The cable guy made a house call at the Hermosa household recently. When he spoke to greet me, I realized immediately that the gable guy was really the cable gal. My wife and I both mistook her for a him. Honestly, she really did look more like a him than a her. Just to be clear, I’m not picking on her appearance in any way, shape, or form – only indicating that she looked male based on her physical appearance alone. The point I’m getting to is how society is very accepting of women who dress and look masculine in appearance. Society is not accepting of men who dress and look feminine in appearance. Why does this only work one way and not the other?
The cable gal who made our house call was an absolute pleasure to deal with. Our DVR had to be rebooted a couple of times which allowed her and I to enjoy several minutes worth of good, non-cable related conversation. She was courteous, kind, polite and remained completely professional and patient while I told her what I thought was wrong with our DVR. Of course, I was wrong and she was right, but it was rather cool of her to allow my indulgence in trying a few things that she knew would not remedy the problem.
What if it were the other way around. What if the cable lady turned out to be a really feminine looking guy, perhaps even a all-out crossdresser? In our home, he or she would be more than welcome as I’m a crossdresser and understand it (as does my wife). What about another home? Would other people allow into their home a man who looked female in appearance, with the exception of his voice? If so, would they scrutinize everything he did because he was a crossdresser? Perhaps they might feel that he didn’t know what he was doing because he’s one of those “crazy”, “weird-o”, “not normal” crossdressers, right? It is unlikely we’ll know the answer to any of these questions any time soon. I don’t think the cable company would allow a male to female crossdresser to be dressed en femme while on duty. I’m guessing that would be grounds for termination of employment. But… our cable gal looked just like a guy! She wore a loose fitting t-shirt, baggy guy-jeans, short cropped hair, no makeup whatsoever, she walked like a guy, etc. If I had seen her out in public and never heard her speak, she would have appeared to be just another guy.
One argument is that it’s not considered crossdressing when a woman presents herself in a masculine form. It’s probably not even considered “masculine” by most, so much as it is simply functional attire. Who says women need to dress feminine or wear makeup? Well, I don’t. I honestly don’t care how she was dressed. I DO care that I’m not allowed to dress how I’m comfortable dressing without people laughing at, ridiculing, or even wanting to cause harm to me for doing so.
Let’s ponder a similar house call being made in the 1950’s. TV repair instead of cable, as cable was not yet around. How would this have played out if all other elements were the same? A female, who was predominately male in appearance, shows up at a house to fix a TV. To find out about how this might have played out, I did some research.
Both my parents were kids in the 1950’s, so I spoke to each separately about it (omitting the part about the woman looking masculine). They both agreed that it would have been highly unusual to see a woman show up to repair anything in that time period because women were typically only employed as factory workers, nurses, teachers, and secretaries. Both parents said the repair woman would have been allowed in the house to take care of the job, though eyebrows would have been raised. They agreed it would have definitely been something spoken about to others after the fact because it would have been a very odd, highly usual situation worthy of sharing. Again – this is just a woman showing up to repair a TV in the 1950’s and yet that alone was considered highly unusual at the time. What was highly unusual back then is perfectly normal now.
I went more in depth with my mother asking: what if the TV still didn’t work when the repair woman was finished? My mother indicated that her father (my grandfather) would have believed it was because they sent a woman to do the job and women were not seen as competent with such things. In other words, grandpa in the 1950’s would have considered the woman to have not been smart enough to fix the TV because she’s only a girl. If a man was not able to fix the TV, then the TV was simply not repairable. This was a perfectly normal and widely accepted way of thinking in the 1950’s. It would be considered an outrage today to entertain the notion of a woman not being smart enough to fix [whatever] simply because she’s a woman (and not a man).
I also asked my mother about the woman appearing a bit on the scruffy side, but stopped short of asking if she looked male in appearance. She said women simply did not look scruffy back then. I asked her to ponder the hypothetical situation of a repair woman showing up at the house to fix the TV, her uniform is that of a mans, her hair is not neatly combed, and her hands and face are somewhat gritty from previous house calls. She explained that grandpa would not have let an unclean or not-neatly dressed woman into the house back then, and then reiterated that women simply did not go out in public not properly dressed, neat and clean in the 1950’s.
Although not a perfect then and now comparison, it was interesting to learn about. I think it is safe to say that had a repair woman looked male in appearance in the 1950’s, she may not have been allowed in many homes. I also think this hypothetical situation is probably just too unlikely for anyone (that I have access to) to offer better answers.
Obviously women have come a long way in what is considered normal for them to do as a profession, and in what is normal in regard to their personal appearance. If a woman shows no signs of femininity today, it is something that most people won’t give a second thought about.
Men on the other hand, have made no progress whatsoever. It’s all masculinity, all the time, or else. Or else what? I think we all know the answer to that: “A man has to be a man. Otherwise something is wrong with him.” I was often made fun of for not being masculine enough when growing up. I’m a man. I’m equipped as a man, physically, and I can do anything any other man can do, more or less. Actually, I can do more. I can walk very comfortably in high heels and look great in lipstick, just to name a couple. Of course, that is where most other men have a problem with me and many will tell you that I’m no man at all if I dress like a woman. I beg to differ, but that is the sad state of things today. We’re still stuck in the 1950’s when it comes to transgender issues.
How much longer will the 1950’s attitude toward crossdressers continue? I know that in time, society will grow up and be better educated on these realities. I’m not certain if the change will come soon enough for me to enjoy much benefit from it but I’ll do what I can to make a difference. There are plenty of people who will stand in the way of change and do their best to prevent it or at least slow it down. It is important that there are also plenty of people willing to fight for change and take the time to help educate the public about the realities of crossdressing. I pray that this website and my writing is at least a little useful in that regard.