Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Co-Ed - 2069

Eddie was nervous as his mother loaded the car with his belongings and squeezed his father's hand harder.

He was going to the Harriet Wainwright University, or HWU for short. He, a boy! It was almost unheard of nowadays. Every girl Eddie had ever known had gone on to university, but out of his many male friends, Eddie was the only one to do so. Eddie wondered how many other boys would be at HWU.

Eddie had decided to wear a white denim mini-skirt, a white blouse, a pink cardigan and pink high heels for his entrance into academia. His legs were bare and on display. Eddie became more anxious when he recalled what he had heard about the female students. They regarded the guy student as eye candy.

And, Eddie recalled, the application process had not been anything like what he had expected. The female applicants had to sit an entrance exam and attend an interview with a panel of faculty staff members and be interrogated on her chosen subject (or, at least, that's what Kirsty Meadows, a female applicant he had been chatting to, told him).

Eddie had been instructed to bring his best frock, a bikini and a pair of stilettos. He and the other male applicants had had to wear both outfits and walk up and down a runway for the benefit of an audience of faculty staff members (all female). There was no exam to sit. Eddie was then interviewed by three older women. They asked him nothing about the subject he wished to study (English Literature) but asked him what his favourite colour was (Pink, of course!), about his knowledge of fashion and cosmetics and about his cheerleading experience. Eddie had been a cheerleader at both school and college. The ladies asked him for a demo and clapped politely when he performed his college cheer for them. There were no searching questions that Eddie could not answer confidently.

Eddie received a letter from the head of the faculty to congratulate him on being accepted as a student at HWU a little over a week later.

Back in the present, the drive to HWU took almost four hours and mother, father and son had a stop along the way for refreshment. Finally, they arrived at the imposing buildings that comprised the university campus. After finding out where he was staying (in a block of student accommodation with other boys), the car was unloaded and his parents said their goodbyes. His mother gave him a kiss that merely brushed on the top of his head but his father was more effusive, giving his little boy a crushing hug and a kiss. Mother seemed irritated and eager to get away and snapped at her husband to put his son down and come along.

Eddie watched the car until it disappeared from view and then went back to his room. Well, not just his room, for he had to share with a tall, blonde boy called Adrian. Adrian clearly came from a wealthy family, for he wore designer clothes and jewellery and smelled of expensive perfumes. Eddie looked enviously at his top of the range perfumes and cosmetics, and his designer dresses, skirts and endless pairs of high heels.

Adrian noticed his interest and Eddie soon learned that Adrian was a lovely boy. He willingly showed Eddie all of his clothes and even let Eddie try some of them on. Eddie, like most boys, was addicted to clothes and shoes and was in seventh heaven for the next two hours. Eddie was impressed that he had made a friend already in the first few hours of his university career.

On the following morning, Eddie and Adrian (who, Eddie was delighted to learn, was on the same course as him, attended induction and had to fill in and sign lots of forms. They were given their lecture schedules. The number of lectures seemed to be remarkably few. Eddie had had more lessons at college. When he queried this, the female lecturer, Dr Shaw, smiled and told him not to worry. He would soon find himself busy.

Members of the cheerleading squad came around in their cute, mini-skirted uniforms and encouraged every boy to try out for the squad. Eddie put his name down, as did Adrian. When the boys went to the student cafeteria to grab some lunch, they noticed girls, lot of girls, staring at them, checking them out.

As the student population at HWU was 80% female, competition for boys would be fierce. Eddie had even heard of girls fighting each other over a boy. Eddie was determined to study hard and not get involved with girls.

Eddie and Adrian went back to their room and got changed into the cheerleading uniforms that had been lent to them for the duration of the try out. Eddie had to admit that he and Adrian looked very cute in the yellow and white outfits with their tiny mini-skirts. The boys put each others long hair into a ponytail and tied a yellow ribbon around it.

Eddie and Adrian attracted more female attention as they walked through the campus to the sports hall where the try outs were taking place. There were wolf whistles. Flushing slightly, Eddie was glad when they finally made it inside the sports hall. Only to find more girls than he had ever seen in one place occupying the audience stands. It was a full house.

Eddie, Adrian and dozens of other mini-skirted boys were put through their paces. They had to learn and perform the university cheer in double quick time. But both Eddie and Adrian were experienced cheerleaders and rose to the challenge, although the cat calling and wolf whistles emanating from the audience was off putting. When they had finished, the head of the squad made a note of their names and said he would let them know later in the week if they had been successful. He mentioned that he had a lot of applicants to get through, and indeed, another bunch of boys arrived for their try out as Eddie and Adrian were leaving.

Studies began in earnest next day. Eddie and Adrian eagerly sat at their desks, ready with pen and paper to lap up the knowledge that was about to be imparted to them. Suddenly, Eddie was distracted by a tall red headed girl who sat right next to him "Hi cutie, I'm Lauren!" the girl said "What's your name, sweetheart?"

Embaressed to called a "cutie" and a "sweetheart", Eddie mumbled his name. "That's a lovely name!" Lauren exclaimed, as if his name was the most important thing in the world. Eddie wished that the lecturer would come so that this girl would have to let him be, but she was late.

Lauren leant over and whispered in his ear "I saw you in your cheerleader's costume. You look real cute in that, sweetie. Want to come round my place after class for some fun?"

Eddie shook his head and whispered back "Please! Back off will you! I'm here to study!" Lauren looked disappointed "You can have fun too you know! You know what they say..." Lauren broke off as the lecturer, Dr Hibbs, a middle aged lady academic, appeared and told the class to pipe down.

Eddie was relieved to be able to concentrate on the lecture, which was about the works of Charles Dickens. Eddie had read a lot of Dickens, but he was still amazed anew to read of a world where men, not women, had mainly been the central characters and had held important jobs and controlled a lot of wealth. All that had changed of course in the last two hundred years. Eddie wondered what Dickens would think of a world where women were dominant.

Dr Hibbs finished the lecture and gave the students their study assignments. Lauren stuffed hers in her bag and went off to join her friends. She looked back at Eddie, and was annoyed to see that he was so engrossed at reading his assignment that he did not notice her. Still, she thought, there is always more than one way to skin a cat.

Eddie and Adrian stopped off at the cafeteria for lunch and then headed off to the library to start work on their assignments. They had a good three hours before their next lecture. Work was progressing well enough, except that the boys noticed girls staring at them. Some of them even winked and gave them a little wave. Feeling vulnerable, the boys left and went back to their room to study, taking as many books with them as they could book out and carry.

Along the way, girls approached them and offered to carry their books for them, but the boys declined their help. The girls were disappointed, but shrugged and moved along, leaving the boys to struggle home.

The boys felt like they were hunted prey and were relieved to get back to their room and shut the rest of the university out of their world. For the next two hours, they got some serious studying done. But the time came for the boys to attend their next lecture, taken by another elderly female academic, Dr Elford.

This time, the subject was the works of Jane Austen. For reasons of her own, Dr Elford decided to make the students work in pairs and instructed each girl up to pair up with a boy of her choice. Lauren eagerly claimed Eddie as her study partner and practically dragged him over to where she sat. Eddie reluctantly trailed after her. The next hour was an ordeal as Lauren kept whispering in his ear how cute he was and was stroking his leg under the desk. Concentrating on Jane Austen was impossible under those circumstances. Eddie was relieved when the lecture came to an end and he could disenage himself from his over eager suitor.

The boys had to study in their room as it was impossible in the library, which was filled with girls lying in wait for their eye candy. Eddie and Adrian had to eschew their normal, very feminine clothes and dress down in plain, dowdy skirts and blouses in an attempt to attract less attention. This wasn't how Eddie or Adrian envisaged university life at all.

Eddie and Adrian learned from the head of the cheerleading squad that neither of them had made the main squad. The competition had just been too good. But he could offer them spots on the reserve squad, whose job it was to supply cheerleaders for the second and third string teams. The boys were disappointed but decided to accept. They soon learned, however, that they had to attend practice sessions almost every night. The boys were worked really hard and returned to their room, completely exhausted.

Eddie climbed into bed after a particularly hard session and had immediately fallen asleep, only to be woken a few minutes later by a rap on the door. He was so tired that he forgot to put on his pink dressing gown and answered the door in his nightdress. He was mortified to find Lauren on his doorstep.

"Very nice!" Lauren exclaimed. Eddie blushed and hurriedly put his dressing gown on. Lauren giggled. Still red faced, Eddie asked her what she wanted. Lauren waved her assignment paper at him "I need some help with this assignment. You're the one who always has his head in a book, give me a hand will you?"

