Following the news from Britain last week of a major London retailer introducing a line of men's hosiery--dubbed Mantihose by its maker, Unconditional--there has been a flood of media attention in the U.K. Much of it has taken a negative tone, with headlines blaring sentiments such as, "Men's Tights Are An Abomination" in the Daily Telegraph. It's unfortunate that the British press can't simply report on developments without trying to hard to shape public perceptions along the way. Toward that end, I published an article on The Examiner that will, hopefully, lend some balance to the vigorous debate that has erupted since last Thursday...
I'll leave Nylon Gene readers to read the full article themselves. However, I can muse here on the blog about the possible intentions of the media who are reporting on this across the Atlantic. It surely seems they have an interest in squashing the men's tights trend, as I've tried to point out in my article. The question arises as to, 'why?'
It's one thing to not be a fan of legwear, be you male or female. There are many women who hate wearing pantyhose, and if they do wear them it's only when absolutely necessary. Yet, there are at least as many who love to wear a quality pair of hose and appreciate the feel of them, as well as the practical benefits. Likewise, there's a good portion of American men who will never don a pair of tights, regardless of how many legitimate benefits can be shown. But, again, there is also a sizeable (and growing) segment who have discovered these benefits and have become diehard fans. If you're one of the former group, it shouldn't matter to you how many men might take up the tights trend. So why must so many in the press unfairly slant the playing field against men's legwear?
As I pointed out in the article, the choice to use pictures from the e-MANcipate site hints at their motives, and it's reinforced by dressing a reporter in shirt & tie, with leggings and a mini-kilt below the waist. What's up with that? We certainly support Chan Kraemer's work at e-MANcipate, but we also readily acknowledge that they are out there, 'on the edge' and not the sort of imagery that's destined to convert the average man-on-the-street to a favorable disposition without a good deal of time to become acccustomed to it. The news reports never even state whether these leggings are in fact the product being sold at Selfridge's in London, so we're left to wonder if they just pulled this outfit together from leftovers from the wardrobe department? Those in the know, such as myself, are certainly aware that the e-MANcipate photos have no relation whatsoever with the new Unconditional line--nor does the mini-kilt.
Taken together, these paint a picture of British manhood that is not very secure with itself. If this were not so, why would it seem so imperative to take down this new line of clothing, no matter what misleading images need be used? Men who are confident in their masculinity don't feel it necessary to hunt down and eliminate those that they deem don't illustrate their definition of traditional manhood. In fact, they are willing to wear new things without running about and getting 'permission' from others beforehand.
As we're constantly illustrating here on The Nylon Gene, men's legwear (sheer or otherwise) is a completely masculine garment if worn in conjunction with otherwise male attire. It's high time certain members of the press attempt to provide a more balanced perspective than they've done thus far. Until that time, it will be left to myself and those like me to continue to beat the drum for the thousands and thousands of men in all walks of life who simply want to take better care of their legs and don't want to be associated with 'prancing about' and so forth.