Keywords:Dress, femininity, psychoanalysis, Deleuze, queer theory
Dresses and skirts are emblematic of a feminine style and also of women’s subordination to men. But the fashion these days for what is erroneously called gender-neutral or unisex clothing is neither a sign of progress nor of victory of feminists against patriarchy. For while in protest of their physical and symbolic impositions women were abandoning feminine affect and apparel, without the political motive and under no pressure to do likewise, men enacted no equivalent abandonment of masculinity. With femininity subtracted out, the style men are habituated to wearing became gender neutral by default and nothing was or is sacrificed by men to achieve it. The process of becoming a man is an aversion therapy in anything held as feminine. This article centres on what I call a ‘feminine praxis’, a practice of thought and action with the aim of ending masculine domination. The idea, and what it entails, is unpacked through a range of theoretical sources and interventions germane to the topic, including Marxist, feminist, and queer theory.