Eddie was tempted to tell her to get lost, but did not want to appear unfriendly and unhelpful. Hadn't Father always told him to help anyone, if he could? Leaving an exhausted Adrian snoring, Eddie got dressed and went off with Lauren. Lauren led him back to her own room. which, Eddie learned, she had to herself as her roomate had failed to appear to attend university. As soon as they got inside, Eddie was disconcerted to see Lauren closing and locking the door. He asked her why she needed to lock the door.

"So we won't be disturbed of course, sweetheart!" Eddie was astonished when the girl threw herself into his arms and began kissing and stroking him. Eddie was about to ask about the assignment but his mind already realised that that had been a ruse to get him in the position he was now in, being fondled and kissed by a sexually aggressive girl.

Eddie felt like he should object an push her away, but in truth he was actually enjoying the new sensations that were washing over his body and mind and having a strong girl who was clearly attracted to him taking the lead. He gave in to his instincts and woke up the next morning next to a grinning Lauren.

Eddie realised that, as always, when a woman wanted something, she always got it. She had conquered him and he was hers, body and soul. They became boyfriend and girlfriend. Study receded into the background as Eddie was either busy with endless cheerleading practice or with his girlfriend, who, he had discovered, had a huge sexual appetite. It was becoming hard to keep up with her constant demands. His studying was slipping, but Lauren told him not to worry. She would get her degree and walk into a well paid job. He could stay at home like a good boy and keep house for her until they married.

Lauren had conquered him and was now laying out the course of his life for him. Eddie accepted this. Women knew best and were the natural leaders and a wise man should follow the lead of a woman.

Eddie now wore his feminine attire again at Lauren's insistence. Pretty blouses and tops and swishing, flowery skirts and high heels. The other girls knew he belonged to Lauren and left him alone. He didn't get as much as one wolf whistle when he walked about the campus.

Lauren especially liked Eddie when he was in his cheerleading outfit and always came to watch him wave his pom poms and wiggle his mini-skirted bottom. After practice, although Eddie was worn out, Lauren insisted on taking him to bed.

My life could be worse, thought Eddie, as Lauren led him by the hand into the bedroom and into his future.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Skirting the issue

In the distant past, clothing was used as a means of labelling the gender of a person. Men wore bifurcated garments to define their masculinity whilst women wore the skirt to denote their femininity.

Oddly, in the middle ages and in the 16th to 18th centuries, it was the clothing of the man that was richer in texture and colour. The woman in her skirt looked like a plain swan by comparison to the male peacock in his elaborate doublets, hats, gloves and boots.

In the late 18th and the 19th centuries, for various socio-economic reasons, that tendency was suddenly and dramatically reversed. Male fashion became largely devoid of colour and texture and became more practical and therefore more masculine.

Female clothing became more exotic and frivilous. It also became far more restrictive and uncomfortable. Women had to wear many more layers of clothing than men. Their bodies were encased in wrappings of satins, silks and lace. Their upper torsos were imprisoned in whale bone corsets in an effort to conform to fashion and have a tiny waist to attract men. The lower parts of their bodies were put into girdles for the same effect. They were forced to perch and mince about in impossibly high heeled shoes. Their hands and lower arms were covered in silk gloves that took ages to put on and take off. Women also perfumed their bodies in sweet smelling scents, painted their faces and wore extravagant and heavy jewellery. Their skirts were so puffed up with petticoats that the only time a woman ever saw her feet was when she was bathing, or in bed.

Dressed in this way, it was almost impossible for women to compete with men. In fact, she was more dependent upon him as being dressed in corsetry and puffy skirts and wobbly high heeled shoes made her almost helpless.

By the early twentieth century, women realised that if they wanted to improve their lot then they would have to wear less restrictive clothing. The world wars of the first half of the twentieth century led to women quickly jettisoning the corset and the girdle and even (with a tiny bit of reluctance) her petticoats. The dress, skirt, high heels, jewellery and cosmetics remained but women were now in a better position to compete with men for jobs, especially as various reforms had been put into place to give women greater rights.

By the 1970's and 1980's, with many more women in the workplace than ever before, and in senior positions, more women began to wear trousers, rather than skirts, and by the early 2000's, women in trousers or pant suits became common and completely acceptable.

By 2010, it was becoming clear that women were becoming the dominant gender, as a result of girls greatly outperforming boys educationally for decades and women becoming the majority of the workforce and more frequently outearning men.

Women had, as a result of seeking to outdo men, become the more "masculine" gender. They now sought to feminise men and one area of attack was in the area of clothing. Men were already adopting more feminine styled and coloured clothes, cosmetics and the "man-bag", a male version of the woman's handbag.

Women, by adopting trousers and the pant suit, had made themselves equal to men in what they could wear, but now they wanted to see what they now saw as the weaker sex in skirts as ultimate proof of their superiority over the once dominant male. Men had by now declined so far and so fast in a few generations that they could no longer claim to be the dominant sex. Girls outstripped them at every level of education, not so much by a wide margin as by a massive chasm. Eventually, the only jobs males could get were the jobs women used to do - and did not want to do any more. Jobs such as nurse, secretary, maid and cleaner were beneath women nowadays and left to the men to fill.

By the 2020's, male secretaries, maids, nurses and cleaners etc, were gradually being forced by their female bosses to adopt feminine clothing. They had to wear the traditional uniforms of those professions. It was deeply humiliating at first for a man to have to put on a skirt - many men left their jobs rather than conform - and in his mind lose his masculinity. But ultimately, men had little choice in the matter. They had lost the battle of the sexes and had to accept the penalty of being on the losing side.

By the 2030's, it became common to see women in trousers and pant suits and men mincing about in tight skirts and high heels, fully made up and wearing a pretty blouse and having their shaven legs encased in hosiery. Women, as men had done before them, were intrigued by what the men wore beneath their seductive, swaying skirts.

Women had managed to inverse the traditional dress for genders that had prevailed in the twentieth century.

But women were delving into the history books of fashion and looking for more ways to humiliate and control men. By the 2040's, the fashion world saw the comeback of the corset, petticoat and girdle, but for men!

By 2050, the typical male found his body imprisoned in layers of silk, satin, lace and tulle, his waist reduced to tiny dimensions by crushing and oppressive corsetry and girdlery. He wore huge, swishing skirts, puffed up by a mass of lacy petticoats. Underneath his skirts, he wore exquisitely lacy lingerie. By now, the male was used to wearing high heels, cosmetics and jewellery, but the introduction of corsetry and petticoats, added a totally new level of humilation and degradation for the former masters of the world.

Women everywhere smiled as they saw prettified men so restricted, controlled and feminised by the very garments that men had once used to keep women in their place.

Revenge is sweet - and very female.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Woman Supreme and Man Content - 2071

"Womankind: The Wealth Creators and the Big Spenders" By Charlotte Tomlinson, 2 September 2071.

In a complete reversal of the way things used to be, it is now women who generate, control and spend the wealth of the world.

This development has been coming for decades and was seen as inevitable. In the western world, women now comprise 75% of the workforce. And of those men who do work, their jobs are invariably of lower status and lower pay than women.

Women occupy the highest positions in the worlds of business, politics, science, engineering, medicine and the law and outnumber men by a huge margin. The salaries and bonuses that women at the top of their fields can command are astonishing.

Women in the west own 91% of all businesses and again, the few businesses owned by men are small scale by comparison. The biggest corporations and enterprises are controlled by women, who are paid enormous sums of money for running these ventures.

In the US, latest statistics show that there are some 200,000 millionnaires and over a thousand billionnaires. 97 out of every 100 of these super rich individuals are female. The few males in possession of such wealth have either inherited it from their parents or have made it through being fashion models, movie actors and pop stars.

These statistics make it clear that where once the male of the species was the chief generator and controller of wealth, he has lost that role to women. Men, who created and built the basis of our civilisation and the power and economic structures that drove it forward, has in the last century lost any control over his creations. It is a startling and dramatic transformation of the balance of economic power.

Women are the wealth creators and therefore control the pursestrings in their households. But, whereas in the past women spent their disposable income on what would be regarded as frivoulous purchases, such as clothes and cosmetics, a woman of the second half of the 21st century spends most of her money on sports cars, sports equipment, computers and the latest gadgets. Women have replaced men as the new pioneers in trying out new technology.

Women still buy clothes and shoes, a lot of clothes and shoes (some things, it would seem, don't change!), but their purchases are business suits, designer shirts and jeans and boots and flat shoes. These items are generally very expensive.

