My next suggestion from my friend in Belgium for this blog is the age-old question, “did women take over wearing boots from men?” or related, “why don’t men wear boots any more?”
I answered the second question thoroughly in my March 2, 2016 blog post titled, Why Don’t Men Wear Boots Any More?
My friend said,
I sometimes read comments of guys complaining that women are more accepted to wearing boots. They seem jealous and even claim that women stole the wearing of boots from men.
I have a few additional thoughts, especially in these days where sexism in the United States has been empowered and emboldened by the buffoon who will become U.S. President…
Let me preface this for a moment — most adult men in the U.S. (and around the world) are secure and confident. They are co-equals in a relationship, care for children and parents, work for a living, and are generally educated enough such that they live in peace and harmony with others around them. They behave with civility and fairness.
These “most adult men” fit the category of what my Belgian friend further said in his message to me,
I personally think this (thinking that “women stole wearing boots from men”) is silly. We are independent people and can make or own decision of what we want to wear. It’s a matter of choice. I think most men just don’t care about what they wear as a footwear.
I agree, “most adult men,” in my opinion, do not really care what they wear on their feet, just as long as what they wear is comfortable and does not attract attention. (And is cheap; most men do not want to spend much money on clothing, including shoes or boots.)
However, I have observed that there are a substantial number of men in the U.S. who are insecure and are afraid of being associated or labeled with anything considered to be weak or effeminate, or both. They rant and rail with concerns about characteristics associated by stereotyping of gay men, especially when confronted with questions about their sexuality. These men consider that “gay” is equivalent to “weak” and “effeminate.” They mock these stereotypes by speaking with a lisp, flailing their hands, and walking like a woman in high heels. (The reaction by these guys when they meet a masculine gay man is amusing, but I digress.)
These men take extraordinary steps to demonstrate masculine bravado. They boast and behave as they observe other men of their social circles behave. They ridicule and mock others who they consider to be weaker. Brawn and bravado begets the same.
Inside, however, men like this are deeply insecure, and are afraid and fearful that anyone would consider them to be weak or “less of a man.”
These men watch other men very very closely (though they will not admit it.) They are keenly sensitive to observing other men, especially those they would like to emulate, such as men who play rough physical sports such as American football, basketball, and hockey. That’s why you see so many of these men wearing sports jerseys of a favorite player and also wearing sneakers. Sneakers (or trainers in Europe) are what tough, physical men wear.
My friend from Belgium said further,
I do think that there are a lot of guys that would like to wear boots (more often) but are to much concerned about what other people might think. As yourself, I’ve recognized the admiring stares too.
Yes, I agree as well and for two reasons: 1) these insecure men who I am describing are far too concerned about what other people might think, especially if their choices are different from the Alpha Male bravado clone image; and 2) Men observed looking at another man or (heaven forbid) complimenting another man on his clothing or footwear would be considered “gay”. Last thing these guys want associated with them is anything about them being considered as gay.
It is amusing, though, that work boots (and some low-height motorcycle boots and cowboy boots) are considered tough masculine footwear. So guys will wear boots, as long as the boots compliment a tough, masculine image.
Tall boots, especially worn with pants tucked inside of them, are considered these days a feminine style, and are the anathema of a “tough-guy’s” (i.e., insecure man’s) self-image. So that is why, in my opinion, few men wear boots that have intricate designs, are colorful, are tall, and attract attention. Few men are secure and confident enough to do so. (Kudos and compliments, by the way, to my friend WC who moved to this personal level of self-confidence and wears boots every day now. It was a gradual but thoughtful personal growth experience for him.)
Finally, my friend from Belgium said,
I also think that if shoe retailers would offer a bigger choice of boots more men would buy them. A few years ago boots were a major fashion thing in Europe and you could see lots of men wearing boots (and even tucking their pants in), but fashion has taken a turn again and boots are disappearing again.
I am sure this is true, too, but retailers go with perceived fashion trends and sales figures. If boots do not sell as well as shoes or sneakers, then there are fewer boots available for sale — at least in the brick-and-mortar stores.
These days in the age of “everything-at-the-fingertips” mobile devices, few men buy clothing or footwear for themselves at a store. My shopping habits are probably similar to many other guys — I hate shopping in a store; it is (to me) a huge waste of time. When I buy stuff like clothes or boots, I use on-line methods to do so. I cannot remember the last time that I bought clothing in a store.
Life is short: when you are a confident man, you will wear boots and not think a thing about it.