If you were a girl I would love you even more is the title of a project by Maja Gunn, fashion- and costume designer and phd-student at the Swedish school of textiles in Borås. Focus of the project is men’s fear of being effeminized, an elaboration of gender identity through clothing. The man participating in the project was dressed in items he considered feminine, forcing him to challenge his own perceptions of what a heterosexual man should look like. In an article Gunn talks about the process the man went through; first reluctant to put on anything that Gunn suggested and even reacting physically when putting on something feminine by crouching his back and shivering in front of the mirror.
Gunn’s project makes visible the fear of wearing certain garments such as the skirt. I find Gunn’s project extremely interesting, since it questions cultural norms that are blindingly obvious to most. When laid on the table like this, it becomes almost too apparent. But for most of us, including myself, the everyday practice of getting dressed hides cultural practices of creating sex and gender. One might ask why last weeks protest by swedish male train drivers wearing skirts reached the global news… Read about Gunn’s project here and here!
Image: Högskolan Borås by Maja Gunn