Men, in general, stuck in low paid jobs or in the home as a full time father and househusband, have little disposable income when compared to a woman. What little money they have has to be spent on smart clothes, hosiery and shoes, the most expensive cosmetics and perfumes and on makeover sessions in "male grooming parlours" in order to please their wife or their invariably female boss who demand almost impossibly high standards of personal hygiene and appearance of the males in their lives.

Those men who are married, or in a relationship, are usually dependent financially on their female partner. In a complete reversal of traditional gender roles, it is now she who will buy him flowers, take him out for a meal in a restaurant or purchase sexy lingerie for him to wear for her.
But, in 2071, this has become completely normal. It is now three generations ago since females became the dominant sex and put men into skirts. Men are now used to living feminine lives and being dependent upon a woman to provide for him, to dominate him, and even to protect him from predatory single females.

Initially (and perhaps naturally after centuries as the dominant sex) resentful at their loss of status (not to mention their trousers!), men are beginning to come into their own. With each successive generation, they are becoming more accepting of the fact that they are the weaker sex and must complement the masculinity of their women with their own femininity. The balance between the sexes must be maintained even if it is at odds with what went before.

Men are learning to become able househusbands and fathers in the home. The husband or partner is also becoming an invaluable accessory to his woman as a trophy husband or boyfriend and being the "host with the most" at dinner parties he arranges and throws. At work, after intially struggling to fit into traditionally female roles such as secretary or nurse, men are becoming more efficient in those roles and more valued.

The stock of the male, diminishing for so many decades, is on the rise again as a result of his embracing, rather than resisting, femininity.

The rewards for a man accepting his new role are many. The love and respect of the woman in his life, and that of his children. The high-flying woman is so grateful for a man willing to play his various feminine roles that she will spend heavily on him, buying him designer dresses and high heeled shoes, expensive lingerie, perfumes and cosmetics and will spend a fortune for him to visit male grooming parlours and even have cosmetic surgery.

Man may have created, and lost, the wealth and the means of generating it to womankind, but in his new, feminine role, as long as he accepts that he is a member of the weaker sex and accepts female domination, she will provide for him and lavish her fortune upon him.

Men have never had it so good.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Empress's Grand Ball - 1780

Countess Maria Vorochova sighed as she got out of bed and began to get dressed. Her husband, Alexander, still lay in bed, snoring loudly. For such a small man, Alexander could drink an incredible amount. He had been out again, drinking and gambling with his friends. Maria wondered how much he had lost this time, for he was a bad gambler.

As her maid tightened her corset, causing her to gasp, Maria again regretted the day she had ever married her husband. Then again, she had had no say in the matter. Women never did. Her father had been a successful merchant. He had also been a social climber and it had been his ambition to have his family marry into the ranks of the nobility.

Unfortunately for him, Maria had been his only legitimate child (he had sired several illegitimate ones in his long life), so the best he could do was to marry his only daughter to a nobleman. The Vorochova family had had a title, and an estate, but no money. The spectre of bankruptcy had loomed over this once illustrious family.

Alexander's father, the previous count, had stubbornly resisted any family member marrying beneath themselves. Blue blood married blue blood in his mind. But even he had to accept the inevitable. He needed a large injection of cash and so reluctantly agreed to marry his fifteen year old son to a merchant's daughter, who was three years older than his son, in return for the substantial dowry that she would bring. The dowry had been sufficient to clear all of the count's debts and have some left over.

The men were happy enough with the deal, but Maria felt shortchanged. Her new husband was a small, weedy boy. He was ignorant, had neglected his education and spent his time drinking, gambling and hunting. When the old count died, Alexander became master of the estate. As the count and as her husband, Alexander had complete authority over his older, better educated and more sensible wife. Maria had been confined to being a wife and hostess.

Meanwhile, Alexander had no idea how to run the estate, or any interest in doing so. Maria and the estate steward were secretly meeting and making the sensible decisions needed to keep the estate profitable. Maria felt that she was doing all of the work and getting no credit whilst her husband did whatever he liked and ate away at the profits by his wastrel existence.

Then, Maria's unfulfilling existence was interupted by a missive from the Empress Catherine. The Empress, Maria recalled, had seized power at the expense of her less able husband and had, it was rumoured, had murdered him. Catherine had proven a strong ruler, but had some odd whims.

This missive was a classic example of the Empress's eccentricity. The Count and Countess Vorochova had been summoned (not invited) to attend a Grand Ball in Moscow to celebrate the Empress's birthday. So far, so normal. But along with the missive was a note stipulating that the Empress expected the ladies to come attired as gentlemen and for the gentlemen to attend dressed as ladies.

Maria frowned at this. This was not normal behaviour. Still, it was an imperial command and so they must obey. Not attending or making excuses might earn the Empress's displeasure and she was renowned as being a ruthless woman. She and Alexander might find themselves in prison if they disobeyed. Or worse. Maria shuddered.

Maria looked at her husband, still unconscious. She would tell him when he stirred, whenever that would be. In the meantime, she would have to organise the costumes she and Alexander would have to wear. Looking at her husband again, a little smile creased her features. For the first time in ages, Maria was going to have some fun. And at her husband's expense.

When a bleary Alexander staggered out of their bedroom, Maria showed him the missive and the note. As she expected, he glanced at them and told her to arrange everything. Maria smiled at her husband's foolishness. A better man would have told her to get him plain women's things only and would have insisted on inspecting them before he wore them. But this was lazy, foolish Alexander. Alexander, by leaving it all to her to arrange, was about to get exactly what he deserved.

The following day, the estate was inundated with tailors and dressmakers, who had heard of the invitation and had naturally flocked to the estate hoping to make a lot of money. Alexander had gone to a neighbour's estate for more gambling. His absence made things easier for Maria.

Maria selected a tailor for her own outfit. She was going in the full uniform of a Hussar Colonel. The tailor measured her and assured her that the costume would be ready on time and delivered to the estate.

The dressmaker was then summoned. Maria knew her husband's measurements and gave them to her. She then outlined exactly what she wanted. The dressmaker had to suppress her laughter at the clothes, underwear and shoes that she was being asked to provide for the count.

It was the night of the Grand Ball. Alexander and Maria had been given a room at the Imperial Palace. A trousseau containing their outfits had been delivered to the room. It was time to get changed. Alexander was busy in the bathroom, so Maria slipped into her Hussar's outfit of rough drawers, thick socks, heavy tunic and trousers, knee high boots, a sword and a shining helmet. Maria thought that her costume made her look more manly and smiled.

Alexander emerged, complimented her on her costume and asked where his was. Maria pointed to a mass of material on the four poster bed that was theirs for the night. Maria bade him to get undressed as she would need to help him with his costume.

Soon, Alexander was naked. Maria handed him a pretty, lace-edged, silk chemise and he put it on over his puny chest. White silk stockings were put on his slender legs. She then gave him a pair of white silk drawers, covered all over with lace and with little pink ribbons. Alexander looked at them for a moment, but put them on. The frilly drawers came right down to his ankles.
Maria then produced the pink satin covered corset and put it around Alexander's body and then took great pleasure in lacing him into it. Alexander squealed in protest and found that once the laces had been tied, he was quite incapable of removing it without help. His mobility was greatly impaired and the garment was uncomfortable to wear. Maria then produced a mass of lace petticoats and made Alexander step into them. The pink ballgown, much adorned with ruffles, frills and ribbons, followed. Maria then applied full make up to his face, put a towering blonde wig, festooned with ribbons and flowers, on his head and fitted a pair of jewelled and very high heeled shoes to his feet. Rings were put onto all his fingers, a heavy necklace was put on him and diamond earrings were attached to his earlobes.

Maria had, quite deliberately, chosen the most feminine and restrictive of garments possible, far more overly feminine than anything she would ever wear herself.

Alexander staggered with difficulty over to a mirror on his jewelled heels and gasped with shock. He might well be shocked, for the pretty girl staring back at him, with a tiny waist, huge skirts and very feminine features, was undistinguishable from a real lady. Worst of all, from Alexander's point of view, the skirts of his dress were (quite deliberately!) short enough to allow the frills of the lower part of drawers to be seen. Maria stifled giggles. He looked more like a woman than she ever had.

"Maria, I can't go to the Grand Ball dressed like this! What have you done to me?"

Maria shrugged "You did leave me to arrange everything, so I thought it would be fun for you to be a beautiful girl, rather than a plain one".

"You stupid woman! I'll be humiliated! There must be something else I can wear!"

