I wear shorts pretty much all-year ’round. That includes during the winter.
There are a lot of reasons why I wear shorts, and I become more familiar with them as the season progresses. Because people are constantly giving me shit for wearing shorts in the winter and I have to justify myself on a regular basis.
I’m poor and don’t have a ton of pairs of pants that are still intact enough to wear. I like to wear long socks that look cool. Long pants that are cut for female bodies are incredibly restrictive, and any sort of long pants make it hard to crouch and move around with ease and agility, as I’m wont to do. That makes it especially difficult to wear pants at the gas station I work at, where I have to walk around and do stuff all day.
But it’s winter. And customers tend to lose their minds a little bit over the fact that I wear shorts. Yes, I realize that it’s cold outside. However, I perform most of my job duties indoors, where they keep it a balmy 71°F.
I also utilize multiple layers of clothing when traveling from one place to another, or when I have to change the trash cans outside or something. Sometimes I wear leggings under my shorts, and I usually wear long socks that cover most of the skin left exposed by cargo shorts. If it’s especially cold, I’ll even wear an additional pair of pants which I remove when I get to work.
POINT BEING. We’re about halfway through winter and I’m getting irritated with people. So many strangers ask me in incredulous voices if I’m wearing shorts, why I’m wearing shorts, if I know that it’s winter, how I’m not freezing to death, etc. Since I’m usually at work when this happens, I have to be tactful even if I allow my irritation to show in these situations. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, so I think I’m finally able to articulate why I hate this so much (aside from the fact that people frequently comment on what I’m wearing anyway).
This particular interaction strikes me as very similar to the kind of concern trolling that women/femme folks get in the form of Don’t-Wear-That-You’ll-Get-Raped. The aghast faces, the raised eyebrows, the genuine concern for your well-being that really comes across as patronizing and infantile.
I’m aware that it’s cold outside. I take appropriate precautions to ensure my safety when I’m going to be outside (because I’m an adult). Women/femme folks also take precautions to ensure their safety when venturing outdoors, whether they’re wearing something revealing or not. We are aware that there is potential risk involved in what we’re doing, but we’ve decided that we’re responsible adults enough to handle ourselves in public wearing the clothes we deem fit for the occasion.
This is one of those times I wish I could experiment with the same behaviors but with an outwardly masculine appearance. Would I get nearly the volume of comments about my shorts if people didn’t read me as a woman? Curious.
What do you folks think? Am I stretching a bit here, or does this comparison make sense to you?