Three stages of acceptance


1. Dismay
The first stage is complete dismay at something. People are put off by it and don’t know what to think. They may even seem hostile toward it because it’s new and/or different and they feel threatened by it.

2. Mockery
The second stage is mockery. At this point the initial shock is gone and peope just begin making fun of it. Imitating it in jest. But this stage shows that they have at least warmed up to it enough that it’s no longer foreign or threatening to them. They just haven’t accepted it yet as anything more than funny.

3. Acceptance
At this point people have grown comfortable enough with it through mockery that it becomes part of the every day culture. It’s so common at this point that it has worked itself into the culutral lingo/style/bedrock that it is now a staple or the culture. As a result, some people now begin awknowledging their liking/satisfaction with it. Either having grown on them over time or finally feeling safe enough to admit they always enjoyed it. It is now something that is innocent and fun and perfecty acceptable.

This is my basic rundown of the three stages of cultural acceptance. We’ve seen this play out over and over again in our culture as new things are presented. A couple examples off the top of my head would be black people and gays.

Black people were at one point conisdered savages and souless. They were to be feared or used. Eventually you ended up with black face comedies where black people were mocked. Then eventually after a lot of hard work and time, accepted as the human beings they are and given equal rights and respect. For the most part.

In my own lifetime I’ve seen the same thing happen with gay people. By my early childhood gay people were in the mocking stage. Comedy movies had flamboyant gay characters were were meant to laugh at because they are gay and that is supposed to be somehow funny. Now we’ve seen massive progress toward marriage equality in the western world and gay people being treated like everyone else. They are no longer there as a a comedic tool.

The same I beleive will eventually be true of men in skirts and other such traditionally feminine clothing. Right now in the media a man in a skirt is a comedy tool, we are in the mocking stage. Think of movies like Tootsie or Mrs. Doubtfire where the male character must dress in drag to achieve some goal and much comedy ensues. It is the overexagerated transvestite character that is portrayed in much the same way the flamboyant gay character or the black face character was. In every day life however, we are still somewhere between the dismay and mocking stage depending on the crowd/location you’re in. All of society never shifts completely from one stage to another at the same time. There are still backwood areas that are incredibly racist and even larger areas that are still anti-gay as that is more recent.

Culture isn’t like technology, it moves at a slower pace. Although technology certainly helps it move faster, peoples minds are harder to change older generations often need to die off and offset by younger generations before real change happens. It may be 100 years before men are seen freely walkin around in skirts and other traditionally feminine waredrobe without a second glace or thought. In the same way that today we never take a second glace or thought about women in pants.

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  1. It has been said that in physics the acceptance of a new theory is incremental-one funeral at a time.

    Actually, one of the moderators at Skirt Cafe was becoming impatient with me when I suggested change on a generational time scale. To put it another way….the dinosaurs with outdated ideas have to age and die off….

    When you look at the history of women going the other way, this is the sort of time scale we find. Yes, at least a century for society to make a complete transition.

  2. My previous comments refer to trousers as mainstream wear for women. I think a relevant comparison if you think of skirt like (but designed for men) garments becoming mainstream wear for men.

  3. Michael Spookshow ( suggested that freestyling may become an accepted subculture. If so, we may be seeing the first signs of this-people making initial contact with each other online. Perhaps this grouping is too few and too scattered to have formed before the Internet. I agree with Spookshow that the average male is unlikely to adopt much that is deemed feminine. But I agree with Spookshow that that is okay! 🙂

  4. I should explain a point I’m trying to make-acceptance on a non-conforming group may be more quickly obtained than changing the mainstream culture. Changing the mainstream culture means overcoming enormous inertia.

  5. I think that gay people got as far as they have because they formed a group. Otherwise, they would have been isolated individuals. So the first step in change…is forming a group.

  6. I believe that gay people developed their own venues, as well as there own group. Black people, I believe, had their own churches at an early date.

    In other words, settings in which their groups were the mainstream-something to consider if your group is scorned.

    For the “T” part of LBGT we may be seeing the earliest “T” venues.

  7. I was thinking about the T kid summer camp, and a comment I once made to Bluestocking Blue (Vivienn’s blog). I had been watching “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra”, which was largely set in a cabin in the woods, and the surrounding countryside. I posted a comment to the blog, in which I thought a similar arrangement might work as a venue in the near future.

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