"There isn't. And the Empress is waiting for us to make our appearance. You'll just have to make the best of things".

Alexander looked at her pathetically "You'll look after me won't you, Maria". He looked and sounded quite helpless.

In command, Maria took his arm "Of course I will. Don't worry, you look very beautiful".

They attended the ball, Maria completely at ease as a Colonel and Alexander struggling to walk in his impossibly high heeled shoes, voluminous skirts, corsetry and massive wig. He was hot, uncomfortable and deeply embaressed to be seen dressed as elegantly as a courtesan. The other guests were looking at him with great interest and especially at his frilly drawers, which became highly visible as soon as he moved. His skirts and petticoats rustled so that he could not help but attract attention.

He was angry at his wife for choosing this ridiculous outfit for him, but he was also completely dependent on her to look after him when he was so vulnerable and he clung to her arm. But he would punish her for this humiliation once they were home!

Alexander suddenly became aware of another presence. The Empress herself, dressed in the uniform of an Admiral. She looked very boyish and masculine and there was a mischevious twinkle in her eyes.

Alexander instinctively attempted to bow, but he found that this now impossible in a corset and petticoats, so he had no choice but to attempt a curtsey. He almost fell flat on his face as he tried to copy the obesiance expected from noblewomen, and would have done so had Maria not been there to steady him. Once he was on his feet, Maria gave the Empress a smart bow and introduced herself and her husband.

Alexander was humilated that the Empress was seeing him dressed as he was. But, the Empress was very complimentary about both their appearances, especially his "You make a very splendid woman, Count Vorochova!" she had said "And you wear such pretty drawers!" she smirked "By far the best costume worn by a man tonight and my favourite!" Then the imperial presence was gone.

Alexander went from shame for elation! They been noticed and complimented by the Empress. Who knew what favour might follow? A position in the government, or the army, for himself, perhaps, or a lucrative grant of estates. He turned to his wife and kissed her in gratitude "You clever little thing!" he said "You knew what you were doing all along - trying to get us noticed!"

Maria had not intended for this outcome to occur, but at least her husband was now grateful to her.

He was elated a month later when he received a letter from the Empress herself. He had torn open the letter hoping to find he had been given estates or a place in the government. Maria saw his face go white when he read the contents.

Maria was worried. Perhaps they had displeased the Empress in some way. Rulers were fickle. "What's wrong Alexander?"

He handed the letter to her. When she read it she burst out laughing "By command of her Imperial Majesty, the Empress Catherine, Count Alexander Vorochova is to be transferred to the Imperial Court and to serve her as a lady in waiting". Not exactly the position at court he had been expecting! But given the eccentricities of their ruler, not entirely unexpected. Maria thought that it was a role that her pretty but useless husband was well qualified to perform.

A trousseau had been delivered along with the letter and Maria opened it to find expensive gowns, jewellery, shoes and masses of exquisite and dainty underwear. This was what her husband would have to wear at court in his new role as a male lady in waiting.

Later that day, a crest-fallen Alexander left the estate, wigged, gowned, corsetted, petticoated, and fully made up. It was quite impossible to identify any trace of masculinity in the elegant young woman lifting her skirts high in order to enter the coach and revealing that she was wearing white frilly and re-ribboned pantaloons and jewelled, absurdly high heeled shoes. She looked every inch the lady in waiting that she was to be to the Empress.

With Alexander occupied with his new ladylike existence, Maria could run the estate without any interference from him and without him spending the revenues frivilously. Maria had decided to adopt male attire and reflected how the roles of her and Alexander had been completely reversed. She was now in trousers and the master of the estate and he was now powerless and obliged to wear the frills and lace that expressed his femininity.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Shiny Boys: Boyhood in the 21st Century

"From Mommy's Little Soldiers to Pampered Princesses - the feminisation of Boys" by Jasmine Tomlinson, 15 February 2015.

"At the beginning of the 1970's, the world was a very different place. Men were better educated, better paid and held higher status jobs as compared to women. In the main, the sexes had very narrow and defined roles. Man was the provider and protector, whilst woman was the homemaker and childraiser"

Yet, in less than 40 years, all that has been turned on its head. Girls are now dominant in schools and universities. Women have moved out of the home and into the workplace whilst men are being pushed out of the workplace by changes in the economy which favours female talent, and into the home.

In 2010, 4 househoulds out of ten in the USA had a woman as the main wage earner and only 40% of undergraduates at universities in the USA were male. Young women now outearned men of the same age range by a significant margin, threatening not to end, but to reverse, the gender pay gap. The rest of the western world and even such male-dominated societies as China and Japan, report similar disparities between male and female achievement (or lack of in the case of the males) in the education system and the workplace.

These statistics are hard enough for the fragile male ego to take on board, but what would an adult male of, say, 30 years ago, if he saw what was going on in the homes of the super-rich women and their middle class sisters. The upper and middle classes are now dominated by successful and wealthy women, who want their daughters to enjoy the same wealth and success as they have had had.

Nowadays, a girl is brought up to believe that she is capable of doing anything she wants to do. And she is taught from the cradle that she is better than a mere boy in every way. Girlhood in the 21st Century has been totally transformed into a quasi-masculinity, based on independence, ambition, assertiveness and competition, along with a necessary dash of femininity.

Most 21st Century girls would not be seen dead in a dress or skirt, or doing activities such as ballet or dance. They are more interested in their studies, or sports.

As women are now the dominant gender, their expectations of their daughters have changed. A clever daughter is now being groomed as the heir apparent to her mother's wealth and fortune.

A son, on the other hand, is being groomed for a very different role. One that runs contrary to the notions of traditional boyhood.

In the past, boys were brought up to be the natural leaders, adventurous, reckless, tough and independent. They were called "Little Soldiers" by their mothers. Girls, in petticoats, were willing to follow and were characterised by being sweet and pliant, but now, like much else in the changing balance of power between the sexes, all this had been inversed in the homes of the super rich.

I visited the home of Felicity Scott, a US Senator, a stunning woman who stood over six feet tall and was dressed in a trouser suit. She should have been the centre of attention. Her status and her appearance almost assured it. But alongside her and holding her hand, was a boy attired in a shiny pink frock, white lace petticoats, lacy anklets and a pair of black, shiny mary janes. It was his appearance that caused a real stir.

The boy was clearly embarressed to be seen dressed like this. His fair haired head was bowed down and his face was red. But he looked very sweet and feminine. His mother made him play with his dollies whilst she spoke to me. The boy was on the verge of tears as he stomped off to brush the hair of one of his dolls.

Senator Scott glanced after him before speaking to me "Poor Roscoe has had a hard time adjusting to his new world" the Senator explained "But it's for his own good. His grades at school were poor and he was disruptive in class and obnoxious. Spanking him and grounding him had no impression, so I did some research and found lots of articles on petticoat punishment and decided to try it".

"You can see the results. He hates every minute of having to wear dresses and frilly underthings, but he looks so pretty and although he resents it, he is better behaved and even his grades have improved. I never realised boys could be made to look so pretty! He's gonna hate me for this, but I mean to keep him dressed this way until I can find him a strong woman to marry him and take care of him".

Hearing all this, Roscoe's eyes filled with tears.

I next visited a retail outlet "Pretty Miss" which in the past would have been considered a place to purchase clothing, underwear and shoes for little girls. But these days, the clientele are mothers, outfitting their sons, not their daughters.

"Pretty Miss" is a treasure house of feminine clothing. There are shiny frocks of all colours, shiny black mary-janes that cater for all feet sizes, frilly and lacy anklets, endless shiny or lacy petticoats and exquisitely frilled knickers of all colours. They also do cute little baby bonnets, nappies and baby mitts and booties. And they cater for all shapes and sizes, from a real baby right up to an adult male.

I spoke to the proprietor, Mary Smallwood, an elderly lady who says "When I started this business, 30 years ago, it was all girls. A boy would not even consider entering this place. Then girls coming here became fewer and fewer and I feared my business would have to close. The revenue was going down and down. Then, to my astonishment, about a year ago, women began bringing their boys here and asking me to outfit thing with everything a little girl, or even a baby girl in some cases, would wear! They kept coming in increasing numbers and keep on coming. Business has never been better but I never thought in my wildest dreams that my business would be catering solely for boys. I haven't seen a girl in this shop for almost two years, although they do hang around outside the shop to see what the boys look like once they are dressed up! I'm going to have to change the name of the shop, that's for sure. Pretty Mister. Has a nice ring to it, more appropriate anyhow!"

