Dominique Moreau is a trailblazing freedom fighter, a man battling for equality and recognition in a world of prejudice and gender stereotypes. At least, that is what his supporters say.
To others who may be less aware of the socio-political implications of his sartorial habits, however, Moreau’s heroism is less apparent. To them, he is just a bloke in a skirt.
“Today, millions of men around the world wear skirts, like the sarong in Asia or the djellaba in Africa, without being bothered,” he said. “Why not us?”
Moreau is the president of Hommes en Jupe (Men in Skirts), an association of about 30 men in Poitiers, France, who don skirts to go about their everyday lives. For them, getting dressed in the morning is less about style and more about political substance: they are fighting to reclaim an item of clothing last worn by Frenchmen more than 500 years ago.
“We’re fighting against prejudice and cliches,” said Moreau, a 39-year-old civil servant. “Women fought for trousers; we’re doing the same with the skirt.”
The self-proclaimed militants of Poitiers know it will be hard to change attitudes, even if they are grateful to David Beckham for having stepped out in a sarong. For now, they must content themselves with buying their skirts online. Prices for a male design (wider waist and narrower hips) range from 100 euros (US$155) to 400 euros on specialist Web sites in Europe and the US.
Briton Tim Stannard wears skirts most days. He admits the “hostile” reactions of his friends and family were hard to cope with at first.
But, after suffering a heart attack last year, Stannard is throwing caution to the wind.
“If I don’t do it now,” he said. “There probably won’t be another chance.”
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