Joy of unisex: the rise of gender-neutral clothing

Lately I’ve been seeing a bunch of macho men wearing “Tactical Kilts”, meaning kilts with lots of pockets.  I’d wear skirts more if they actually had useful pockets.  But casual clothes like parkas, sweats, shorts, t-shirts, flannel shirts, the stuff hippies and a lot of lesbians wear has tended towards the androgynous.

A lot of clothing takes on its gender from the wearer.

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/04/joy-unisex-gender-neutral-clothing-john-lewis

John Lewis’s decision to stop dividing children’s clothes by gender has sparked anger and delight. But it’s not just childrenswear that is increasingly non-binary – there’s a sartorial revolution for adults, too


Monday 4 September 2017

Is John Lewis at the frontline of modern gender politics? It has never seemed so before, but judging by the reaction to the department store’s announcement last week that its own-brand children’s clothes will no longer be divided by gender, some people clearly see the retailer as radical. There will now be no separate sections in the stores, nor such binary labels on the clothes themselves; instead, the labels will read “girls and boys” or “boys and girls”.

The conversation over whether clothing should be more gender-neutral does not just apply to childrenswear – over the past decade there has also been a marked rise in gender-neutral clothing for adults. Some high-end designers such as JW Anderson, Rick Owens and Rad Hourani have championed gender-neutral clothing, while a raft of smaller companies run by young designers, such as Rich Mnisi, are pushing the idea that men’s and women’s clothes should be obsolete categories. This approach has also filtered down to the high street – H&M and Zara have both created non-gendered ranges.

The British designer Katharine Hamnett has a long history of exploring non-gender-specific clothing, and her newly reissued collection features unisex shirts, sweatshirts and silk all-in-one suits. She says that, in the past, when women stepped on to more traditionally male sartorial territory – wearing military-inspired clothing, for instance – this “was about appropriating male power”. Now, she says, a move towards equality means women “may be feeling more comfortable with themselves”; in other words, they may have the freedom to wear what they like. (It is still far less common for men to seek out traditionally female clothing.)

Chloe Crowe, brand manager for Bethnals, a London-based unisex denim brand, says that when they have run pop-up shops, men and women in couples have come in and bought jeans that they can share. The company was launched in 2014 by Melissa Clement, a former senior denim buyer for Topshop, who borrowed her partner’s clothes a lot and wondered why men’s and women’s categories had to be different. The core styles of her brand – skinny, straight and relaxed – are cut the same for men and women. “It’s just clever pattern cutting,” says Crowe. “With denim, it can vary so much depending on your body shape. One woman is not going to [fit in] the same pair of jeans as another woman. I think it makes things a lot more simplistic, and it’s about the style and design rather than your sex.”

The growth of the brand follows more awareness and discussion around gender fluidity and what it means to reject the male/female binary. A study for the Fawcett Society last year found that 68% of young people believe gender is non-binary. “When Bethnals lauched, there wasn’t a lot [about gender],” says Crowe. “More brands have released gender-neutral clothing. It has filtered its way to the mass market. There seems to be a huge demand for it.”

“You don’t look at food and say it’s going to be eaten by a man or a woman, so why should it be any different for clothes?” says Tanmay Saxena, founder and designer of LaneFortyfive. The clothing Saxena designs is mostly bespoke tailoring, including shirts and waistcoats; about 60% of his customers are women. The clothes are the same styles for men and women, in the same fabrics, and while the shirts and smocks are cut the same, only the fit for trousers is slightly different.

He has been working on the label for about three years, but formally launched it last year. “I couldn’t find clothes that suited my own style. The basic idea was I would make something that I can wear but at the same time, it has to be irrespective of gender. That idea was always in my head.”

Continue reading at:  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/04/joy-unisex-gender-neutral-clothing-john-lewis

How Did Trump Remember 9/11? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

Fascism, American Style

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/opinion/fascism-arpaio-pardon-trump.html


Aug. 28, 2017

As sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., Joe Arpaio engaged in blatant racial discrimination. His officers systematically targeted Latinos, often arresting them on spurious charges and at least sometimes beating them up when they questioned those charges. Read the report from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and prepare to be horrified.

