Here’s an interesting question entered into a search engine that landed a visitor to my website: “Why do women get to wear tall boots and men can’t?”
There are a lot of interesting conversations all over the web on this topic, but I’ll share my own perspective.
Yes, women wear tall boots. It’s kinda funny that women took over “ownership” of tall boot-wearing back in the 1960s. In the days of the Civil War and all across the globe in the 1700s, 1800s, and through the mid 1950s, it was very common to see men wearing tall boots. Then when women began to wear boots as fashion statements in the 60s, men began to perceive that they couldn’t wear tall boots any more because, to them (especially in conservative areas), wearing tall boots was considered a sign of femininity. A man doing anything that was considered feminine became linked to being gay, due to the very inaccurate but pervasive social stereotyping that “feminine” = “gay.”
I am a man — a masculine man — and I could give a rat’s ass about other people’s perceptions. Those who know me as the man I am wouldn’t say that I behave femininely. Yes, I am gay, but I’m a guy. Period. Done. End-of-story. (I guess you can say that I’ve grown up to be a man, not a coward.)
There are many styles of tall boots made for men. Who “gets” to wear them is a choice made by the person wearing them. Contrary to social stigmas on the topic, men “can” and DO wear tall boots. Go tell a motorcycle police officer that only women can wear tall boots. Ha!
But besides positions where tall boots are worn regularly by men — not only motorcops, but also loggers, linesmen, working cowboys, and the like — there are a lot of us bikers who wear tall boots often.
Speaking for myself, I have long gotten over being worried about what other people may say or think about me or the boots or clothing I wear in public. It is not feminine to wear tall boots, especially if the boots are decidedly rugged: buckaroo cowboy boots, or a biker’s tall engineer or harness boots.
If you think for one moment that permission is granted by some Social Lord who “allows” only a certain gender to wear tall boots, then you’re mistaken. If you are reluctant to do so, ask yourself why you feel that way. If you are concerned about what other people may say or think, then you have two options:
1. Get over it. Pull on a pair of tall boots, stand tall, and proudly. If someone says something about the boots, learn how to say, “thanks. I think they’re cool. I like how they look and feel.” Period. Demonstrate your masculine independence.
If you can’t do that, then there’s always Option Two:
2. Put on sneakers, sandals, flip-flops or crocs, and crawl back into the cowering position of having society dictate what you wear, where you will wear it, and how often.
I know that sounds harsh, but honestly: nobody cares except you.
Life is short: wear tall boots.