Oh Dear! Victoria’s Secrets have been in the news again, and for all the wrong reasons. Come on, all you folks in their PR department. Get a grip! We can’t let the Catholic Church of the cross-dressing world take a hit like this. What the Company stands accused of, by a well-meaning journalist, is Cultural Appropriation – borrowing another culture’s trappings for ignoble purposes. Apparently, at their 2016 fashion show, Victoria’s Secrets were trying to extend their appeal to the Chinese market by dressing some of the models on the runway in Chinese costumes! Now, as a rule, Lilly wouldn’t get involved in a political game of Twister like this one, but I think this journalist probably has a point, though perhaps not the one she intended. Does the Queen sell Duchy of Cornwall apples during the Queen’s Speech? No she doesn’t. Does the Pope sell indulgences at Easter mass? Well, not anymore. So, Victoria’s Secrets, please drop the distasteful commercial overtones and concentrate on the business in hand: putting beautiful people in beautiful lingerie and making them parade up and down. Please don’t spoil the spectacle for the Chinese with a clumsy attempt to say “Hey look! We can do Chinese too!”
The Victoria Secrets annual Fashion Show is the highlight of the cross-dressing year. A time when, for just a few minutes during the news coverage, we can say to our family and friends, without drawing suspicion, “Those panties look nice!” or “No, that bra just doesn’t look right!”. It’s the closest we can get to affirming our passion without blurting out “and I want to wear underwear like that too!” So please, Victoria’s Secrets, rein it in. There is too much at stake. Don’t risk jeopardising The Project by messing with a tried and tested formula.
Now, OK, the journalist had a serious point to make about cultural appropriation. She might be right. And she probably was right when she said, in passing, that Victoria’s Secrets are a largely white, patriarchal corporation. There are wrongs in the world that need to be set right and good-on anyone trying to to do just that. But reading her words raised a darker and altogether more awful spectre in my mind. What would she think about us men wearing women’s clothing? Are we appropriating something that is not ours? Worse, are we perpetuating values – that women are ‘beautiful’, that we are what we wear – that are hurting people and harming Society? Well, if we are, we are not alone. The whole of humanity is at it, and has been for thousands of years. That of course is no excuse. If we can see something is wrong, we should set it right. Should we give up our clothes and our female ways for the cause, pick up our placards and start protesting against Victoria’s Secrets? Wouldn’t that be amazing! But I can see what would happen. Perhaps I might bang the drum and make a big noise. I might round up my friends and organise a coach trip to take our stand in the Square alongside our sisters. But on the day you would look around you and I would not be there. I would have snuck off home to try on ladies’ clothing! In truth, I fear we crossdressers are captivated by beauty, are prisoners of it, and are just as much victims as womankind itself. We are probably, to a man, strong supporters of women’s rights. I think it’s in our nature to be sympathetic. We are willing allies. But we are a disorganised rebel army isolated in the strongholds of our bedrooms and, without comradeship, we are too weak to resist.
And, anyway, I fear Nature itself is against us and our ‘good cause’. Let us imagine the differences in male and female clothing disappear overnight. We wake up to find we are to wear, man and woman alike, grey boiler suits. Would the forces of evolution not start to to take hold immediately? Men would start to wear their collars buttoned up, women open. It would become trendy to have a missing button or an unpatched hole. Clothing would again start to reflect the differences between us, whether differences of personality, age, or gender. Within a short while we would be back exactly where we are. You would need a harsh and repressive law to stop it. And the fight against that, my crossdressing friends? Well, that would be our finest hour!