion for wearing women’s boots primarily low heeled or up to an inch and a half out in public for many, many years under my jeans. I do not agree that you are a gay man who wears them. I simply feel complete and comfortable wearing boots over normal shoes but that does not make me gay at all I have no desire to make love to someone of the same sex. I am not against that. I believe everybody should have the right to live their life really and express themselves as long as they are not hurting anyone. You’re absolutely right the time has come to do away with a stereotype labels put on people."
"Only a few gay guys appreciate high heels. They even often hate them because it’s woman related."
"Of course everyone is free to wear whatever they like, and should! Speaking purely from my experience, I’d say it is more common to find straight guys who are into traditionally feminine shoes like high heels. Gay guys are often into traditionally masculine boots like motorcycle or combat boots. In other words, if you are attracted to women you like women’s shoes and if you are attracted to men you will prefer men’s shoes. So perhaps which kind of footwear one likes does have something to do with sexual orientation—just not in the way many people think."
Posted: 15 July 2022
Dazed magazine features the SS21 campaign for Amsterdam based fashion house Ninamounah which included Viral high heel wearing sensation, Mark Bryan (@MarkBryan911) as a "Special Species".
Posted: 3 June 2022
L’Officiel delves into the history of high heels for men. From Persia to Pop-culture and the current trend of men wearing heels they present a brief explaination of the origins of the Man Heel.
Posted: 7 May 2022
Why do men want to wear high heels?
It's a good question and not as stereotypical an answer as you might expect...
There may be a number of reasons why men would want to wear high heels. To many women who regularly wear high heels and endure pain and discomfort from wearing heels, the idea may seem absurd, until you also consider the many women who still endure that pain and discomfort for the obvious attractions that heels bring. Many men have similar reasons for wanting to wear heels as women do.
A growing number of people believe that clothes and shoes should not dictate a persons sexual orientation or gender and for that reason alone they will wear whatever they want, regardless of which (usually binary) gender label has been attached to the clothing or shoes. It's a refreshing idea if you've always stuck to social norms around gender stereotypes. It ultimately means, if you like it, wear it and for many men, dressing like this is liberating and provides an outlet for self expression. More recently this idea has been expressed by high profile stars such as Harry Styles and Justin Bieber, though it has been the case for many years with stars such as Prince and David Bowie wearing clothes labelled for different genders.
For some men an extra height boost is one reason. This can bring additional confidence and especially when your partner is also wearing heels it can restore the height differential which male and female partners often desire.
For more fashion conscious men, the reason may be to be just be different from the crowd, more fashion forward, and they will often be more adventurous with the rest of their clothing choices, seeking more distinctive fabrics, colours, textures and patterns. Many men are simply bored with the same old re-cycled options on offer in the mens section and want something different. With this dissatisfaction often comes a desire to change the aesthetic of their outfits by mixing and matching from all the options on offer and higher heels can instantly change the look of an outfit.
Some men want to express outwardly how they feel about their gender. More recent publicity of gender and how it's expressed in almost limitless terms when you consider gender as non-binary, can help some men feel like they have way of explaining why they want to wear heels.
Sometimes men are simply just curious about what it's like to walk in heels and may capitalise on any suitable opportunity to try it out. We've often heard the expression "to walk a mile in someone else's shoes" as a metaphor for understanding someone's experience, however in literal terms, men can also fully experience a flavour of what it's like for a woman to wear heels.
Diversion is another reason why men wear heels. Some men enjoy playing with that taboo that comes with gender boundaries and the experience can either be a form of mockery or great reverence for women or social constructs around gender standards.
A more stereotypical view of a man in heels is the practice of cross-dressing. Where a man, typically heterosexual, will dress entirely in women's clothing. The same term also applies to women who dress in men's clothes, though the term is seldom used when women cross-dress. Cross-dressers may derive a sense of peace or euphoria from dressing entirely in women's clothing, some may also derive sexual pleasure from it. Synonymous with "cross-dresser" is the term "Transvestite" although this is outdated and often viewed as offensive, as is the "Tranny" slang version.
Transgender people may wear high heels for any of the reasons above, though more usually to help affirm their gender identity. Most transgender people seek to bring their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. This is called transition. Some men realise that their biological sex and gender are fundamentally misaligned and for them, this is a way for them to express their true gender. Like all people, many transgender women will want to wear high heels, though this is not always the case. Their gender is every bit as valid as everyone else's and is often reflected in how they express themselves.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why a man would want to wear high heels, or anything else for that matter. All are valid reasons and are perfectly fine. As awareness of this trend increases, you're likely to see more men expressing themselves in this way. For men's fashion, breaking these long-standing gender stereotypes is perhaps long over-due!
Comments from our readers
We had some great comments on this question posted on our Instagram page for previous posts of this Q&A issue, from both men and women...
