How Male Rompers Highlighted The Toxic Male Fragility And Homophobia In The Black Community
Clothes don't make a man gay.
In April, aChicago-based company, called ACED Design, introduced the Romphim, a traditional romper rebranded with a “masculine” name to appease male fragility. After posting a few teaser pictures of various frat-bros posing in their rompers on Instagram, the company began raising capital for their vision on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. What began as a modest project with a $10,000 goal quickly exploded into a pop-culture moment, meme fodder and a successful fundraiser: they surpassed their goal to the tune of over $300,000. Now, although the romper is a relatively gender-neutral outfit (it’s basically a short-sleeve button-up shirt combined at the waist with shorts), it is typically associated with women. It didn’t take long for the idea of men wearing an outfit that was considered “feminine” to ruffle the collective feathers of social media users worldwide. Despite it’s knock-out success, the “male romper” also received insults from people mired in toxic gender role ideology.
It quickly made it’s way to Black Twitter, Ebony, Instagram and the National Association of Colored Facebook Users. Funny memes followed, including one featuring football star (and fashion icon) Cam Newton: