Where did the social expectation of only girls wearing dresses come from?

In the present, our society is getting freedom from every social stigma, one after another. But in the pre feminism era, things were a lot different. The fashion styles we see and adore now used to be considered as low and shallow at that time. 

Before the fashion industry, the clothing was gender-specific. In every aspect of life, there were certain expectations that everyone had to keep up with. Especially for females, clothing was detrimental to social status and moral values. But how did these rules get made in the first place? Let’s discuss!

About three thousand years ago, there was no concept of pants or shirts. Everyone used to wear simple garments, mostly robes. No discrimination existed between the genders, at least in the field of clothing.  But in the professional world, a lot of difference was seen in the work environment of males and females.

Mostly, men used to go into the field for work. Otherwise, they had to go into battle. In short, all the heavy-duty work was carried out by males. On the other hand, females either performed house chores or did tasks that weren’t that fussy. 

In such conditions, the working men used to find great difficulty in their tasks. The robes used to come in the way of their work. As a solution, they would “gird up their loins” by taking the hems of their robes and tying them up around their legs like pants. This action provided easy access and comfort that they needed to perform their duties efficiently. 

This continued for quite a while, but then people realized the need for change. This was when the styles started to evolve. Robes became dresses over time, and pants became the norm for those that went out to work and fight. And since women stayed in the homes for a majority of their lifetimes, there was no need to change their styles.

Also, in the past, pants were more expensive than dresses. Because, sewing wise, dresses are extremely simple (not modern ones), while pants are more complex. Thus, pants were used only when needed. 

Now, if you think about it, you will realize that the dress culture was never a societal stigma. It was just a consequence of time and needs. Moreover, there wasn’t any rule that forced women to stay at home and do house chores. And, there was no such thing as an all men army. So, the women who stepped outside along with men got the privilege to wear professional pants.

But even though there was no restriction over the working women, many preferred households over professions. From this, the concept of gender discrimination started. Also, it stemmed the conception that dresses aren’t manly, so the style evolved with that. 

If you look at the present, you will see that majority of the women now prefer pants. They find it comfortable and easy, just like how men did before. Unlike dresses, pants do not become a hurdle in the way of work. Therefore, both men and women consider them convenient.