You’ve heard of “boyfriend” jeans. You might even have a pair like I do. Well, I have a problem with them. They’re not my boyfriend’s. They’re mine. I’m sick of how the clothing industry tells women they have to dress for the attention of men, I’m sick of women going along with it, and I’m sick of how it perpetuates the narcissism of men who believe their opinions on women’s fashion are relevant. And I’m annoyed that our culture can’t handle the thought of women getting dressed for themselves, which brings me back to the problem with “boyfriend” jeans—jeans that my boyfriend has never worn.
You see, in order for it to be socially acceptable for women to wear jeans that aren’t skin-tight, they apparently need an excuse, hence them being promoted as your boyfriend’s jeans. In case you don’t know its origin, this style is named after the concept of a girl who sleeps with a guy and then slips into his jeans the next morning because she doesn’t want to wear her clothes from the night before. I don’t have a problem with girls wearing their boyfriend’s jeans, but I do have a problem with a style of women’s jeans being labeled as “boyfriends” because of the message behind it—a subtle, but lethal ideology that says it’s only okay for a girl to wear loose-fitting jeans as long as her desirability has already been validated. Therefore, by insinuating that she just slept with a man, she has afforded herself the “right” to wear less flattering pants. The problem with the “boyfriend” jeans is that its very name sends a message to girls that their preference for comfort is not a sufficient reason to wear loose-fitting pants. Of course not, because God forbid we wear pants that aren’t for the male population. We’re expected to sexualize ourselves with the way we dress, and if we don’t, our sexuality will be questioned. Stores that sell “boyfriend” jeans know what they’re doing. They’re offering us a more comfortable option, but not without stamping it with a provocative name—a name that tells us we need an excuse to be comfortable when we don’t. For a second I was grateful for the “boyfriend” jean, but then I realized that it wasn’t about me at all—it was still about catering to men through me. The problem with the “boyfriend” jeans is that they make it about men by commodifying women’s sexuality and then sell it to women as something they think they need in order to gain the approval of a man. They’ve offered us something on the basis of misogyny by telling us that what we wear is ultimately about being validated by our ability to attract men. If a girl wears standard baggy pants that weren’t “boyfriends,” they’ll still call her a dyke. And if a girl actually wears jeans that belong to the guy she slept with the night before, they’ll still call her a slut. The clothing industry is still making it about men, but that doesn’t mean you have to.
Get dressed for yourself and don’t apologize for what you wear. All that matters is that you feel confident and comfortable in what you like. You don’t need permission to be sexy or to be comfortable, but whatever you choose, don’t give a second thought to what the male population has to say about it. And from now on, unless they’re actually your boyfriend’s jeans, stop calling them that.LB, From Her, To Her: The Problem with “Boyfriends” (via yesdarlingido)
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