What's in a Name

General discussion of skirt and kilt-based fashion for men, and stuff that goes with skirts and kilts.
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Stu
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What's in a Name

Post by Stu »

There have been several articles in the British press this week on school uniforms (the Daily Mail, the Times, Daily Telegraph) and a couple mentioned the incident in Edinburgh - boys wearing skirts. No - I am not going to get into that again. However, someone half-jokingly commented in one of the discussions that in Scotland, boys wear kilts anyway so it's no big deal. Another said they didn't wear kilts for school etc etc... then somebody else made a comment which made me think. She (I am sure it was a female) said that all they had to do was to rename school skirts as school kilts and show a few pics of boys wearing them while doing boyish things, like playing football or woodworking (reminded me of the Utilikilts ad!!) and suddenly these garments are completely unisex. I chewed over that for a day or two and wondered if there was any mileage in it. Think about it. A school decides not just to allow boys (by which they really mean boys who have gender issues or are trans girls) to dress as girls, but to replace the word "school skirt" with "school kilt", then do a bit of marketing with pictures as she had suggested and BINGO! These formerly girls' garments are now completely unisex because they are no longer skirts but kilts - even if they are actually skirts. Would it work? Two issues to consider on that. First, if that did work for summer, would the wearers consider moving to the next obvious step in the colder months and wear them with tights? Second, could the traditional summer cotton dresses be re-designated as "summer tunics"?

I am wondering how much the words "skirt" and "dress" contribute to the resistance by males to give these garments a try and whether re-naming them would make any difference.
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Re: What's in a Name

Post by howardfh »

Skilt?
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moonshadow
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Re: What's in a Name

Post by moonshadow »

While all kilts are skirts, not all skirts are kilts.

It is what it is.

If there are people who are so hung up on their masculine ego that they just can not bear the thought that a man might actually wear any other skirt other than "the kilt". Well, the loss is theirs.

I know I've flip flopped around on various issues over the years, but one sentiment about me that seems to have remained the same is that I have no interest in proselytizing men into skirts. I couldn't care less if I were the only man alive that wears them. Thus, I have no interest in redefining words in the interest of such an endeavor. If a man doesn't want to wear a skirt, that's his choice. Sometimes, I still wear a pair of pants or bibs just because I want to (and ironically, I now get the strange looks from Jenn and Amber when I do so... :lol: ).

Provided society leaves me alone to wear the clothes I wish when I want to, then I say, "to each his own".
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Re: What's in a Name

Post by denimini »

I dislike euphemisms unless they are humorous.
It is a shame that "going legless" has another connotation ....... or perhaps some might not discern when viewing a man wearing a skirt.
Anthony, a denim miniskirt wearer in Outback Australia
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Stu
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Re: What's in a Name

Post by Stu »

moonshadow wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 4:06 pm
I know I've flip flopped around on various issues over the years, but one sentiment about me that seems to have remained the same is that I have no interest in proselytizing men into skirts. I couldn't care less if I were the only man alive that wears them. Thus, I have no interest in redefining words in the interest of such an endeavor.
I am not advocating for proselytising men into skirts either, but I do feel strongly that this is a men's (and boys') rights issue. It would also benefit all of us as manufacturers would make garments expressly for men, they would be at competitive prices and available at local stores. Surely that's better than buying and wearing women's clothes? But OK, if this doesn't motivate you, that's fine. I would imagine it does motivate others on here - and I mean those of us who used to be referred to as the "Bravehearts" - those who want to see skirts as a genuinely masculine option rather than retaining their feminine association.

That said, my original comment was as much a thought experiment as anything and, as such, largely hypothetical. I was asking what role language plays in the perception of garments like "skirt" and "dress".
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Re: What's in a Name

Post by moonshadow »

Stu wrote:
Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:11 pm
moonshadow wrote:
Sat Nov 20, 2021 4:06 pm
I know I've flip flopped around on various issues over the years, but one sentiment about me that seems to have remained the same is that I have no interest in proselytizing men into skirts. I couldn't care less if I were the only man alive that wears them. Thus, I have no interest in redefining words in the interest of such an endeavor.
I am not advocating for proselytising men into skirts either, but I do feel strongly that this is a men's (and boys') rights issue. It would also benefit all of us as manufacturers would make garments expressly for men, they would be at competitive prices and available at local stores. Surely that's better than buying and wearing women's clothes? But OK, if this doesn't motivate you, that's fine. I would imagine it does motivate others on here - and I mean those of us who used to be referred to as the "Bravehearts" - those who want to see skirts as a genuinely masculine option rather than retaining their feminine association.