I witnessed boys being brought into the shop in a T-shirt and jeans and leaving in a frock and petticoats. To add to their humiliation, they are accompanied by their sisters, or girl cousins, who are dressed in shirts and jeans and witness his petticoating and the loss of his masculinity. There were scenes, as some of the boys tried to resist their enforced feminisation, but the women always got their way.

Other than punishment for misconduct, which all boys (and girls) are guilty of, I wondered if there was a deeper reason for this sudden craze to put boys into petticoats. I spoke to psychologist Lindsey Markham. "Punishment is one reason for what is being done to boys" she confirmed "But it's more to do with the role reversal that is going on right now between the sexes. Females are now the dominant sex and have left traditional femininity behind them. Girls are being pushed hard to be successful at school and in the workplace and are discouraged from being feminine. They are to be the new leaders and earners, not their brothers any more. In the meantime, boys are being made to fill the feminine roles left behind by their sisters. Boys are now required to look pretty and to become feminine in dress and behaviour in place of the girls. Also, a feminised boy can't hope to compete with his sister. Boys are being feminised to be less of a threat and less competition to females. Men did it to women and now women are in control, they are doing it to men, starting with the boys but I bet it'll start happening to the men before long. It's payback time".

Weirdly, it's not the women who are doing the bulk of the feminising. All super rich and middle class women work full time in demanding, but well paid, jobs. They simply don't have the time to feminise their sons full time. But their househusbands do. I met up with Tony Collins, househusband to his wife, Melanie, who is a high-flying attorney earning a seven figure salary a year. "I used to work in construction" Tony said "But my wages were like spare change compared to what Mel earned. When the boys came along, it made sense for me to stay at home and mind them full-time".

Tony introduces me to his boys, Aaron, aged 11, and Josh, aged 7. Aaron is dressed in the usual shiny pink frock, petticoats etc, and like little Roscoe I met earlier, he was red-faced and scowling at the indignity of being dressed in this way. Little Josh was dressed in the classic ballerina's costume of pink tutu, leotard, tights and silk ballet slippers. He wore a bow in his fine long brown hair. Unlike his brother, he was entirely comfortable with the way he was dressed. He was a cheerful, happy child, practising ballet moves and even pirouettes.

"I can't get him out of that darned ballerina's outfit" Tony confesses "He wants to be a ballerina when he grows up. I sometimes can't believe that he started out as a boy! He doesn't miss his boy's clothes and toys at all".

He looks at his eldest son, a vision of glowering pink and frills and speaks to me in a low voice "Aaron has taken having to wear a dress really hard. He used to be the quarterback on the soccer team. Now he's a cheerleader and has to cheer for the squad he used to play for! He absolutely hates his life".

Then why do you make him live a life he hates, I ask him. Tony looks around, as if to check his high-flying attorney wife is not around to overhear. "Mel told me I was to dress the boys this way and bring them up to be all feminine. She calls the shots in this house as she brings in the money and...she threatened that if I did not do as she said...she would put me in a dress! And she can do it too!".

I was astonished that firstly, this man was so afraid of his wife that he would willingly feminise his sons rather than cross her, and that, second, the boys were being feminised by their father, who is supposed to be their male role model and from whom they learn masculinity.

Aaron and Josh, Tony tells me, will be going to an exclusive academy for young gentlemen, to broaden their experience of femininity, for Mel treats her sons almost as a status symbol. "Mel" says Tony with a hint of sadness, or even possibly resentment "brings her woman friends round here and gets Josh to dance for them in his ballerina's costume and Aaron to cheer for them in his cheerleading costume. The women absolutely love it". Feminising your sons, it seems, wins status and approval amongst the female elite.

Putting boys into petticoats would seem extreme enough, one might think, but some mothers are going further still. "Girl-less Beauty Pageants" are a new craze amongst the new female elite. Their sons, rather than their daughters, are now the constestants as their mothers and sisters look on from the audience stands. Boys as young as two years old are taking to the runway in designer gowns and even two piece bikinis. These budding beauties are taken to beauty salons, now largely abandoned by females and now catering for an increasingly male clientele, and are plucked, tanned, depilated, coiffed and fully made up before being put into their gowns and kitten heels. Many of the contestants, even the youngest ones, have even had their tiny ears pierced and their lobes fitted with shining studs or earrings. "Girl-less Beauty Pageants" are considered to be the way forward to feminise young males and participation earns their mother status.

Naturally, the ambitious career woman will want her sons to participate in these contests and will force them into frocks, if necessary, to win the approval of her peers.

So far, this feminisation is taking place at the upper levels of society, where the woman is the breadwinner and has decided to make her sons pretty and her daughters to be ambitious and driven, just like herself. The working class is largely untouched by the phenomenon. It is a strange sight to see upper class boys in their frocks and petticoats attending their exclusive academies passing boys from the lower classes who are still clad in jeans and playing baseball.

But, it seems, it is only a matter of time before traditional notions of boyhood, conjuring up images of rough and tumble, sports and wargames, is redefined forever for all boys in the future to be shiny. Shiny dresses, shiny petticoats, shiny black shoes, shiny jewellery, shiny fingernails, shiny faces and shiny lips.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Rise of the Amazons - 2002

By the beginning of the first decade of the 21st Century, females had overtaken males academically and were beginning to do the same in the professional sphere.

Females were emerging as the new dominant gender. Males, once undisputedly the dominant sex, were naturally resentful at their relegation. Anti-female, reactionary groups began to emerge whose programme was to re-gain some of the ground that had been lost over the last five decades.

This posed a potential threat for womankind. As clever and talented as a woman was, nature still gave the man the advantage in terms of pure physical strength. Males were given this advantage at birth. To equal or exceed a man's strength, women had to do weight training, which was time consuming.

Fortunately, help was at hand. A pharmaceutical company founded, run by and staffed entirely by female scientists had been working to negate the one disadvantage of being born female. In 2002, the Amazon Pill was perfected.

The pill, when taken by a genetic female, would greatly increase her upper body strength and her leg muscles and give her increased strength and endurance.

As most governments were still male-dominated, the Amazon Pill had been produced in great secrecy in Switzerland, renowned as a sanctuary for secrecy. The product's existence was kept as a closely guarded secret and was originally only sold in small quantities to clients who could be trusted to keep their mouths shut.

Five years later, the original clients enjoyed having a huge and impressive musculature, and despite most of them being more mature ladies, their new muscles and fitness made them look younger than the day that they had first bought the product. It seemed that the Amazon Pill had an added benefit of being a youth serum also.

The authorities by this time had become aware of the drug. Its creators always knew that it would be impossible to keep under wraps forever and had prepared for this contingency. They set up bogus companies in the western world as a cover for the increased distribution of the drug to women generally. This increased the risk of the authorities obtaining samples of the drug, but it was hoped that by the time the authorities found out how to counter the drug, it would be too late.

One breakthrough for the distribution of the Amazon Pill was gaining the co-operation of all-female Mafia groups in various cities across the USA. These ladies were so tough that not even the Police would interfere with their activities. Naturally, the lady Mafia Bosses imbided the drug themselves and were gratified by the increase in their physical power, making them stronger than any mere male.

More and more women gained access to the Amazon Pill, despite the best efforts of the authorities, and more and more musclebound women could be seen stomping their way around the cities of the western world.

By 2012, scientists of the male-dominated west were thoroughly alarmed by the statistics that they were compiling. In only a few years, the average physical strength of women had increased by 40% in the samples that they had taken. Men's average physical strength, by comparison, had barely altered since records began. A significant mumber of women were now moving around in powerful bodies that Mr Universe would envy and were far stronger than the average man.

The scientists, and their political masters, were scared by this development and redoubled their efforts to get hold of a sample of the drug and analyse it. It was only a matter of time before this happened, but even then, obtaining the sample did the male elite no good.

Upon analysing the sample, the scientists deduced that it was only effective on genetic females and that its effects could not be reversed. The scientists could not come up with an antidote. Worst of all, if it was taken by a genetic male, it would have exactly the opposite effect than that upon a woman. The man's musculature would begin to atrophy, his body hair would cease to grow and his skin would become softer.

In short, a genetic male foolish enough to take the Amazon Pill would begin to develop a more womanly body. The Pill only had to be digested by a man once for these effects to develop, over many years for the single user and more rapidly if the male was a more frequent user.

The scientists realised with horror that, if allowed to be distributed generally, the innocent looking pink pill would turn women into super Amazons and men into puny pygmies. The male elite outlawed the drug and imposed the stiffest possible sentences on anyone caught in possession of what President Munroe described as "the most evil, vile, perverse conconction ever devised by woman" and as a "threat to the wellbeing of the entire world".

