Amanda Pendolino
May 21, 2013

Hey, Men: We Don’t Do Everything Just For You

In his 2003 book Women In Trousers: A Rear View (which was re-examined by The Guardian last week), businessman and author Demetri Marchessini wrote that women shouldn’t wear pants because it’s hostile to men.

The Huffington Post points out the six most ridiculous quotes from his book:

  • “Everyone has the obligation to look as attractive as possible. It pains me to see women looking terrible.”
  • “Walk along any street and you see women using trousers like a uniform every single day. This is hostile behaviour. They are deliberately dressing in a way that is opposite to what men would like. It is behaviour that flies against common sense, and also flies against the normal human desire to please.”
  • “[B]ecause women cannot see themselves from the rear, the vast majority of women are unaware that trousers are very unflattering to them. Trousers are made for men’s bodies, which are mostly straight up and down.”
  • “Countless women who would look lovely in dresses or skirts are embarrassingly unattractive in trousers.”
  • “The more women dress like men, the less they are attractive to men.”
  • “Women know that men don’t like trousers, yet they deliberately wear them.”

What enrages me most about this is that it asserts that all women should care about is attracting men. Don’t wear jeans because a man might not think you’re hot! Don’t choose comfort or practicality because a man might not want to bang you!

What about what WE like?

As I was reading getting outraged by Marchessini’s suggestions, I was reminded of comedian Jim Gaffigan’s controversial tweet from earlier this month:

Now, Gaffigan’s tweet doesn’t offend me the way Marchessini’s comments do, but it makes the same assertion: women shouldn’t make an aesthetic choice that men don’t like or notice. You might argue that your boyfriend or husband does notice your nails (I’ve dated two guys who always commented on them), but that’s not the point. The point is that women like getting their nails done because we like the look of colorful nails. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, MEN. The process of getting a manicure makes us feel pampered (which Gaffigan does seem to realize), and the finished product makes us feel pretty and polished. Maybe we just want to feel good about ourselves. God forbid we make a choice that’s not intended to snag a husband!

Exhibit 3: Haircuts. “Don’t get it too short,” my ex would always say before I went to get my hair cut. When I repeated his comments to my stylist, he groaned: “Ohhh, a straight man only liking long hair. SO original.” Studies have shown that guys do prefer long hair on women. SO WHAT? Maybe I’m not cutting my hair for you.

We all want to be attractive, and I’m not suggesting otherwise. It’s not like I put together rebelliously ugly outfits hoping that my date will spit out his craft beer when he beholds my monstrous visage. I guess what gets me most upset about all this is that I know most men aren’t constantly agonizing over how women will react to their physical choices. Somehow, women are expected to cater to male desires, while men are free to do whatever they want. Yes, there are some women who complain about beards or cargo shorts or whatever, and men shouldn’t feel boxed in by what women want, either. But there’s a double-standard at play here — and I just want men to stop frowning at us and saying, “guys don’t like that.”

In the words of Amy Poehler: “I don’t f—ing care if you like it.”