"Totally agree with this! I think shoes and heels should be for anyone and everyone! Same with all types of clothing. On a basic level, it's just material that covers your body, on a complex level it's how you want to feel and for me wearing heels feels amazing!! And it's not necessarily about attraction... But I have to say a liberated confident man in heels is very sexy to me 😉 xox"
"Because they look so sexy"
"I like to wear high heels just because I love how they look, and I love how I look in them, so why not wear them. Besides fighting with toxic masculinity, I might say that I also find somehow challenging to find everything I like in my size (women's size 13). Things are much better than ten years ago, there are many brands that offer these sizes, but most common and commercial brands still have to realize that there is a growing demand they could serve. Hopefully soon."
"About 40 years ago Marks & Spencer actually sold riding boots for men, I bought a pair, the main part were ox-blood in colour with a black ridge at the top and a small wedge heel, sadly I sold them a few years later, I'm also at an age when platform boots were on trend, mine were red and yellow with a beautiful chunky heel, and also of course I had the multi coloured flowered shirt with same matching tie, and thin brown leather pants, oh to have that 28 inch waist again"
"In the animal world , especially birds, it is the male that has the brightest plumage, so why do guys have to be in dark and boring clothing, I always love to wear ladies coloured gloves, at first I was not confident, I always imagined that everyone would be staring at me, In most cases people just don't care what you wear"
"Why are we doing this? Because we do not only like to see high-heeled shoes on women, but also like to wear them ourselves. We feel good in high heels! They give us and our gait quite grace, but also strength. There is also a sense of self-confidence when we walk in high heels. As a man, in particular, you need more courage and skill, but also the strength and charisma to express this in a positive way."
"Hi, I just came across your page and I absolutely love that there are guys who enjoy wearing heels, flats, boots, etc... Me personally for some time have a strong belief that clothes/shoes have no gender and that it's for everyone! I am a 21 year old gay male who enjoys wearing heels and flats as well as makeup and accessories because I want to express my personality and be my own person that is different from everyone else."
"I have legs, feet and thighs that I would truly find hot in any woman but I am a man. Therefore I look better with nylons, skirts and heels. That’s just body and I accept it. Why can’t I show myself at my best without being labelled with a gender or sexual orientation that is really not correct?"
"I wear women’s boots because they make me feel complete"
"Because we can 🤷🏻♂️"
"When I go into a department store for men's gloves, the gloves are functional but lack any style or fit, so always head for the ladies gloves, so many colours and really a nice tight fit"
"I wear high heels 👠 and women’s clothes despite being 6’2” for a few reasons. One is because men’s clothes are (for the most part) boring and pedestrian. I’m a little different from a lot of Xdressers in that I don’t desire to be or impersonate a woman. I have no desire to appear female. I’m a straight man who is into fashion, and I look hot as hell in a miniskirt and heels. And lastly, there’s some internal drive, be it a past life remnant or a genetic punctuation, or anything, that gifts me the super power to live life outside the box. I exercise this super power to help other men learn that they too can grow this super power. As I say on my page, the first time a “Dude Bro” sees a man in heels and a skirt, he sees a gay alien 👽 who has come to abduct and convert him. By the third time he sees this, he sees a human being. That’s why I do it. It only takes three times to normalize it."
"You're absolutely right!! Men's everyday wear is so pedestrian and dull. I always bitch about how women's clothing has more color, style and design. I hate when I see a great shirt and its a women's small and they don't have it in men's sizes. And the shoes... I'm crazy about stiletto's and boots."
"It's very simple, have you seen them? They are just beautiful! 😁 My only reason haha."
"I would love to wear heels all the time I just feel more comfortable wearing them. Men’s shoes suck and I don’t own any"
"Never judge a book by it's cover, the same could equally be said when it comes to meeting other people, whatever their gender is"
"Wear what you want!"
"Because a pair of heels changes an average outfit to a much nicer one. So as not so many women still wear heels, then I do it myself."
Posted: 4 May 2022
When he died, Prince left behind a shoe collection that included more than 1,000 pairs of custom-made shoes, nearly all boots with high heels. Now, for the first time, Paisley Park — where Prince lived and worked in Minnesota — will showcase 300 of the artist's most famous and outrageous pairs.
Original URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHPXwLg9HrA
Posted: 16 December 2021
This article from respected magazine, National Geographic, spotlights an exhibition that celebrates the ways couture blurs the line between men’s and women’s clothing. It hints that social media is helping create communities of people that can influence the way we dress. It asks “who wears the pants?” and charts the rise of women wearing pants, something that can inspire us as we march forward in our heels. The article concludes with a positive message from a member of the LGBTQ community which suggests that our voices may finally be heard and our gender bending fashion seen.
Posted: 17 June 2021
This article from the New York Times reflects upon how people have redefined themselves during lockdown and experimented with the wearing of dresses and other clothing normally considered feminine. Inspired by the appearances on TV of stars such as Kid Cudi and Lil Nas X wearing dresses and skirts people are eschewing gender stereotypes and bringing in a new era where clothing can no longer be considered a “tell” for anything.
Posted: 17 June 2021
This article from Medium highlights a feature on Harry Styles wearing a Gucci gown which appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine. The article covers how gender norms around clothing are changing and highlights some of the resistance against it, but ultimately "we just want to see sexy people in beautiful clothes" and a dress is just a dress.
Posted: 14 June 2021