The military and the secret services searched in vain for the female scientists behind the invention and tried to stamp out use of the drug. But, like in their battles against more main stream drugs, whilst they might find one horde, several other hordes got through undetected. The governments were losing the war against the Amazon Pill.

By now, most women in the western world took the Amazon Pill and were physically more powerful and impressive than any male. Women were now literally the stronger sex. Their male partners felt tiny and fragile and awed by their Amazonian partners. They were acutely aware of how easily a woman could defeat them in any physical endeavour from arm wrestling to heavy weight lifting. Men went about in fear of upsetting their powerful partners and became more submissive and docile as a result.

The confidence of women in their new bodies soared as they realised that they had attained what was thought to be impossible a century earlier: women were now smarter AND stronger than men! And there was nothing anyone could do to stop it. Not even the scientists who had created the Amazon Pill knew how to undo its effects.

Men now had to date women who had muscular, hairy bodies, and were far stronger and more masculine than they were. Women gradually decided that they did not like their men to have any muscle or body hair and therefore made their male partners take the Amazon Pill to make them more feminine.

By 2060, most women in the western world had the physique of bodybuilders and hairy, hard bodies, whilst their men were puny, hairless and had softer skin. Feminine clothing did not look good on a muscular body, so women wore trousers or shorts. Feminine clothing, however, now did look good on the girlish body of the 21st century male, and women now liked their men to adorn their soft, perfumed bodies in the lace, silk and frills that women had once worn before they had become Amazons.

The wonder drug, the Amazon Pill, had completely reversed the physique of the genders. Woman had become strong and man had lost his stake in masculinity and had become not even womanly, but merely girlish, by comparison.

Except for the "unadapted", now in the minority, the world was populated by women... and girls.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Powder Blue Dress - 2010

Sally Harper came down from her room to sit with her parents and younger brother at the dinner table, with her head bowed.

Thirteen year old Sally was captain of the girls' soccer team and regularly represented her school in athletics, mainly running, which she was especially good at. For a girl, she was physically strong and athletic.

But right now she did not feel powerful or athletic. This was because she had been made to wear her frock, instead of trousers that she preferred. The satin, powder blue dress left her arms and legs exposed and had frills and lace on the hems. The skirt (which Sally privately thought was too short) was pushed out by layers of lacy petticoats and Sally had a job to keep her white frilly knickers hidden from view.

On her feet, Sally wore a pair of shiny black mary-jane shoes with a bright silver buckle and lacy anklets. Around her neck, Sally wore a heart shaped pendant.

Sally was deeply embarressed to be dressed in this way. She considered herself to be a modern girl and therefore entitled to wear trousers, as most of her girlfriends did, not a little girls' outfit from her mother's childhood. She would feel totally humiliated if her friends saw her like this!

Sally had to dress like this as soon as she returned from school and was not allowed outside to play in case she got her dress dirty.

But her mother had old fashioned views about how girls should be brought up and so brought her daughter up in exactly the same way she had been raised more than thirty years earlier. It had not helped that her parents had married and had their family later in life than most people. Sally's parents were already in their early fifties.

As old as they were, thought Sally, they must be aware of how much the world had changed since they had been children. Girls no longer dressed like this! She longed to say it, but knew her mother would punish her if she did. Sally bit her tongue and kept silent.

Her parents, already silver haired, said how pretty and enchanting she looked, but it was her brother, Robert, who disturbed her most. He couldn't take his eyes off her. Uncomfortable with this, Sally found an opportune moment, when her parents were clearing up the debris of their meal to hiss at him "Will you stop looking at me! It's bad enough being dressed like this without you gawping at me!"

"Sorry" answered Robert "It's just that.....". Then he clammed up as their parents returned and told them they could leave the table. Robert and Sally's father went off to watch TV. There was a football match on that Sally wanted to see, but she had to put on a frilly apron and help her mother with the dishes. Even more annoyingly, her brother had absolutely no interest in football.

In fact, Sally thought as she tied on her apron, whilst she was strong, athletic and energetic and interested in all kinds of sports, her brother was small and puny (even allowing for the fact that he had not yet reached puberty), preferred studying or reading to physical activity and was hopeless at sports. He was always the last person to be picked for a team in PE, as he had poor co-ordination and stamina. Watching him play football was almost an entertainment in itself, since he was so inept at it.

Sally fumed that Robert was watching football just because he was a boy, whilst Sally was excluded. Because she was a girl. Sally went to bed thinking life was so unfair to her!

The following day was a saturday and Sally had lain awake the previous night dreading its coming for they were to visit Uncle David and Auntie Flora and she would be made to wear that darned frock and all the frillies that went with it when she wanted to go out and play football.

The family were dressed up and ready to go when the phone rang. Father went to answer it and when he came back his face was white. His mother had had a fall and had been taken to hospital. He and mother were going to the hospital to see her. The visit to their uncle and aunt was off. As Father went off to telephone them to let them know, Sally felt conflicting emotions of concern for her gran and relief that she would not be going anywhere dressed as she was.

Mother turned towards her children "I'm sorry about this kids".

Robert and Sally told her not to worry about it.

Mother said "Sally, I've no time to organise a babysitter. We have to leave right away. I'm leaving you in charge. Do you think you can look after your brother for a few hours?"

Sally was indignant that, aged thirteen, her mother thought she should require a sitter but she supposed her current appearance made her look younger and more childish than she actually was, so she suppressed her indignation and said "Of course, mama".

Mama patted her on the head "Good girl. We'll be back soon". With a wave, their parents left. Once their car disappeared from view, Sally said "Finally. A chance to go outside and play football!"

But, even as she said it, Sally realised that she had no clothes suitable for her plan. She did not own a single pair of trousers and her sports kit was drying on the line. She thought for a minute and turned to her brother "Robert...can I borrow some of your clothes?"

Her brother looked startled at the question, as he had been staring at her again and said "Why do you want to borrow some of my clothes?"

"So I can go out. I'm certainly not going out like this! I'd be a laughing stock!"

"But mama said we were to stay indoors" said Robert "You're supposed to be looking after me".

"You're twelve years old, not a baby. Neither of us need babysitting. Mama still thinks it's the 1970's. And she didn't say anything about staying indoors. You can come out too, if you want. Can I borrow some of your clothes?"

Robert seemed disappointed that Sally wanted to go out, but agreed to loan her some of his clothes. Ten minutes later, the hated frock and underthings had been discarded and Sally was wearing jeans, a T-shirt and trainers. They were a tight fit, but they would do.

"Are you coming Robert?" Sally asked.

Robert shook his head "No, I'll stay here. I've a book I want to finish".

"You'll be OK for a few hours, won't you?" Sally asked him. She was actually relieved that she wouldn't have to share a football pitch with her athletically challenged brother.

Robert nodded. Sally noticed that his gaze was fixed on the dress that Sally had just taken off and which was hanging on a hanger on the door of his wardrode. Sally thought that her brother's behaviour was weird. What was so special about a dress? Still, time was a wasting, and so Sally left him.

For the next two hours, Sally had the time of her life playing football. An informal boys versus girls match had been organised and the girls had won 4-2. Sally had scored a hat-trick and was flushed with triumph.

Then her heart almost stopped as she saw her parents marching towards her. Sally knew she was in big trouble.

"Sally Harper, come here at once!" her mother demanded in a shrill voice. The crowd of boys and girls around her fell silent. Fearfully, Sally moved towards her mother. What punishment was she going to receive for this?

"Why are you outside and why are you dressed like a boy?" Mama demanded, but before Sally could find an answer, her father interupted "Perhaps we should go home and talk about this there" he suggested "Rather than make a scene in front of a gang of children".

Mama nodded. Sally was escorted to the car and told to get in. She looked enviously back at her friends, who were beginning another match. Without her.

On the way home, Mama explained that gran's condition was not serious, so there had been no need to stay long. As they had driven past the sports field they had recognised Sally, especially as she had just scored the winning goal

When they arrived home, Mama was perplexed by the absence of Robert. There was no sound of movement anywhere in the house. Perhaps he went outside after all, thought Sally, but dismissed that thought when she saw his doorkey still on its place on a holder near the front door. Robert would never have left that behind. So he must still be in the house, Sally decided.

"He told me he was staying in" Sally ventured.

Mama turned and glared at her "This is all your fault, young lady. You were told to look..".

She was interupted by the sound of someone sneezing loudly. It had not been Sally or her father. Sally knew it must be her brother. Mama and father guessed it too.

