Why I'm Breaking Up With Pants
We need to have a talk about this relationship. I just don’t think it’s going to work out. I tried so hard to be the girl you wanted me to be, but I can’t do it anymore, and it’s not fair to either one of us to stay in such an unfulfilling relationship. So I’m leaving you...for dresses and skirts.
We’ve known each other for a while, which is what makes this breakup so hard. When I was younger, we didn’t really get along; I always chose dresses and skirts over you. They were so much more fun (no offense), and they made me feel like a real-life fairy princess.
As I grew up, people started to make different assumptions about me based on what I wore. Dresses and skirts became synonymous with domesticity, unintelligence, and a shallow personality. You were more neutral and accepted. And when I started to come to terms with my queer identity, it seemed as if you were the only acceptable option. There was this tiny little voice in the back of my head telling me that dresses and skirts were for some girls, but not for me.
But I’m done with that. I’m done with trying to fit into some preconceived societal ideal of a queer woman. I’m tired of denying my identity in order to be perceived as a more acceptable version of myself. Embracing who I am means letting go of you because you were holding me back from myself.
I’m breaking up with you because I want to challenge the societal assumptions about queer women. My identity as a queer woman has nothing to do with the way I present myself. How I look does not define who I am. There is no wrong way to be queer, and I am allowed to be with whoever I want without being questioned for it. Furthermore, “gay” shouldn’t be an insult, and “straight” shouldn’t be a compliment, and yet in our society people call things they don’t like “gay” and compliment queer people by saying that they look “straight”.
I’m breaking up with you because I should not have to dress a certain way to be taken seriously. The quality of my ideas does not diminish when I wear a miniskirt instead of a pantsuit. Skirts and dresses are often associated with femininity, which is often seen as weak (whoever came up with this ridiculous notion obviously felt threatened by the strength of women). There is nothing shameful about femininity, just like there is nothing shameful about masculinity.
You might ask me how I can be a feminist without you. How can I advocate for gender equality without you, the ultimate symbol of gender equality? I’ll tell you; the same way I did before, except this time I’ll be in a (more comfortable) dress. Like the rest of the feminist movement, the fight to wear pants was about choice. Just because I can be with you doesn’t mean I want to or should.
I know that this isn’t the most important issue in the world, and there are lots of other problems that are more pressing and merit more attention and action. But the issues surrounding femininity, masculinity, and queerness are indicative of a greater societal problem that shouldn’t be ignored.
Don’t worry; it’s not you, it’s the patriarchy.
By Julia Tallant, 18