“Ugh what next manpons[?]” asks Facebook user Ricky Brown in the comments section of a post about rompers for men. Get it? Tampons are for women, so the term “manpons” is funny because it degrades men by equating them with women, who are obviously worth less than men. Barf.
The RompHim fashion line became a big topic on social media recently when they posted about their new line of rompers for men. A romper, for those who are unfamiliar with this joyful clothing item, is a one-piece garment that looks like a shirt and a pair of shorts stuck together.
A lot of people agree with Brown, saying rompers are girly, and thus should not be worn by guys. But a good chunk of the internet is all for dudes wearing rompers.
In case you can’t tell, I’m on team man romper.
I think that man rompers represent one of the next critical steps in feminism — giving men more freedom.
Feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says, “We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.”
Feminists have worked hard so women's rights now include voting, wearing pants, working in a variety of fields and serving in the military. More work still needs to be done on that front. But we also need to fight for men’s rights. Not legal rights per se, but changes in social norms.
The video on man rompers mentioned earlier also had the comment, “If I catch any of my male friends wearing a romper, they will be pummeled severely” from Michael Zeno.
We have strict rules about what men cannot do, and the reason we generally say they can’t do something is because it puts them in the category of either fag or pussy — because being gay or like a woman is somehow undesirable. And the punishment for being a fag or a pussy can include being “pummeled severely,” or other forms of violence.
Adichie says that by compelling men to be tough, we weaken them. When we define masculinity narrowly and socially police it, we make men’s egos fragile.
Does a man make less money than his wife? He’s not a real man.
Is that guy a stay at home dad? He’s so whipped.
A man is talking about his feelings? Unacceptable.
Being caged like this sucks for men. And it’s no good for women either. Because women are expected to protect those frail male egos. Who picks up the slack when a man doesn’t do something because it is considered unmanly? Women.
Most people don’t really like doing housework, but because it’s seen as feminine, it often falls to females. In many heterosexual relationships today, both partners work equally hard at their job -- paid or unpaid such as raising children. But other work needs to be done, and often that falls on the woman because cooking, folding laundry, dusting, etc. is emasculating.
Adichie explains the lengths women go to protect fragile male egos by writing about a woman who didn’t want to scare off male suitors so she sold her house. She didn’t want to put a man in a situation where he felt unmanly.
It seems that if we free men from their metaphorical cages, we not only open up a new world of possibilities for them, but we do the same for women.
Men who wear rompers are pushing at the boundaries of what is socially acceptable. They may be chastised by some for embracing a garment considered feminine. But these men are fighting to get out of their cages, and that takes strength.
As an American woman, I can wear pretty much whatever I want, including pants, which used to be a big no-no for ladies. I can also dress comfortably in the summer and still look professional. If I’m rocking a skirt, fitted t-shirt and open toed shoes at work and my male colleague is sweating it out in a long-sleeved button up, a pair of pants and closed-toe shoes, it’s pretty clear who is getting the short end of the stick.
Let them wear rompers! This whole thing where dudes need to be tough, so women end up working harder — I’m over it.