That said, my original comment was as much a thought experiment as anything and, as such, largely hypothetical. I was asking what role language plays in the perception of garments like "skirt" and "dress".
I understand what you're saying, but isn't calling a non kilted skirt a kilt misleading? I mean, it's either a kilt, or it's not. Why should it offend someone by calling an off the peg skirt... a skirt? That's what it is. I don't know if it's fragile male ago, masculinity, or what, but if there is a man out there who desires to wear a non-kilted skirt, but refuses to do so simply because it's not actually called "a kilt"... well, that's just ridiculous, and as for as I'm concerned, let him sweat it out in pants for the rest of his life then.

And for the other men who don't want to wear a skirt, they're NOT going to wear a skirt no matter what you call it. They might wear a kilt, but they're not going to wear a regular skirt. As a man, I'd feel somewhat insulted if some designer tried to put me in a common skirt by calling it a kilt and assuming I can't tell the difference.
I would imagine it does motivate others on here - and I mean those of us who used to be referred to as the "Bravehearts" - those who want to see skirts as a genuinely masculine option rather than retaining their feminine association.
Fine, then wear a kilt! I've always heard that calling common "non-kilt" skirts, kilts was offensive to "Bravehearts"... but maybe times have changed? I mean, back when I first started this, kilts were practically religion. I even heard commentary from Bravehearts that didn't even count kilts like the "Utilikilt" as an actual "kilt". How do you propose to sell these Bravehearts that an off the peg common skirt that may even vaguely resemble a kilt, that it is indeed a kilt?

Sorry Stu, I'm not trying to sound combative, but this "I want to wear a skirt, but I can't because it's called a skirt and I'm a man, and not a sissy" thing grates on my nerves.
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Re: What's in a Name

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Stu wrote:
Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:11 pm
Surely that's better than buying and wearing women's clothes? But OK, if this doesn't motivate you, that's fine. I would imagine it does motivate others on here - and I mean those of us who used to be referred to as the "Bravehearts" - those who want to see skirts as a genuinely masculine option rather than retaining their feminine association.
I'm probably wrong in my thinking, but women routinely shop from the mens aisle, and there is NO stigma associated with it. Endearing terms such as "tomboy" are often applied to such women, and it's accepted. If they push it too far they might be referred to as "butch". A man wears anything remotely "feminine" and they are a sissy, weirdo, etc... While I'm not about pushing boundaries as far as say, some on this forum, that is the double-standard I want erased. I feel as soon as that goes away we WILL see men's skirts as an option.
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Re: What's in a Name

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moonshadow wrote:
Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:21 pm
I understand what you're saying, but isn't calling a non kilted skirt a kilt misleading? I mean, it's either a kilt, or it's not. Why should it offend someone by calling an off the peg skirt... a skirt? That's what it is. I don't know if it's fragile male ago, masculinity, or what,
It's not so much a matter of ego as a of not wanting to expose one's masculinity to any kind of doubt. Men find that threatening but in part because women see it as emasculating and, as such, unattractive. I would argue that women are at least as much a part of the problem as men.

Yes, in semantic terms, we should call a skirt a skirt, but if we do, then we are making it taboo for all but the few hardly souls of the kind that inhabit these comments. Maybe calling it a kilt wouldn't work - because people wouldn't be fooled. Or maybe it would have some success, especially if it started with something like school uniform. After all, Utilikilts are not really kilts, are they? Not in the pure sense of the word at any rate. Sure, they have pleats and a wrapover style, but they would not be recognised by any traditional Scot as a part of the Highland dress that defines kilts. Remember, too, that women made a similar compromise some years ago. When trousers were rare on women, they tended to call them "slacks" at first, and now they think nothing of using the correct terms - pants (US) and trousers (UK).

I empathise with your experience when you say "I want to wear a skirt, but I can't because it's called a skirt and I'm a man, and not a sissy" thing grates on my nerves. But human nature says that males wearing traditionally female garb, especially skirts, is a powerful taboo which evokes strong feelings by both sexes. I am saying that perhaps some kind of interim stage, like calling them "kilts" when it comes to school uniforms, would help move the process along and there would be progress in male-skirt acceptance.
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Re: What's in a Name

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Stu wrote:
Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:11 pm
I am not advocating for proselytising men into skirts either, but I do feel strongly that this is a men's (and boys') rights issue. It would also benefit all of us as manufacturers would make garments expressly for men, they would be at competitive prices and available at local stores. Surely that's better than buying and wearing women's clothes? But OK, if this doesn't motivate you, that's fine. I would imagine it does motivate others on here - and I mean those of us who used to be referred to as the "Bravehearts" - those who want to see skirts as a genuinely masculine option rather than retaining their feminine association.
Well said Stu. I'm in agreement entirely. It's part of why I'm willing to pay with a lot more money for a garment that was made for men than something of the women's rack. Until they become common, the prices won't come down. And having it be a male-marketed item seems to make some people okay with it who wouldn't be otherwise.

