I am cis-female. A cis-female who falls into tomboy territory (at times, possibly even crossing into butch territory). I was always more interesting in rescuing the damsels in distress than being rescued as a damsel in distress. And, as I’ve discussed before, when I have fantasies without pregnancy, I have a tendency to take on the “male” roles.
Aside from work (and certain special occasions), I generally stick to practical, plain clothing … which is associated with male behavior (females are expected to look nice when they go out, rather than wear the most practical thing).
However, at work, I deliberately dress as femme. I don’t wear makeup – I draw the line there – but I wear (short) heels, pantyhose, a skirt, a nice blouse, a scarf, and I tie up my hair.
My employer, by the way, does not pressure me to do this. I actually dress more femme than most of my female colleagues. Some of them have even told me, when they see the effort I put into my appearance, that I can lighten it up a bit.
However, to me, femme clothing gives me the freedom to be as tomboyish as I want at work. With femme clothing, I feel that, no matter how much of a tomboy I feel like that day, I can express it, because my femme clothing will balance out any excessively tomboyish behavior. If I wore the type of clothing I wear outside of work, I would feel less free to be myself at work. The femme clothing is a shield – with it, I feel safe, without it, I feel exposed.
Perhaps I’m over-thinking this – after all, American women are stereotyped in Taiwanese culture as being tomboyish, and when I show what a tomboy I am Taiwanese people often remark that it’s because I’m American (I don’t think it is, by the way). At the same time, I want to keep my job, and not just for economic reasons – if I lose my job, I also lose my residency, and could be forced to leave Taiwan. Thus, the femme clothing stays.
And, besides, wearing femme clothing is fun. It’s as if I’m disguising myself as a different person. Halloween year-round 😉