Episode 649 - Gendered clothing

Aug 21, 2023

When you're drawing people in a webcomic one of the common ways to indicate gender is by outfits, but why are clothes gendered at all and is that a constant?

Topics and Show Notes

Gendered clothing clothing is influenced by many things like fashion, history, custom, occupation, class, culture, and religion, and much less so practicality or biology, contrary to popular belief. All these things have gendered components that have an influence on the clothes people wear and the way they present themselves. There are no constants in gendered clothing, the idea that men have short hair and wear trousers and women have long hair and wear dresses for example was thought to be a constant in the 20th century but that was utter nonsense since even IN the 20th century there were plenty of examples of people doing the opposite with mainstream styles all over the world, let alone all throughout history.

What we associate with “masculine styles” and “Feminine styles” are also a nonsense because that always changes and is different all over the world, it only applies here and now. People LOVE to rationalise based on current styles and pretend it applies more universally but that's just foolish to anyone who looks at world history. For example the current “masculine” style is for men to be drab, dull and modest in their styles, with clothes that are only dark, bulky and hide the shape of the form, but we know from little more than 150 years ago this was strikingly different, and 200, 250, and 300 years ago it was even more striking!

But we don't have to look that far back for an example! There's the modern myth of the “hair band”. The term is now used to describe flashy heavy rock bands from the 1980s in order to separate them from other musical styles and create the myth that they were unusual. While the truth is far more interesting: “hair band” was a term used at the time to describe British “New Wave” bands like Flock of Seagulls who mainly liked short hair with a long fringe over the eyes. In the 1980s Heavy Metal took over as one of the most popular commercial music styles and this was completely driven by bands that had flashy “glam” stage clothes (the name comes from 1970s glam rock, a different genre). Their popularity influenced all other rock bands. Contrary to modern belief, all rock bands dressed in flashy glam clothes, most especially every single heavy metal band, and all had long hair almost without exception. They were never “hair bands” because ALL metal bands looked like that. The modern myth is simply driven by our need to rationalise what we see now and somehow apply it to history.

We do the same thing when we look back at the long haired men with their high heels and gold capes from the past and question their sexuality, while characters like Buffalo Bill Cody who were the epitome of American masculinity commonly wore thigh high leather boots, leather outfits with fringes, long wavy hair, and a slouch hat! Women in the past have never been limited only to dresses and skirts, there have always been examples of them wearing trousers throughout history. Even gender neutral clothing is nothing at all new: a famous version was the proposed simple suit consisting of a black jacket and trousers for men and women just after the French revolution!

Ironically all of us in the Quackcast have designed our characters with heavily gendered outfits! How do you go with gendered fashions?

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme inspired by Eye Hand Voice - A miles high wall of sound that snakes over the landscape and reaches up to the heavens! Gunwallace builds this tune brick by brick till it blocks out the sun, it’s a mighty effort. Layered with scythe sounds and a driving beat

Topics and shownotes


Special thanks to -
- https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Soushiyo/
-For the addition of then new “other gender” part of our sign up forms.

Some inspiration from Tantz's newspost -
- https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/aug/18/gender-toxicity/

Featured comic:
Masks Comic -
- https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2023/aug/15/featured-comic-masks-comic/

Featured music:
Eye Hand Voice -
- https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Eye_Hand_Voice - by Kalamitycomics, rated M.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/

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