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As if RompHim wasn’t enough, there’s a new clothing line for men who feel too insecure to just wear whatever they feel like. Hologram City is selling lace shirts and shorts designed specifically for, you guessed it, men.
The L.A.-based clothing brand’s idea is straightforward: Market lace clothing to men so men can put on lace without feeling like their masculinity is being challenged. With see-through fabric that lets bystanders take a peek at guys’ lower regions, men can put down around $30 to $50 for everything from lace shorts to lace-collar shirts. Because apparently, it’s too much to ask men to wear the same lace clothing that women regularly put on, but it’s not too much to make the focus of that clothing a man’s bulge.
Let’s, for a second, be fair to Hologram City. Lace is traditionally gendered as a “women’s clothing fabric,” so it is nice to see men get their own lace treatment. That’s good.
But these “for men” clothing lines aren’t trying to challenge the way people think about gender. Just look at the RompHim. As if men needed an excuse to go out and buy a romper. Why not just buy one in your size that already exists? Why the need to distinguish it as male and call it a “Him”?
Hologram City’s models aren’t exactly pushing out a femme image, either. Most of them are buff, muscular dudes. They’re much more likely to brag about reading Infinite Jest than, say, praise transgender fiction. Hologram’s message is pretty clear: Men can wear lace and still look hip, masculine, and powerful. That image really isn’t doing much for breaking down gender roles in clothing, now is it?
The fashion industry needs to stop trying to make “feminine-but-masculine” clothes a thing, as if men aren’t allowed to simply wander into the women’s section and start trying things on. Let men be as femme as they want to be, just as women should be allowed to dress in masculine clothing if they choose to.
As it is, men are forced into a very tight binary when it comes to clothes. They should feel free to try out dresses, tights, spandex. No one should be only stuck with the option of full-fabric pants. Let’s give men some room to breathe.
But not too much. Then that would be manspreading and nobody wants that.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.