As far as the men's right angle, it's what got me looking critically at feminism initially as a kid, and later got me looking into men's rights stuff as a young adult.
Stu wrote:
Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:11 pm
That said, my original comment was as much a thought experiment as anything and, as such, largely hypothetical. I was asking what role language plays in the perception of garments like "skirt" and "dress".
Language has a big influence, but I don't think clunky new terms or acronyms that no one understands (MUG, etc.) will help. The word "kilt" gets thrown around a lot for things that aren't technically kilts, but it seems to make some people comfortable with the idea of a man wearing a skirt. Call it a kilt, and they can handle it, even though it is just a repurposed women's skirt.
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Re: What's in a Name

Post by Sinned »

Sorry, Stu, but we are talking semantics here. Call it a skirt, a kilt, a towel or a table leg, it's just names. The garment is what it is, a tube of cloth worn around the waist, accessories, colours, length, pleats, shapes or whatever. Anyone whose ego or sense of perceived, maligned masculinity doesn't deserve to wear a skirt. Those even mildly against male skirt wearing are not going to be persuaded to wear a skirt no matter what you call it. Only those of intelligence possessing an open mind will question the dual standard, accept the logic an reasoning and try a skirt. Unfortunately those people are few an far between. I accepted that long, long ago just as I accept that there may be an incident or person that suddenly makes the male skirt fashionable. It just hasn't happened yet.
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Re: What's in a Name

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Stu wrote:
Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:38 pm
It's not so much a matter of ego as a of not wanting to expose one's masculinity to any kind of doubt. Men find that threatening but in part because women see it as emasculating and, as such, unattractive. I would argue that women are at least as much a part of the problem as men.
The flip side of this is that if we never open up enough to really feel he backlash then we shall never understand it, I'm admired by more than a few women for my sense of style (not that I've ever been able to convert that into any sort of romantic relationship!) It's the parenthetical comment that's going to cause most guys to shy away from anything "unusual" when it comes to attire.

I'm no longer looking to procreate (actually I never wanted to knowing the trajectory of the local "society") so that's not a concern. But it would be nice to find a good woman whom I could snuggle up with at night where we could ward off chill for each other from outside. I'm getting set to jettison this notion as well, sadly.

In terms of the kilt as a name, we might as well acknowledge the brand name and capitailse it. "The Kilt." Done. It's separate, distinct, and forever removed from the spectre of being called a "skirt" (even though it is -- sorry brand-masters). Names mean little in the modern world where women wear pants (trousers) all the time, and "leggings" the rest of the time. Open garments are sadly now a relic of the past, but historical precedent shows that men ought to have access to them as well as women.

See my comments comparing architectural styles to current "fashion".
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Re: What's in a Name

Post by Jim »

Yesterday while doing farm work I was wearing the skirt I pictured earlier when a fellow came by to help who has helped a few times before. He mentioned how I was wearing my "kilt" again. The meaning of words change. If a secondary meaning of "kilt" is coming to mean a man's or masculine skirt, that's OK with me.
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Re: What's in a Name

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If a garment is imported from a non-western culture, it might be sensible to call it by its original name. Examples: 1. Call a sarong a "sarong". 2. call a caftan a "caftan".
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Re: What's in a Name

Post by STEVIE »

Hi Guys
I am late to this little party, there appears to be some technical issue with the reply which I originally intended.
"Skilt" as a term appears to be a business name and may very well be protected by copyright.
Every kilt is indeed a skirt but not every skirt is a kilt. That is a discussion ad nauseum all by itself.
Finally, in 2019 a thread under the heading of "Breaking News in Ireland" appeared right here in the cafe.
St Brigid's Primary in Wicklow caused a local meltdown with it's, then proposed, gender neutral uniform policy.
At the time, one canny retailer simply re-tagged the skirt as a "kilt". I had a very brief look on the school site and a kilt option is there, no skirt. Obviously no specification as to gender either.
I must wonder what take up there may have been from the boys?
Personally I don't rightly care about the kilt or skirt nonsense either. There is way too much hype around the "Kilt" and I rather enjoy wearing a kilted skirt just as a token rude gesture.
As for any "manskirt", how much of the population could discern the difference or even care enough to be bothered?
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Re: What's in a Name

Post by Dust »

Jim wrote:
Mon Nov 22, 2021 2:33 am
The meaning of words change. If a secondary meaning of "kilt" is coming to mean a man's or masculine skirt, that's OK with me.
I think this may end up happening, just to get men over the hump, so to speak. Then we'll go back to calling them skirts, even on men.

I wonder if that's the deal with alternative terms for women's pants, words like "slacks." Women weren't supposed to wear "pants" or "trousers," so they just called it something else until most of society stopped freaking out about it.
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