A couple of years ago I tried examining the question from a wife’s point-of-view and wrote:
Why Females Dislike Cross-dressing
Many male cross-dressers complain that females dislike their cross-dressing and that the males do not understand why that is so especially as, in their opinion, females cross-dress all of the time. Besides, they whine, who is being harmed? Why should they not be allowed to live their lives as they wish?
They miss the point.
Many females, most in fact, do not find it attractive being partners in a marriage or in a bed with a feminine personality. Many find it objectionable and particularly object to being forced into such a partnership on the basis of the cross-dresser’s ‘human’ or ‘equal rights’. Where are the rights of the wife to have and to anticipate the fulfillment of her expectations of a masculine-feminine partnership rather than a feminine-feminine liaison?
Many females feel the need to have a partner who is wholly masculine and fills the traditional roles usually categorized under masculinity. This need is as powerful or even more powerful than a male’s need to cross-dress. This confliction is often irreconcilable and can lead to rancorous and bitter separations. If a female wanted a girlfriend, they would choose a female, not a cross-dresser. If a female wanted a feminine lover they would choose a female, not a cross-dresser.
Consider the alternative. Would a male cross-dresser be necessarily happy in a permanent relationship when the other person was often, even invariably masculine? I suspect that for a male gynecophile this would be problematic. It is also problematic for a Gender Invariant, androphilic female to have a feminine partner.
Cross-dressers often take the stance that females cross-dress all of the time. In the past, perhaps, this may have had some relevance but only on the basis of artificial, social expectations. Being feminine is hard work. Also, athenasing to be feminine is highly inconvenient in many facets of daily life. So-called ‘male’ clothing is usually simply the most practical wear for many activities. Females have fought against significant resistance for the right to participate in those activities as people (not ‘just females’) and to dress appropriately when doing so. They have also altered (and have been ‘required’ or socially directed to do so) ‘male’ clothing to achieve a certain degree of femininity. Males, on the other hand, have not fought for their own liberation from the requirements of being ‘men’. They have not earned the basic rights, including the freedoms to be feminine to engage in ‘feminine’ activities and to wear ‘female’ clothes. It is not the fault of females that males have been cowards and failed to seize their own freedom. Males fear the loss of the ‘male prerogative’. To say that a female cross-dresses (with the exception of specific FtM cross-dressers seeking to be explicitly masculine or androgynous) can be insulting.
Another complaint is that females are jealous because males can be prettier than them. While, in my opinion, many males are prettier en femme than they are when masculine and while some females are decidedly unattractive, in general females often have innate advantages when appearing feminine. Also, those who make such complaints sometimes have a rather strange concept of what is beautiful in a woman and tend to present overly stereotypical stylizations of femininity. There is also the assumption on the part of males that females are necessarily jealous of the beauty of other females. While females may wish to emulate that beauty, jealousy is rarely a factor. Again, the supposition that a female would find a feminized male attractive, and therefore would be envious of her appearance, is somewhat insulting.
There are also the religious and moral factors. In general cross-dressing is looked upon by some religions as a sin and by the moral ambience of most societies as a form of perversion, deviance and antisocial behaviour. It is unfortunate that some obvious cross-dressers out in public tend to reinforce those conclusions. If a female is religious then her religion is a significant part of her life. Even if she is tolerant herself she cannot help but be concerned about the reactions of her co-religionists. If a female objects on religious and/or moral grounds then the degree of irreconcilable differences is greatly increased.
There is the difficulty of living in a social milieu in which a female’s social position may become untenable. If cross-dressing is generally castigated in her society then the reaction of relatives, friends, neighbours, coworkers, etc., will be a matter of concern. Even when she might be understanding and accepting of her loved one’s behaviour there cannot but be fears about the degree to which the quality of her life might be affected.
There is the element of trust. If after 30-years of marriage her partner reveals that he has been cross-dressing all of that time and has kept it a secret, then what other secrets are there? This can be a severe blow to a relationship particularly from a wife’s point-of-view. The marriage vows are important to a female for a reason. They desire that commitment to fulfill their need for security. A breach of trust this great can be shattering.
To have their trust and sense of security destroyed, their social position and family structure imperiled and then to have their sensibilities and beliefs insulted is somewhat difficult for anyone to bear with equanimity. Sometimes the reaction can be one of intense (perhaps overly so) hostility.
On the other hand, the sensibilities of a society that castigates something as innocuous as wishing to be attractive and feminine by one sex while simultaneously placing pressure on the other sex to be as attractive and feminine as possible is seriously flawed as to its perceptions and values. If MtF cross-dressing was integrated into social conventions as a recognizable, even admirable, behaviour then both MtF cross-dressers and those they love would have fewer difficulties about the matter. There are, after all, far more reprehensible behaviours that were and are accepted, admired and even expected.
To say that MtF cross-dressing is wrong is to stigmatize being feminine and beautiful, indicating inferiority, and that attitude is sexist. Nevertheless, as things stand now, cross-dressers have a moral responsibility to consider the feelings and beliefs of those near them.
It is here that we have the problem concerning any attempt at creating a non-gender or genderless society. People want to be androgynous, feminine or masculine and some people want to vary between genders. This is not going away. People generally prefer a partner of a specific, non-variant gender and also of a specific sex. This is not going away either. The desired gender is often seen in terms of being consistent with the desired sex and it is likely that this will be the case for a long time. A genderless society will simply increase discomfort, frustration, anger and conflict. Working towards a free-gender society will allow people to more openly and with greater inclusion and approval express their desires. It will also allow us to chose a partner whose gender meets our expectations rather than coming as a bit of a shock later on.