Are Boyfriend Jeans Another Example Of Heterosexism Running Rampant?

Over at Broadsheet, Kate Harding is irritated by boyfriend jeans. Not because she thinks they’re unflattering or too expensive, but because of their “heterosexist” name. “Boyfriend” anything, really — shirts, sweaters, jackets — because the idea is that this oversized fashion item is like something straight out of your (male) boo’s closet. She writes:

Never mind if you’re a grown woman, not into men, already married, someone who can’t stand the cutesiness of the word “boyfriend,” all of the above, whatever. All female-type people want the world to know we have boyfriends! And that is best accomplished by wearing ill-fitting clothes with the sleeves and cuffs rolled up jauntily!

I get what she’s saying and I definitely agree that it’s kind of bizarro that retailers are now marketing boyfriend jeans to tweens and toddlers, but thinking like a business person, referring to these baggy, oversized items as “boyfriend”-esque is way savvier than the alternatives. Like the aforementioned “baggy” and “oversized,” as well as:

  • Ill-fitting Jeans
  • Relaxed Button-Down
  • Junk-in-the-Trunk Jeans
  • Bloated Jeans
  • Muffin Top-Covering Sweater
  • (Boy) Friend Jacket
  • Older, Slightly Overweight Brother Jeans
  • Slightly Butchier Partner Polo
  • Post-Thanksgiving Face-Stuffing Sweater
  • Dowdy, Misshapen, Diaper-Seated, etc.

Of course not all women who wear boyfriend jeans, sweaters, and blazers are straight or have boyfriends. In fact, I bought my lone pair of BF jeans when I was single AND my current BF hates them, so how’s that for irony? What if you called those items “oversized,” as Harding suggests, but they fit just right on the woman wearing them? Isn’t that kind of offensive too? [Salon: Broadsheet]

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