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  1. #1
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    14th September 04
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    Image! & Self Honesty!

    This has been touched upon in other threads, but I do think it is a subject worthy of further consideration.

    However in a probably vain attempt to avoid lynching, I must commence by stating that I entirely support the idea of the kilt be it in a traditional format, or one of the newer variants being worn and accepted as normal day to day male attire.

    To start with the image, for most people the kilt is a specific form of dress worn by some soldiers-dancers-pipers, and possibly on occasion for weddings and such events as a Burns night. Their minds not being accustomed/trained to accept the kilt as a day to day garment: so all too often their reaction will be akin to the 'Superman-is it a bird?'.

    So I for one am not surprised when such an individual in their amazement sees my kilt as a skirt: the only answer to what might be seen as a problem will come as more and more men wear their kilts on a day to day basis, and so the wider populace becomes accustomed to the sight of such a garment, and so recognise it for what it is.

    By the same process many traditional kilt wearers, will when seeing some of the new variants-themselves not recognise them as a kilt: both in respect of their appearance and how they are worn. Not I must add being critical of such a garment being worn, but purely what they recognise it as being. To them it might just as well be a sarong or lava-lava, as a kilt.

    So I for one am neither surprised or concerned when people on occasion refer to my kilt as a skirt: for to me it is an entirely natural reaction to an unaccustomed sight.

    Now it is necessary to link the above to self honesty, and ask what is really going on: here I'd suggest that it is an acceptance by a growing number of men that a skirt like garment whatever we call it, offers great benefits to the wearer as a day to day garment. However for fear of being associated with a femine or maybe transvestite approach to life, we shelter under the banner of the kilt.

    This in turn leads to a certain fear of our nether garment of choice being termed a skirt, and an abreaction upon our part. As for fear of derision-scorn and accusations of cross dressing and the like we cling to the security blanket of claiming that our garment of choice is a kilt.

    This fear inhibits both our own activities and influences our responses, and also in a way miltates against a sensible way of male dressing.

    Rather I would suggest that we accept that the word skirt is in fact gender free-and can be seen as a blanket term for a variety of garments from the female say pencil skirt-through the male kilt, sarong, lava lava, dhoti, and fustanella. Or what about the edges of a coat which are rightly called skirts. Or I could mention the amed forces wear termed Frock and Blouse-names used by both the British and Americans!

    So rather than worry about what can be an entirely natural reaction by unknowing others, words even: it is up to us by wearing our garments of choice to accustom the wider world to the fact that they are in fact entirely right and proper male garments, and so win their universal acceptance. Just as women did in respect of trousers so many years ago.

    James

  2. #2
    Join Date
    7th April 05
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    These are all very good points James. I would add that it seems to be more acceptable to the general populace I you call it a kilt instead of a man's skirt. If they initially think it's just a skirt, thought of cross-dressing and the like start to flash through there minds. But once it's a kilt in their mind, the thought is "Oh! That's OK then!" Son I think that besides personal fears, its also societal expectations that guide our response.

  3. #3
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    28th March 04
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    I like your thinking, good work 8)

    Rob

  4. #4
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    2nd October 04
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    Gee, maybe that's why I've been noticing those colorful Navajo skirts and Hawaiian mumus in the stores lately.

    Anything that lets the boys swing free catches my eye these days...and I'm a grizzled old bird, not a cross dresser....but its only the "peacocky" prints that attract me.

    Can tell you there's a BIG difference between the reactions I get from wearing a contemporary kilt and the reactions I get from wearing a Macabi River Skirt....the later reactions are more wide eyed with the questions more stuttered...

    Ron
    Ol' Macdonald himself, a proud son of Skye and Cape Breton Island
    Lifetime Member STA. Two time winner of Utilikiltarian of the Month.
    "I'll have a kilt please, a nice hand sewn tartan, 16 ounce Strome. Oh, and a sporran on the side, with a strap please."

  5. #5
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    18th February 04
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    My wife has a friend who calls around once or twice a week. She, her husband and children are all great people and were all good friends. Up until about a twelve month she had never seen me in my kilt although she knew I had one until one day she called and I opened the door in it. When she came in she could'nt speak or say hello or anything because she was laughing so much. I said what is wrong .. she said, ' I'm not used to seeing you in a skirt'. I said quite loud but jokingly 'its not a skirt it is a kilt. Men only wear kilts'.
    'Ok' she said 'your kilt then ... but its still a skirt'.
    However since I have become much bolder in wearing my kilt, she has seen me dozens and dozens and dozens of times in it now (including her husband and children), even coming up to the shops with me on several occasions. She has just simply adjusted to it and is certainly not embarrassed by it either.
    Derek
    A Proud Welsh Cilt Wearer

  6. #6
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    29th April 04
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    I have a friend who sees me constantly while kilted. Says I look very masculine, no problems with saying anything but kilt. I was taken aback one time when out of the blue came the comment "Have you ever done cross dressing except for the kilt"?