Once Latinos were arrested, bad things happened to them. Many were sent to Tent City, which Arpaio himself proudly called a “concentration camp,” where they lived under brutal conditions, with temperatures inside the tents sometimes rising to 145 degrees.

And when he received court orders to stop these practices, he simply ignored them, which led to his eventual conviction — after decades in office — for contempt of court. But he had friends in high places, indeed in the highest of places. We now know that Donald Trump tried to get the Justice Department to drop the case against Arpaio, a clear case of attempted obstruction of justice. And when that ploy failed, Trump, who had already suggested that Arpaio was “convicted for doing his job,” pardoned him.

By the way, about “doing his job,” it turns out that Arpaio’s officers were too busy rounding up brown-skinned people and investigating President Barack Obama’s birth certificate to do other things, like investigate cases of sexually abused children. Priorities!

Let’s call things by their proper names here. Arpaio is, of course, a white supremacist. But he’s more than that. There’s a word for political regimes that round up members of minority groups and send them to concentration camps, while rejecting the rule of law: What Arpaio brought to Maricopa, and what the president of the United States has just endorsed, was fascism, American style.

So how did we get to this point?

Trump’s motives are easy to understand. For one thing, Arpaio, with his racism and authoritarianism, really is his kind of guy. For another, the pardon is a signal to those who might be tempted to make deals with the special investigator as the Russia probe closes in on the White House: Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/opinion/fascism-arpaio-pardon-trump.html

Trump’s DACA Decision is a Grim Turning Point | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

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Gays and Guns: The Rise of LGBTQ+ Gun Use in America

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Kate Millett, Influential Feminist Writer, Is Dead at 82

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/obituaries/kate-millett-influential-feminist-writer-is-dead-at-82.html?_r=1

Kate Millett, whose 1970 book, “Sexual Politics,” made her, as one writer put it, “the principal theoretician of the women’s liberation movement,” and who went on to be a leading voice on human rights, mental health issues and more, died on Wednesday in Paris. She was 82.

Her spouse, Sophie Keir, said the cause was cardiac arrest. Living in New York City, they had been going to Paris every year to celebrate their birthdays, she said.

Ms. Millett was in her mid-30s and a generally unknown sculptor when her doctoral dissertation at Columbia University, “Sexual Politics,” was published by Doubleday and Co. Her core premise was that the relationship between the sexes is political, with the definition of politics including, as she once said, “arrangements whereby one group of persons is controlled by another.”

“However muted its appearance may be,” Ms. Millett wrote, “sexual dominion obtains nevertheless as perhaps the most pervasive ideology of our culture and provides its most fundamental concept of power.”

The book became a central work of what is often called second-wave feminism, but being a star of the movement did not come naturally to Ms. Millett.

“Kate achieved great fame and celebrity, but she was never comfortable as a public figure,” Eleanor Pam, another leading feminist, said by email. “She was preternaturally shy. Still, she inspired generations of girls and women who read her words, heard her words and understood her words.”

Katherine Murray Millett was born on Sept. 14, 1934, in St. Paul. As a 1970 profile in The New York Times put it, “after a series of clashes in the local parochial schools over her rapidly dwindling belief in Roman Catholic doctrine,” Ms. Millett enrolled in the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1956, then went to Oxford.

After teaching briefly at the University of North Carolina, she pursued her art career in Japan and then New York, where she took a job at Barnard College teaching English literature. In 1965 she married the Japanese sculptor Fumio Yoshimura, but she rejected many traditional ideas of marriage and eventually came out as a lesbian. (The couple divorced in the 1980s.)

Her autobiographical work “Flying,” published in 1974, told of the dizzying fame “Sexual Politics” had brought and her reaction to it. “Sita,” in 1977, dealt with her sexuality.

Continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/obituaries/kate-millett-influential-feminist-writer-is-dead-at-82.html?_r=1

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Hey POTUS: Cutting DACA Won’t MAGA

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