You might have observed, also, that the costumes aren’t called “men’s” and “women’s.” They’re all just “adult.” So women could, if they wanted to, buy and wear the non-sexy version of the costume, and vice versa for men. And we might imagine a woman doing that. But would a guy do that? Probably only as a joke (unless they’re in a queer-safe space).
This pattern — women can dress like men, but men don’t dress like women — suggests that there is, in fact, something demeaning, ridiculous, or subordinating about presenting oneself to the male gaze. Most men feel stupid, gross, or vulnerable when they do it. This isn’t just about conformity to different gendered expectations. If it were just about difference women would feel equally weird dressing in men’s clothes. Instead, when women adopt masculine ways of dressing and moving, they often feel empowered.
So, when men do femininity they feel ridiculous and when women do masculinity they feel awesome. This is what gender inequality looks like.
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