"Robert? Are you up there? Come here at once!" Mama demanded.

There was the sound of a door opening, and a strange figure appeared at the top of the stairs. It was Robert, but to everyone's astonishment he was wearing Sally's powder blue frock. And her anklets and shoes. He was not, however, wearing the petticoats that went with the frock or, as far as Sally could see, her underwear.

There was a minute of stunned silence. Sally was highly amused as she realised that her brother's constant staring was not at her, but at the dress. Which he was dying to wear himself!

He actually looked very pretty in it, Sally decided. He had great legs, for a boy, and he was small, and he had rather feminine features. He would make a good looking girl!

Mama struggled to compose herself and finally found her voice "Robert, what are doing dressed like that? You look ridiculous!"

She's lying, thought Sally. He looks very pretty!

Mama turned to Sally "Did you put him up to this, or make him swap clothes with you?"

"No!" Sally said with such sincerity that Mama believed her. Sally realised that Mama was hoping that Sally had been responsible for her son's appearance. Now she had to face the truth that he had voluntarily worn the dress.

"Answer your mother, Robert!" father insisted. He was embarressed and confused by his son's dress.

Robert held his head up high and said "I wanted to wear this dress! I wanted to look pretty!" Sally was impressed by his courage, but her parents were less impressed.

"Go and take it off this instant! You are not to wear girls' things again, do you hear?" shouted father "You're a boy!"

But Robert did not move "I don't want to take it off! I won't!" he said defiantly.

Sally and her parents were stunned. Robert was a quiet, docile boy who did what he was told. Now he was actually standing up to his parents and rebelling. Over a dress, of all things.

Sally's parents were at a loss. They looked at each other, hoping to find inspiration, an answer, something, in each other. But they were both thoroughly perplexed. The only thing they could think of to do was to send the children to their rooms whilst they decided what to do.

Sally waited in her room for over an hour, still dressed in her brother's clothes, whilst he, she imagined, was in his room wearing hers. She could hear her parents talking downstairs, but couldn't make out what was being said. Occasionally, their voices rose in pitch and then sank to a murmur.

Eventually, they were summoned downstairs. Robert was still wearing the frock. To Sally's surprise, he slipped one of his hands into one of hers. Sally was touched by this show of affection.

Sally wasn't sure what to think about her brother. A boy who liked wearing dresses? What sort of boy was that. An uncharitable thought that a boy who wore a dress was no boy crossed her mind, but the dress had made him somehow braver and assertive.

They stood together in front of their parents, still holding hands.

Oddly, the parents seemed more awkward and nervous than the children. What had happened earlier was well outside their comfort zone and their perception of "normality". Finally, Mama spoke.

"Your father and I have decided upon your punishments" said Mama "Sally, I am very disappointed in you. I left you to look after your brother and you leave him to fend of himself to indulge in playing games. As for you, Robert, I don't even know where to begin! Wearing your sister's clothes! Talking back to your parents and being disobedient".

Mama paused to compose herself. Sally wondered what their punishments would be. Being grounded, being spanked, or losing their pocket money for a lengthy period were the usual penalties. But those were for lesser sins than the ones she and Robert had committed.

"We have decided that as you obviously like wearing each others clothes you may as well continue to do so. You will go to school in your normal clothes but once you are home Sally will have to wear boys' things and Robert will have to dress as a girl. You'll soon find that the novelty wears off and you will both realise how foolish you have been".

Sally did not feel like being made to wear boys' clothes was punishment and she suspected that Robert felt the same way about being dressed in girls' things.

The new regime was imposed immediately. The children were made to swap bedrooms, so that Sally now slept in a boy's bedroom and Robert occupied her old room. The children were sent to bed early but Robert now wore a pink nightdress and Sally wore a pair of boys' pyjamas.

The following day, Robert, dressed in the powder blue frock, was taken shopping by Mama. Sally noted with amusement that he now not only wore the frock, anklets and shoes, but also the frilly petticoats and, Sally suspected, knickers.

Sally was astonished by the sight of her brother when she saw him next. The powder blue frock had been replaced by a shimmering pink gown with puffy sleeves and a longer skirt. That skirt was pushed out almost to bursting point by masses of lacy, silken petticoats. Robert wore a necklace, a tiara and long gloves.

Sally could see what her mother was trying to do. By making Robert wear ultra-feminine clothes, far worse than Sally herself had ever had to wear, she was trying to make him so humiliated by the experience that he would give up girls' things for good.

Sally looked at Robert, expecting to see tears of shame or him stunned by what had been done to him. But he stood there, head held high and as proud as a princess and actually smiling prettily. Mama's face fell as she realised her strategy to wean her son off girly things was not only not working, but was fuelling his addiction to femininity.

Sally was impressed by her brother's appearance and resolve. He looked so pretty and yet, just like a real girl, had a steely will. She was also amused to see him occasionally lifting the hem of his skirt a little so that he, and anyone watching, would see a vision of white lace and silk. When Mama and Robert were out, Sally had a peek in his underwear drawer and her eyes feasted upon silken drawers with masses of ruffles and layers of lace and lace knickers. Sally would have died of shame had she been made to wear such overly feminine garments.

Mama next tried public humiliation, taking both children outside. Robert was in his pink gown and petticoats and Mama had even somehow managed to get pink hair ribbons into his hair, which was much too short, as an added attempt to humiliate him. Robert was made to push a buggy with a dolly in it, these relics of Sally's own girlhood having been excavated from the attic, cleaned up and put into service for the girlhood of her brother.

Sally was not bothered about her own appearance. Most girls wore what she was currently wearing. She looked normal. But she was nervous about how her feminised brother would be received.

But instead of laughter and finger pointing, Robert got compliments "What a pretty girl!", "What a little sweetheart!", "She looks so cute in that dress!", which pleased Robert no end. He was, Sally decided, more girl than boy. He was giggly, coy and affectionate. Mama's face crumpled. She ordered them to accompany her home.

Once they got home, Mama sat in silence. Her plan to make Robert give up his dresses and petticoats had completely backfired. He was more addicted to femininity than ever. Robert was currently playing with his dolls for heavens sake!

Finally, she rose and said "Robert, come and take my hand. You can help me in the kitchen. You can wear a pretty pinfore over your dress". Robert slipped a hand into hers and they went off together.

Sally stared after them in shock. In the battle of wills between her mother and her brother, her brother had won. Mama had given in to him and was letting him by the "girl" he wanted to be.

That evening, the family ate together. Mama and father had become reconciled to their children's change of dress. Sally was revelling in the freedom of wearing boys clothes. Her brother looked very sweet in her - no, his now - powder blue frock and layers of petticoats. Sally found herself staring at her brother. Sally was curious about what lay beneath that dress and the masses of petticoats even though she had once that same dress and those same petticoats herself in an earlier life. It was very odd.

Once the meal was over, Robert put on his pinny and helped his mother with the dishes, as a good "daughter" should, whilst Sally watched the football on TV with her father. Presently, Robert, sweet little thing that he was, brought them drinks, in his powder blue frock.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Suffragette Victory - An alternative reality

Since the dawn of humanity, with few exceptions, the roles of men and women were clearly defined. Man was the protector and the provider, whose masculine traits of aggression, stoicism, risk-taking and competitiveness stood him in good stead for the performance of his roles.

To womankind went the roles of homemaker and childraiser. Womanly qualities such as kindness, gentleness, nurturing, meekness and humility were encouraged in all females to win the approval of men.

Man's role and qualities meant that it was he who held the power and the wealth in society. With rare exceptions, any power women held was indirect. For example, a woman could use her sexuality or feminine wiles to influence a man to do her bidding.

Male dominance continued and was unchallenged for centuries. An agrarian economy valued brute strength and aggression. Even where intellectual horsepower was needed, men held the advantage, as they received education whilst most women did not. A woman was not only financially dependent on her man, but needed him to read and write for her also.

The edifice of male power began to crumble in the 19th century, as the agrarian economy was transformed by astonishing technological change into the industrial age. Although the new machines could do the work of many men, the economy needed more labour than ever to produce goods and commodities in massive quantities.

That meant that, in addition to male labour, employers increasingly needed female and even child labour. Women were employed in greater numbers than ever before. And they began to question why it was that they were paid less than men, had fewer rights than men and had more limited opportunities.

At least working class women got the chance to work. Upper and middle class women were married off and expected to sit at home all day being ladylike. Although they lived in greater comfort than lower class women, their existence was mind numbingly boring and unfulfilling by comparison.

