Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of “trends men hate” articles. Between the fashion blogosphere and larger style websites, posts that begin with some variation of “I talked to my boyfriend, and this is what he said he doesn’t like me wear” have been popping up faster than you can say the-demise-of-feminism. And, frankly, as a fashion blogger, I’m sick of it.
According to the 1950’s mentality presented in these articles, we ladies get up in the morning, peruse our closets, and think, Hm, what would please the opposite sex the most today? (That is, presumably, right before we go downstairs, clean the entire house, realize we’re the inferior sex, and make our boyfriends a sandwich.)
Apparently, we should probably just cut to the chase and be naked all the time, because the list of man-unfriendly clothes, accessories, and makeup tends to include just about everything -— and isn’t necessarily limited to the baggy or loose clothing you might think.
But there is a common thread on these lists: anything that’s interpreted as even a slightly different or bold (bright lipstick, hats, high-waisted pants) tends to be flagged as man-unfriendly. (Read: women dressing for themselves, and looking fierce doing it.)
Ironically, many of the prominent websites that have featured articles along these lines also tend to talk a whole lot about how women can acquire more confidence. Many even publish articles specifically geared towards empowering women.
While their authors might deny it, what these trends-men-hate articles are really implying is, “pssttt, stop wearing that, because your boyfriend thinks it makes you look weird and/or frumpy.” Or worse, “this is why you don’t have a boyfriend in the first place.” One such article on Yahoo, entitled “Summer Fashion Trends that Turn Guys Off,” actually prefaces its slideshow of man-hated summer trends by clarifying that it’s totally, 100 percent ok if your goal isn’t to dress to please men.
But that tiny section of print is quickly undermined by an entire slideshow featuring quotes from men on the specific trends they hate. We women may be welcome to wear a romper, but somehow you printing that Chris from Florida thinks they make us look like we “have a load in our pants” makes me a little less likely to truly enjoy said outfit.
Another especially eloquent man in the same Yahoo article chimes in with his thoughts on high-waisted, retro swimsuits, advising that “bikinis shouldn’t come with a control-top.”
Oh really, Dan? Please, tell me more about what bikinis should and shouldn’t do.
Even the Huffington Post recently published “23 Trends Guys Hate (But Women) Love” to an understandably-irritated response from its female readers. That piece included gems like the fact that one guy thinks bright lipstick looks like “hooker red lipstick.”
Pantsuits also made that HuffPo list, paired with a quote from a man who said, “men’s business suits … you’re a woman, not a man.”
What year is this again?
As a woman who enjoys wearing bright red lipstick, high-waisted bikinis, oversized fedoras, and basically every other trend that men (apparently) loathe, these articles only further motivate me to wear exactly what it is I truly want to wear. After all, that’s what makes me feel good — a man’s approval is certainly never going to give me the same boost of confidence as putting on my own favorite shade of fierce red lipstick does.
It’s called having style.
This article originally appeared on Bustle.