While it’s fun to joke about the absurdity of the male romper, this wannabe fashion trend may be more than meets the eye. The male romper, christened the RompHim by its creators, attempts to sell to men a women’s clothing item — along with that item’s inherent juvenile nature and feminine allure.
What is the RompHim?
Ask anyone to describe the romper, and you will get “cute,” “flirty,” “fun,” or “sexy.” These are not words that typically describe menswear. And yet they can still be used to describe the so-called “male” romper, also known as the RompHim, a short, form-fitting garment marketed to men.
According to the Inquisitr, the RompHim is not currently being sold in stores, but is actually being promoted on Kickstarter by a company called ACED Design. It is a one-piece shirt and shorts combination that comes in pink (referred to as “Red Chambray” on their Kickstarter page), light blue, and splatter print. The website is now offering a special striped Fourth of July design as well. Thus far, the Kickstarter has been extremely successful, earning $277,797 from 2,414 backers as of present writing. This is surprising, considering that most men openly mock the design, which has inspired a wide-ranging new genre of meme.
While the romper is a cute, curves-hugging item that is traditionally worn by women, the founders of ACED Design plan to graft this image onto men. While they insist that the RompHim is all about comfort and style, the feminine sexualization embedded in the item cannot be separated from the item itself. Creating a men’s version of the romper does nothing but transcribe that sexualization onto men. Instead of the rugged, tough sexiness typical of traditional male fashion that actually honors real male attributes, the RompHim exudes the cute, infantilized kind of sexualization that is epitomized by women’s items like the romper. No matter how hard the creators try to spin this, there is no mistaking the inherent feminine je ne sais quoi of this design.
Should We Be Surprised?
While the male romper may be shocking for those unaware of the way our society is changing, for those of us who are well-appraised of the decades-long social shift, this comes as no surprise. Starting with the rise of second-wave feminism in the 1970s, there has been a concerted attack on both traditional masculinity and traditional femininity. The first step was encouraging women to be more masculine under the guise of “empowerment.” Media portrayals of working women and of those taking men’s roles were replete with admiration, while housewives were painted as oppressed, ignorant, or old-fashioned. Simultaneously, rugged male roles have slowly disappeared from the cultural scene. At the same time, social structures evolved to cater to female psychology while marginalizing that of men.
Blogger Eric Garland, while not as critical of feminism as myself, illuminates the struggles facing men in his piece entitled “The Crisis of American Masculinity.” Therein, he explains how our current educational system and corporate structure are not designed to foster masculine qualities in boys and men, but actually end up suppressing them. In school, boys who sit still, do not question authority, and “behave” are rewarded with praise and good grades while boys who release their physical energy, question their teachers, and innovate in the classroom are punished with chiding remarks and trips to the principal’s office. The Blaze reports that these differences have tangible results, stating that, since 1982, women have earned almost 10 million more college degrees than men, according to the Department of Education. The corporate culture also favors acquiescence to authority while eschewing traditional male ruggedness and individuality. Men who do not keep their heads down and their mouths shut are quickly traded for those who are more successful at suppressing who they are.
Feminization Of Men
The feminization of men goes beyond behavior and roles. According to the Modern Man, 60 percent of American and British men aged 18-34 believe it is acceptable for them to use skincare products and 18 percent are okay with makeup such as concealer or foundation. While this may seem innocuous to some, it is symbolic of a cultural shift. According to a JWT Intelligence report, three-fourths of millennial men agreed with the statements that “men and women don’t need to conform to traditional roles and behaviors anymore” and that “gender doesn’t define a person as much as it used to.”
Now, with the creation of the male romper, using a little concealer and moisturizer has given way to the wearing of women’s garments. It is interesting to note that the crew at ACED Designs has chosen buff, masculine-looking men to model the RompHim. Is this a way of tricking men into viewing the wearing of women’s garments as a masculine act? Or was this a subconscious way to visually counter the feminizing effects of the romper?
Will The RompHim Catch On?
The runaway success of the RompHim Kickstarter page could be an indication of a trend. However, it seems that many men on Twitter just aren’t seeing the appeal. Trying to market a women’s garment with such overt feminine connotations may be a step too far for those trying to blur the lines between the genders. Only time will tell whether the male romper is destined to become the next big thing or to fail as a laughable overreach of modern leftism.
[Featured Image by ACED Design]