Recently there’s been a lot of buzz and debate centered around a romper. These new “made for men” rompers have gone very far to inhabit a masculine position. Seriously, a “rompHim”? Must we drag knuckles and beat chests at the sight or sound of any opportunity for gender expression? Big question, how and when have rompers been coded as feminine? Furthermore, what’s with all the vitriol following this piece of gender neutral clothing?
Note to audience: I refuse to call these rompHims. Really, it’s just too ridiculous. The kickstarter for these ROMPERS has reached its goal and then some, no doubt thanks to Internet fame. The campaign boasts the clothing as a fashion revolution, which is a bit of a reach. The thing is, rompers are traditionally feminine pieces, but not femme exclusive. This speaks more to society’s undertones of gender policing. There are already men who sport rompers. Also what makes a romper more feminine than the “masculine” coverall or overall? Is it just because they’re shorts or is it the fit? Honestly it shouldn’t matter.
This gendering is very unnecessary, but for many men this identifier is paramount to their identity. It's a crutch used to survive alongside their insecurities and exert an image of strength and power. Anything perceived to soften that view is a threat. To be able to hear romper as romp(her) is more comedic than anything, but the torrent of femme bashing rhetoric that has followed is troubling. A prime example is the slew of memes that poke fun at gendered experiences based on an article of clothing. Entertaining as it may be, these still enforce gender roles and highlight acts of misogyny through veiled jokes.
So what are we saying in the wake of all this? Yes, masculinity is fragile enough that an article of clothing, even gender neutral options, can shake people to the core. Society’s enforcement of these ideas are aggressive and will push back against any dissent of the established ideology.. It’s too bad because this style isn’t new. Only after a couple frat looking brodenskis market the hell out of it, it suddenly becomes a spectacle. By the way, have you seen the promo? Even with all that butt and thigh—my personal fave— it’s very cringe. In the end they just put deeper pockets and a dick hole on a romper—not revolutionary, just practical. Hopefully this bit of internet history goes silent sooner than later, and these gender hangups are just remembered as a sad weak moment of uber-masculinity gone awry.