    After I picked up my mouth from the ground said "no I never have and never will!"
    Glen McGuire

    A Life Lived in Fear, Is a Life Half Lived.

  7. #7
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    13th September 04
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek
    My wife has a friend who calls around once or twice a week. She, her husband and children are all great people and were all good friends. Up until about a twelve month she had never seen me in my kilt although she knew I had one until one day she called and I opened the door in it. When she came in she could'nt speak or say hello or anything because she was laughing so much. I said what is wrong .. she said, ' I'm not used to seeing you in a skirt'. I said quite loud but jokingly 'its not a skirt it is a kilt. Men only wear kilts'.
    'Ok' she said 'your kilt then ... but its still a skirt'.
    However since I have become much bolder in wearing my kilt, she has seen me dozens and dozens and dozens of times in it now (including her husband and children), even coming up to the shops with me on several occasions. She has just simply adjusted to it and is certainly not embarrassed by it either.
    Derek
    Great story and a good illustration of the point.

    She was surprised and caught off guard and blurted out what came into her head. She didn't mean to be nasty or hurtful, she just blurted. Now, twelvemonth later, the whole thing is a non-issue. There's nothing to be angry about, here.

    I think the work "skirt" escapes from peoples lips when they see a kilt for three basic reasons:

    1. shock, surprise, *stutter, stutter*...and the word that comes out is "skirt". Now, come on, there's no reason to be upset at someone who does this. Explain that it's a kilt, answer whatever questions they have, and in no time it'll probably be utterly unimportant.

    2. Those people who honestly don't know. Example: the Chinese programmer that I work with who insisted on calling it a skirt even after I explained it twice. Now, I know Qzingui reasonably well and she's not a malicious person. This was just something that was totally outside her experience.

    To get her educated I sent her an e-mail...she's one of those people who relates better to e-mail and IM better than to verbal communication. In the e-mail were links to about a dozen pictures of "manly men" in kilts. Sean Connery was one of them, and she knows about Sean Connory. There was a link to one of the Braveheart pages and a link to one of M.A.C. Newsomes pages on the history of the kilt. I wrote the word "kilt" about six times in the e-mail.

    She *got* it, and now she calls it a kilt. She pays hardly any attention to it anymore, anyway. Education....education in a manner which I knew would work for her made all the difference.

    3. Those who want to be hurtful or malicious. For them you have options of snappy comebacks, a kick in the groin, a cane in the kneecaps, or walking on by. I'd walk on by, seeing as the other actions require me to take time and effort an spend it on something which doesn't deserve it. I could be smashing a mosquito instead, or taking out the garbage, you know?

    Now, about whether a kilt is a skirt or not, I kind of think the whole thing is silly. Of course it's a skirt. It's a special sort of skirt, worn by men, with a whole lot of history behind it. I'm going to quote the article in "Threads" magazine by kiltmaker Ann Stewart. Ann wrote this to accompany the picture of a very bonnie lassie wearing a tam, white blouse and a Royal Stewart kilt in her article......"With its seven yards of pleats, a man's kilt is the ultimate pleated skirt - in Royal Stewart or any other tartan imagineable."

    If a kiltmaker with decades of experience can refer to a kilt as a skirt, I don't have a problem with it. BTW, she then goes on to explain the difference between a kilt and a kilt skirt. She also goes on to explain how to make a KILT, not just a kilt skirt, for a woman's figure.

    In fact, when I explain how a kilt is made, I always tell people what "We men make a big deal about how it's NOT A SKIRT, but honestly, that's just for publicity. It's a pleated skirt that overlaps in the front." I notice that when I do that, people still refer to it as a kilt and nobody yet has then decided that I'm loopy for wearing a skirt.

    Anyway, on a slightly different tack... My two first kilts were tartan. My third kilt was plain black. In other words **it wasn't tartan**!!! I did worry a little bit about how that was going to be received, but the answer was that a couple of people asked me "new kilt?" to which I replied "Yes, the black one used to be for formal occasions, but nowadays a lot of guys wear them just *around*. I see a lot of plain black kilts at the Highland Games. They're almost Goth wear these days." That was universally accepted and folks ignored it the rest of the time.

    Someday I'll make a kilt, or buy one from Steve at Freedom kilts, in Carhart Orange material. That's about as close as I'll get to a saffron kilt. It will be interesting to see how that goes over with the general public.

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