At the time I posted a comment, which I'm also including below:
Good article here. I’ve been wearing hose or tights for about 10 years or so—primarily for improved leg circulation, but along the way have found them to have other benefits as well. There've been dozens and dozens of articles on the rise of men's pantyhose over the past 8 or 9 years, but not too many of them scratch below the surface of the issue like you've done here. Haven’t yet read all the posts, so I hope I’m not duplicating with this one.
I've posted quite a few blog entries or comments asking the question of why there's such a disparity between the way 'cross-dressing' is treated when it's a man versus a woman who's doing the crossing over. For instance, everyone thinks its ‘cute’ or sexy when a woman wears a man’s shirt or boxer briefs—or if she’s wearing a necktie or power suit, she’s not typically ridiculed for it. But, let a man wear something that’s in the least bit associated with ‘feminine’ and he’s laughed at, ridiculed, and treated with so much disdain and scorn as to make most any guy afraid to so much as pick up a piece of women’s underwear for any reason at all. (Ever watch one of us guys sorting laundry when we get to our lady's underthings?)
So, you’ve got to ask yourself, why the difference? It seems that maybe the idea of a woman wearing men’s wear is seen as ‘reaching up’ to take on the air of the ‘superior gender’—while a guy wearing something associated with women’s wear (in this case, pantyhose) the negative reaction makes it seem as though he is ‘lowering himself’ to the level of the inferior sex. Mind you, I don’t subscribe to that notion—just making the observation. And, like you asked at the end of the article, why is it that the wives and girlfriends of those men who aren’t afraid to wear hose more disturbed by it than the men? Is there a certain inferiority complex ingrained in the women that makes them do that? Or, is it just recognition that society makes that judgment on the relative merit of male vs female, and they don’t want to risk their guy getting degraded?
While many guys will take a ‘live and let live’ attitude towards men’s pantyhose, it’s interesting to note that the guys who DO get really stoked about it (‘he oughta have is a** kicked…’) in the various blog comments sound like the ones who are most likely to consider women to be an inferior species. I do value the differences between the sexes, and believe that men should be men and women should be women—just as God intended us to be. However, I don’t agree that pantyhose (other than maybe the name) should be considered to be an inherently female garment. I also don’t believe that anyone should consider male or female to be superior to the other. Different does not equate to better/worse. Men and women each have their own gifts and burdens and those should be embraced. But, wearing pantyhose does not make a difference if you like wearing them.
What do you think about this? Is the disparity between how men and women wearing clothing items traditionally associated with the opposite sex a little window on the relative 'value' society places on the other?