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.
There are a lot of straw men in here that I feel compelled to knock down – I will try to be as gentle as I can, as it is the points, not the person making them, that I see issues with.
There is no whining involved, although points clearly are being missed. We harm no-one.
Cross dressing is not necessarily about introducing a new feminine personality.
This is a central straw man, so let’s knock it out of the park.
My wife goes to bed with the man/masculine personality she fell in love with and married.
The wife’s “rights” are maintained – although the wedding vows state for better or worse, not for more masculine (whatever that means – does it mean more hunting and cars, less housework?) or feminine – this was never part of the contract.
I am who I am. Your rights do not extend to diminishing mine.
If what I do or who I am upsets you so much over the years that you can’t take any more, you made the wrong choice, or you can’t understand the concept of for better or worse.
“Not earned the basic right to be feminine??”
This whole line of argument is riddled with whining. Like men have fewer rights because men have had everything.
This is a straw man the size of the Empire State building, and should be burnt!
We are all equal human beings with equal rights.
The opportunities for all are not equal. This, sadly, will never change. People in situations that offer slim opportunity pickings can rarely break through the traps. Those who can, should. Carpe diem.
This is not the fault of either gender, but certainly, at the root you may find some particularly noxious men, with masculine types of personality that ought to be extinct.
Maybe it shouldn’t be called cross dressing. Maybe it should be called wearing clothes I like and want to wear.
Now where is the argument against it? Where are the insults?
There are none.
I will fight for and earn my right to dress as I please.
I have earned it.
Wasn’t that silly?
If anyone feels insulted by how someone else is dressed, I quote a self help book I read a long time ago. “When you take offence, you give offence”.
Many Western folk seem to find burkas insulting, as well as nudity.
Some tribes, notably in the Amazon, still prefer nudity as their “uniform”, and in many countries, including the UK, public (Yes, public) nudity is not an offence – yet people get offended by it.
The police are advised not to get involved in cases of genuine Naturism. It’s in the online police library documentation, and the Court advice documentation.
Cross dressing is not offensive. There goes another straw man.
Religious factors – ah Deuteronomy again. Cross dressing, shellfish, pork, clothing not made of linen or wool – all abominations.
Rapists? Marry your victims. Build up a harem of abused women – who are second rate citizens.
Now that is offensive!
Moral arguments – there are none. Wearing clothes is not immoral. To say women’s clothing is solely the domain of women is both bigoted and sexist.
The social concern is reasonable to an extent, but only because people can be so very silly.
I guess it depends on how much importance you place on your social life above your own mental health and your relationship with the spouse you promised for better or worse.
Trust – well, again, the reasons for keeping this a secret with all the horrendous prejudice practiced against it must be obvious. If someone shares a secret like this, they are placing every last grain of trust in you. They have earned your trust to the nth degree.
Getting married doesn’t involve a rundown of every secret each partner has.
Keeping cross dressing a secret is very understandable – and it’s only a clothing preference – it’s not a betrayal of trust, let alone a really big betrayal!
No wedding vows state “Keep thee only to the clothing I dictate that thou shalt wear” – or anything approaching this sentiment.
There is no betrayal of trust.
Bang. Down falls another straw man.
Since at least the 1960s, people have fought for equilibrium between the sexes.
One famous near androgyne was David Bowie, back in the 1970s.
The gender benders of the 1980s had a huge impact on society.
The Western world has come a very long way, and the class of male entertainers who exaggerate the look of women has taken off via RuPaul’s drag race and such like.
FtM ladies from the past, like Ann Lister are having their secrets finally uncovered – women could be masculine and achieve things over 200 years ago.
It’s “society” which is at fault and requires correction, not individuals within it.
By being individuals, by expressing ourselves as fully as possible, we show others possibilities to become themselves, to realise more of their own potential by throwing off the imaginary manacles that tie them down.
Those who wish to cling to an outdated past, with crumbling foundations would be better advised to strengthen their own foundations, and build better lives.
And sometimes people need to be shown, not told, about better ways of being and becoming. Do we really want to be stereotyped clones?
Because becoming is more productive than being, standing out is better than hiding – opportunity doesn’t come to those who hide from it, and equality is about opportunity, not the current state.
Anyone can whine about their lot in life, cut out what they don’t like, or do something constructive to move forwards.
Love is the answer, whatever the question.
Inclusion is better than division.
I know this is long, and potentially controversial, but I felt compelled to respond this way, because I see dangerous ideas in the text I quoted – dangerous to mental health and even dangerous to society.
Should we all be clones, shut up and be content with what we have, or should we strive for better?
Whose better is better?
Should we shoot for our dreams or spend life in purgatory?
As a creative person, and dreamer, I know which way the wind is blowing me!
And I truly apologise for any offence I may cause – I do not mean to offend anyone, I only mean to relay the truths that I see.