Oversexualization of crossdressing

Why is it perfectly fine for a girl to wear her boyfriend’s baggy sweater, but does the idea of a guy wearing a tight-fitting dress shock a lot of people? This question seems to pop up a lot when talking about crossdressing and, in my opinion, is quite an interesting one. I don’t know the answer myself, but being a crossdresser and being a member of several online communities regarding crossdressing, I do have some possible explanations. 

Although The Netherlands is probably one of the most liberal and open-minded countries in the world when it comes to gender roles and gender equality, being a crossdresser in The Netherlands means you’re subjected to quite a few taboo’s. But where do these taboo’s come from?
Let’s imagine a guy called Dave. Dave is a middle-aged man who has been single for most of his life. Dave likes going to pubs and has developed a beer belly as a result of that. Personal hygiene isn’t Dave’s strong suit and neither is his sense of fashion. Without the people surrounding him knowing it, Dave has a fetish for wearing latex skirts, rubber dresses and glossy heels.
During the many hours I spent in online communities about crossdressing, I met a lot of people like Dave. So much so, that I learned that the vast majority of people visiting these online communities are people like him. Although there’s nothing wrong with being like Dave, I don’t like to be called ‘Sweety’, ‘Dear’ or ‘Sexy’ by grown men wearing latex dresses and I don’t enjoy pictures of people like him wearing latex skirts with their junk hanging out, which is why I left most communities pretty quickly.
The sheer amount of people like Dave I met online, made me think that the taboo’s on crossdressing are a result of the oversexualization that crossdressing seems to be subjected to. When most people think about crossdressing, they don’t just think about a guy wearing a dress, they think about guys like Dave, guys with beer belly’s, wearing latex skirts and swinging their junk around whilst performing all sorts of sexual acts.
I think most people (unconsciously) think that everything that has to do with sex, is something to remain private and is not something that has to be shared with the rest of the world (I’m one of those people). I think that openly admitting that you’re a crossdresser or talking about crossdressing automatically puts the mental image of someone like Dave in people’s heads, which makes them think of sexual activities, which results in a taboo.

Maybe, just maybe, if people saw a guy wearing normal and decent female’s clothing (which means that in that situation, there’s no oversexualization of crossdressing) the mental image of stuff having to do with sex wouldn’t be put into their minds and there would be no taboo. It would kind of make sense, because if a girl is wearing normal guy’s clothing (meaning that there is no oversexualization) people don’t make a fuss either.

The ‘problem’ is however, that most man that crossdress publicly tend to be dragqueens or, in other words, people that cause the oversexualization of crossdressing. Elaborating on this, I think most people have no problem with the idea of a man falling in love with another man. I think the taboo that rests on gay people might be the result of the effect that hearing the word ‘gay’ makes people think of sexual acts (which might be a unwanted side-effect of the oversexualization of gay people that takes place during Gay-prides and Gay-parades, but that’s another topic altogether) which in its turn leads to the taboo.

I can’t stress enough that all the stuff I wrote above isn’t based on any research whatsoever. It just depicts my thoughts and ideas, which are a result of my personal experiences.
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4 comments

  1. Great post. I completely agree with these observations. My wife had a preconceived notion that it was all a sex thing, and has basically described “Dave” as what she thought cross dressers were.
    She doesn’t anymore though.

  2. Hi. I am, probably, what you would consider a “Dave”. I’m overweight, hairy, unattractive and like to wear overly sexualized women’s clothing. That said, I have never shared any images of myself so attired and I probably never will. It is because I recognize that my dressing is largely matter of sexual gratification. Posting pictures of myself dressed like this would be like posting pictures if myself using the bathroom; nobody wants to see that, it’s personal business best confined to privacy. I recognize that if I posted such images, I’d be doing a disservice to the advancement of acceptance of genderqueerness, and gender non-conformity. I think what needs to be recognized is that there is no “typical crossdresser”. there are as many reasons a guy wants to dress in heels and a skirt as there are pairs of shoes in the world. That said, there might be a distinguishable “line in the sand”, so to speak, between the fetishistic crossdresser and the larger, general crossdressing community. When I venture into various online CD communities, I often read accounts of many members who espouse a deep desire to embrace their feminine side, be the woman their inner spirit wishes to be, and capture the entirety of the womanly mystique but only so far as they can go back to their manly day jobs. I don’t feel that. I just like the way it feels, viscerally. It excites me. That’s it. I have no desire to go out on the town after spending hours applying makeup and consummately adopting a female alter ego. I just want a couple hours alone. Unfortunately, couple motivations like mine with a heaping dose of exhibitionist mindset, alpha-male swagger, and a “I don’t give a flying F” attitude, and the picture boards fill up with 1000 iterations of “Dave” letting it all hang out. The “Daves” aren’t wrong. They’re just being themselves and doing what they wish. But I’d agree with you that it is shocking to many, likely to be memorable and not memorable in a way that paints gender non-conformity in a comfortable light. It’s sort of like a flasher jumping out of the bushes in a park being the representative of the nudist enthusiasts.

    1. Hi.
      Thanks for your comment, it’s great to hear from someone who identifies as ‘Dave’! And I’m glad to say I completely agree with your comment.
      For good measures, I have to add that, although I agree that people like Dave are ”doing a disservice to the advancement of acceptance of genderqueerness, and gender non-conformity” as you put it, I don’t blame them for doing so. People like Dave have, for whatever reason that may be, the urge to express themselves the way they do. In my opinion, the internet is the best place for doing that, because the chance of ‘bothering’ people that rather not have anything to do with their habits is actually pretty small (most ‘regular’ people won’t visit the same sites they do). The problems I described in my post aren’t a result of people like Dave acting the way they do, but the result of the generalisation of their behaviour to all crossdressers, which is wrong because ”there are as many reasons a guy wants to dress in heels and a skirt as there are pairs of shoes in the world”.

  3. Hiya! Apparently, your thread was dropped from the forum, so I thought I’d share my thoughts here.

    I do agree with the fact if you were to count them all, the “Daves” would far outnumber the type of crossdressers that would typically dress to go out in the public, trying to pass, go shopping, etc.

    This is all personal experience when I came out to my friends.. but where I don’t agree, is that most people associate crossdressing with the “Daves”. I think they are far more likely to think of drag queens, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire. These things, of course, are just as incomplete.

    So, what I think is doing a disservice to the acceptance of transgenderism, crossdressers, genderfluidism (and whatever I may have forgotten) is the fact that young kids already in an early stage of their life learn that a “dude in a dress” is something funny, perhaps humiliating.. and considered a “step down” in the social ladder of a male-oriented society.

    My friends’ kids are used to me in both male and female clothing.. and they don’t care. As with most progress.. it’s all about education. 🙂

    My 0.02 €

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