Even female clothing, such as the corset, restricted a woman from doing anything too strenuous, whilst their underwear and outer clothing was designed to be pretty and flattering to the wearer, rather than practical.

By the dawn of the 20th century, woman had became aware that, as compared to man, she was disadvantaged and discriminated against from birth. She was determined to change that.

The Suffragette movement was born and grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and campaigned for equality for women. The struggle was not easy. Man would not willingly give up the advantage he held over woman. The Suffragettes were persecuted by the male dominated establishment. The struggle seemed hopeless, but the Suffragettes perservered.

In fact, the seeds of man's downfall had already been sown by the expansion of the new industrial economy. More women were working and earning their own income, albeit less than that of a man, which gave them a greater degree of financial independence than womankind as a group had ever enjoyed before. But the most significant development came in the form of educational reform. The new economy needed a better educated workforce and so most western nations made it compulsory for both boys AND girls to attend school.

The education of girls in the past had been seen as unimportant and so few girls received an education on the same basis as their brothers. On this basis, it was assumed that males were cleverer than females.

The educational reforms did not transform the prospects for girls overnight, for girls were still receiving a more limited and feminine orientated education than was provided for boys, but it was a giant step in the right direction, and opened up more opportunities for woman. The brightest girls even began to attend universities, which would have been unthinkable a generation earlier.

Suffragette agitation, and a weakening of resolve on the part of the male dominated elite, led to significant changes in the law. Divorce became easier for women to obtain, women could own property in their own right and women were generally awarded custody of their children on divorce.

The vote, the most crucial concession, was still out of reach.

This changed with the First World War. Previous wars had been small scale and had been fought only with professional armies. This new war was fought on a huge scale and demanded enormous quantities of material. And manpower. The small professional army could not keep up with the losses being inflicted upon it and so began conscripting men in large numbers. When the men left the offices and factories to fight, women were conscripted into the workforce in order to replace them.

Many working class women worked already, of course, but women of the middle and upper classes suddenly found fulfilment in working and using their minds. The wartime workforce became predominantly female and the new female workforce proved to be more productive and efficient at producing goods in large quantities than the males that they had replaced. Company Directors and Factory owners were impressed with their new workforce.

In November 1918, the First World War ended, and the men began to come home. But they came home to a different world from the one that they had left behind. For one thing, the holy grail that Suffragettes had been trying to obtain for decades, the vote, was granted to women by a grateful government that was relieved to be on the winning side and recognised that the war could not have been won without the contribution of women. Women could now vote in their own right and even stand for office. Politicians now had to take notice of them.

Second, employers were reluctant to let their female staff go in order for the men to have their old jobs back. Women, they found, were more efficient and more reliable than men. They simply refused to take most of the men back. Many men now found themselves unemployed and living on the wages of their wives or girlfriends, a startling and humiliating turnaround.

Sensing their new freedom and power, women began to take the leading role in bringing about more change. They put off their corsets and petticoats and lowered the hemlines of their skirts. Some of them even began to wear trousers. More girls than ever went to university and then entered the workforce in professional and managerial roles. Those women who supported their unemployed man began to make him pull his weight around the home whilst she was at work, threatening to withold the allowance she gave him unless he earned it in the home. Some men were even made by their wives to wear an apron when performing household duties.

Some men, mainly those who were single and had no income, were so desperate that they even applied for, and got, jobs as maids, and had to wear the complete uniform. The male maid was born.

But the most dramatic change came in the political arena. Leading Suffragettes and other women realised that having the vote and being able to stand for public office was all very well, but that change would still come about very slowly. The few female politicians around were still heavily outnumbered by the men and so had limited scope to bring about change.

What was needed was a national movement to put as many women into politics as possible. The population was 52% female. In theory, if all women voted for the party that represented women, womankind would sweep to power and then real change could begin.

But, of course, it was not quite that simple. Not all women were supporters of the Suffrage movement. Others were still conditioned to be in thrall to their husbands and voted for the same party as he did. A lot of women were not remotely interested in politics and did not even bother to vote.

The Suffragette movement had achieved its purpose, obtaining the vote. But it recognised that the vote alone was not enough. Women had to take control of the political machinery and change society in favour of women. Man had had his way for millennia, now it was woman's turn to take the lead.

The Suffragette movement became a national political movement and put up as many female candidates for public office as possible. It reached out to all women and girls, including the Girl Guides, Women's Institute and female undergraduates in universities, and even to a few men who were sympathisers of the movement.

Working women and female students, recognising that the movement represented the potential for real change, supported it financially and by being activists. The elections of 1927 saw the Suffragettes secure almost a third of the seats in the legislative body.

The male dominated establishment tried to do all that it could to derail the movement. It used the police to heckle and break up Suffragette rallies and used the press to pillory them. This actually worked against the establishment, as women who had previously been uninterested in politics became outraged at the treatment of their sisters and many became activists.

The growing Suffragette movement was helped along by global events. In 1929, the world economy went into depression following the Wall Street Crash, leading to businesses failing on a huge scale, mass unemployment (hitting men especially hard) and widespread hardship. Traditional, male dominated governments seemed to be at a loss as to how to cope with the crisis. People, both male and female, began to perceive that something new was needed.

The elections of 1930 returned its first Suffragette government in the United Kingdom. For the first time ever, Number Ten Downing Street was occupied by a woman, Dr Emily Shaw, a woman of middle class background who had gone to university and had become a Doctor. She was a Suffragette of long standing and knew exactly what she had to do.

Prime Minister Shaw did not hang about. Her first parliament passed the following laws:

1. The boards of companies had to be composed of a membership that was at least 50% female (there was no similar stipulation that 50% of the board had to be male)
2. Extra funding was made available to raise the academic performance of girls (no extra funding was made available for boys)
3. 50% of university places had to be awarded to females
4. In the interests of equality, men were required to do at least 50% of household and childcare duties
5. Programmes were to be set up for all men and boys to teach them homemaking and childcare skills
6. Women and girls were to attend special courses in carpentry, plumbing and electrical repair
7. Women were to be paid exactly the same wage as a man doing the same job
8. Workplace commissions were set up to police and report discrimination against women and had the power to discipline male offenders
9. Women would receive a "househusband allowance" if she was supporting a man who was not working
10. A work programme was set up for unemployed women, to educate and train them to enable them to enter the workplace. There was no equivalent programme for unemployed men.
11. 50% of the armed forces, police and civil service personnel had to be female.

Ten years later after these sweeping reforms, the UK was a greatly changed place from the way it had been just 20 years earlier. The Suffragettes were still in power, helped by legislation in successive parliaments to reduce male suffrage and increase female suffrage. By 1940, only males aged 45 and who owned property were allowed to vote. The voting age for females, meanwhile, had been reduced to the age of 16.

Parliament was now dominated by the Suffragette movement. The male dominated parties were reduced to a rump, powerless and impotent against a tidal wave of united female representatives, and unlikely to ever form a government again.

In schools, assisted by funding and special programmes to enhance their performance, girls were doing a lot better than the boys and now comprised 77% of university undergraduates. Women dominated the professions and the top echelons of the business world. Lower down the career ladder, many more women than men worked.

Man, meantime, had in a very short time, fallen from grace. He was now less well educated, less likely to be in employment or to hold any senior role in politics, business, the civil service or even the armed forces than woman. He was required, against his will, to spend 50% of his time cooking, cleaning and looking after his children, thus doing what he considered to be "women's work".

Most men in the UK in 1940 were also financially dependent on their wives or girlfriends, who held the best jobs. Women were by now perceiving that they now called the shots in their relationship. They were making their man do the lion's share of the housework and child rearing, even if he worked. They were even making men dress up in the traditional uniform of maids and housewives for revenge for the way they had treated women in the past.

For middle and upper class men, it was now their turn to sit at home, dressed in the way ladies had been at the turn of the century, complete with frilly drawers, corsets and petticoats, their function being to look pretty, but with their brains atrophying with boredom as their male maids took care of their every need.

An inversion of traditional dress for males and females was underway. Women and girls greatly preferred trousers and enjoyed making their menfolk wear the skirt and watching them squirm with the realisation that they were now the second sex and had to wear the uniform of the weaker sex.

Other countries followed the lead of the UK, including the USA, Germany, Italy and Russia. Hitler never attained power in Germany and Mussolini and Stalin were replaced by female politicians. The Second World War and the Stalinist purges never happened and so the ugliest chapter in human history was never written.

Woman in the western world entered the second half of the twentieth century in complete mastery of the political system, the economy, and, especially, man.