Jeans, a Feminist Rant

Jeans, a Feminist Rant

So. Jeans. A perennial problem, the jeans. Remember when we were kids (you geezers out there like me) and there were just jeans. There weren’t five thousand different styles and different fabrics and different makes. There were jeans. Usually Levis.

I gave up on jeans a few years ago. Every time I’d find a make that fit, and that was reasonably comfortable and reasonably attractive, they’d go change them on me. And yet, even a LivingSmall type like moi, does sometimes read the fashion rags, usually while the magical Dezray is doing that thing she does to my hair that a) makes it cute and not just a mop, and b) gets rid of those grey hairs I don’t have. So, there’s this trend right now … “boyfriend jeans” … which pretty much just looks to me like comfy jeans, rolled up at the bottom. I live in Converse in the summer, and the look was cute, and so I thought … hmmm … jeans.

I was in a big-box store this weekend, and got looking at the jeans, and as usual, became immediately overwhelmed. When somehow, I wound up in the men’s section. Did you know that mens jeans are clearly labeled? That the labels describe the fit? Hmm. Boyfriend jeans. I don’t want the Sweetheart’s jeans, I want my own jeans, that don’t cut or bind or hurt my tender bits and that are kind of fun to wear. Men’s jeans?

I tried on a pair. They were FABULOUS! They had a nice clean cut to them. They fit as advertised. There was no binding. No pinching. Of course they were too long, but all the girls’ jeans are too long too.

I bought two pairs. For 20 bucks each. Yes, 20 bucks, what jeans should cost. And I LOVE them. I had to cut 4 inches off, but I used my pinking shears, and rolled them up. I have “boyfriend jeans” — they’re cute. They’re comfortable. No wonder men don’t walk around looking pained all the time. Their jeans don’t hurt. I feel like I’m ten years old again, wearing jeans, about to go outside and run around in the woods all day. I’m never going back to the women’s department for jeans ever again.

Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I don’t want pants that I can identify on the shelf, and that don’t hurt me, and that are both sort of cute and practical. Jeez oh Pete fashion people. I don’t need an 8 page spread in Oprah magazine about the different cuts you came up with just to make us feel even more inadequate and neurotic about our bodies than we already are. I just want a pair of pants. You can’t see me flipping you off, you terrible people who took over women’s jeans and who have rendered every pair of jeans I’ve worn in my adult life problematic — even when I was skinny enough that I was wearing jeans from the kids’ department. A pair of pants is what I want. A pair of pants that don’t cause me pain! That I have to go to the mens department to get them is a failure on your part. I’m never coming back, either. So there. Me and my very own non-boyfriend jeans are going to have a happy old age together, and while I might be crabby about many things, from now on, it’s not going to be about my pants.

5 thoughts on “Jeans, a Feminist Rant

  1. My mom has been wearing men’s jeans since I was a kid. She buys women’s jeans too, when she finds a pair that fit right–at the thrift store. But if it’s time for a new pair, it’s time for the men’s department. Same with sneakers and boots, most of the time. When I was in high school and the kids said my mom wore army boots I had a hard time figuring out why I was supposed to be mad; I just figured they were pretty dumb if they couldn’t tell the difference between army boots and biker boots.

    Of course, none of the women on that side of the family have much in the way of hips, which makes all this wearing men’s jeans a little easier.

  2. There is a wonderful TED “The Paradox of Choice” – Barry Shwartz – he talks about jeans as an example of the paradox of ‘too much’ choice. You might enjoy the watch. Love the BLOG.

  3. I discovered men’s jeans back in the 80’s, when I switched from skintight Jordache to Levi’s 501’s — and never looked back. I still try to wear women’s jeans from time to time and can occasionally find a pair I like okay, but they always need alteration (I can buy Levi’s in my choice of length!) and the last pair I bought (for 2-3 times what a pair of Levi’s cost) have non-fucntional pockets — they’re purely decorative? So now I’m forced to carry a purse? Insane! I don’t consider that pair “jeans” as much as “dress-up clothes.” My family would like to see me in something that looks better than the Levi’s, but until I find something else as comfortable, practical, and affordable, it’s not likely.

  4. I live on a farm, and in addition to the ridiculous non-fitting problem of women’s jeans, I’ve found that they do not in any way stand up to the work I do. I resent the fact that I dish out just as much abuse on my clothes as any man, but am expected to wear flimsier, more shoddily made pants to do it in. I buy men’s jeans too! Also, I’m 5’1″, and I can often find them in 28-30 inch lengths that I don’t need to alter.

  5. I can’t wear men’s Levi’s – too many curves – but I find that Lee still makes ‘real’ jeans, and I get them at Kohls for around $25 a pair. All cotton – no spandex – four functional pockets – straight enough leg that I can ride a bike, run around with dogs, hike and grocery shop w/o tripping over a flap of bootleg fabric. Or being stuffed into something that should be called a denim legging. I’ve tried a few pairs of stretch denim jeans and they are torture – they seem to get tighter as the day goes on, and grab me in all the wrong spots. Which was a rude surprise – jeans are supposed to be your friend!

    It is so irritating that most women’s clothing is designed for sitting around in, or for walking less than a hundred yards. I thoroughly resent the fashion industry for focusing on non-functional clothes. My husband’s wardrobe is ALL comfortable, and easy to replenish with a few trips a year to Macy’s during a sale. I work a lot harder to find stuff that fits, looks decent, and doesn’t fall apart with wear. Congrats on the discovery!

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