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Torphinian
03-20-2006, 10:48 AM
Wikipedia has the following entry under Scottish Apparel:

"Male apparel includes kilts, sporrans, and ghillies. Gillies, or Gillie Brogues are traditional thick soled shoes with no tongues and long laces. ..."

"Female apparel also includes women's shoes called 'Gillies' that are tied on the same way, but have thin soles for indoor wear and dancing. Traditionally, women do not wear kilts, but may wear ankle length tartan skirts. A tartan sash or shawl may also be worn to indicate Scottish Clan affiliation. Women may also wear 'Dress Tartans' which are modified to include white threads woven into the patterns. 'Dress Tartans' were intended to demonstrate prosperity because the wearer could wear the tartan without fear of it being soiled."

So...if tradition plays such a large role in piping/drumming (anyone want to argue that one???), why do today's women pipers/drummers dress in the traditional garb of Scottish men? Saw a Galician pipe and drum corps at the Worlds this year and the men and women did not dress the same. Should we consider something similar?

Gene

Jan
03-20-2006, 11:46 AM
It's a matter or economics for a band. It's just easier and cheaper to purchase the same kilts and shirts, etc. for everyone, rather than to purchase skirts for the women and kilts for the men. By buying all kilts, if a woman leaves the band, the band will have a kilt they can pass on to a woman or a man. If she wore a skirt, only another woman could use it. Let's face it, pipe bands are still a "man's world" and more men participate than women. A skirt will sit longer waiting to be used than a kilt will.

EquusRacer
03-20-2006, 11:47 AM
"Uniform" has more than one meaning.

Macswegan
03-20-2006, 01:20 PM
And Wikipedia is not as authoritative as all that.

Celtic Mitch
03-20-2006, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by Jan:
It's a matter or economics for a band. It's just easier and cheaper to purchase the same kilts and shirts, etc. for everyone, rather than to purchase skirts for the women and kilts for the men. By buying all kilts, if a woman leaves the band, the band will have a kilt they can pass on to a woman or a man. If she wore a skirt, only another woman could use it. Let's face it, pipe bands are still a "man's world" and more men participate than women. A skirt will sit longer waiting to be used than a kilt will. Um Jan...No. A band perscribes a uniform so that's what everyone wears, male or female. Economics have nothing to do with it. I would not now or ever wear a long kilted skirt and frilly shirt just because I'm a woman and if a particular band's uniform required woman to dress like that, I'd look for another band.

ladypiper47
03-20-2006, 02:50 PM
Mitch, I agree with you that the only uniform I would wear in a band was the one that everyone else was wearing. I was offered frilly cuffs excetera to add to my uniform (years ago) but I politely turned it down.

Awhile ago we had a thread about this, and we seemed to come to concensus that the band was about the uniformity of appearance and performance not about the gender of the players.

Celtic Mitch
03-20-2006, 02:54 PM
Exactly ladypiper! If playing in a pipe band is about being an individual and looking different, next thing people will want special tunes (with all the hard stuff cut out), smaller instruments, lighter drums, easier reeds..and it goes on and on...could be a reason why some bands are not that big on having women in them.

If you want to wear different stuff than the rest of the band, compete in solo's and wear it then.

Cdrummer87
03-20-2006, 03:41 PM
Good lord! Can you imagine trying to march with instruments (in my case a drum), play (in my case flourish!) in a band scenario (highland games...in...what the heck, in California for example. San Diego, two years back. Rain, wind, mud, wet grass...) In a dress tartan skirt, frilly poofy sleeved shirt, soft-soled ghillies??!!?? And what I've seen ladies at the games wearing to keep warm in such an outfit is usually a shawl or a cloak!

I'll take the man's uniform any day. 8lb kilt, kilt hose, ghillie brogues, shirt, tie, prince charlie, and glen...bring it on! Not only is it more practical...I'd prefer to blend in. It's a morale thing...everybody is part of the same group, there for a common purpose...I wouldn't want to stand out like that.

If you're going to fuss about how you look...just polish your buttons and your ghillie brogues and get out there and play! :)

Margaret
03-20-2006, 10:59 PM
Originally posted by Cdrummer87:
Good lord! Can you imagine trying to march with instruments (in my case a drum), play (in my case flourish!) in a band scenario (highland games...in...what the heck, in California for example. San Diego, two years back. Rain, wind, mud, wet grass...) In a dress tartan skirt, frilly poofy sleeved shirt, soft-soled ghillies??!!?? You've just described what dancers wear (sort of) - :D

Torphinian
03-21-2006, 06:02 AM
So, I take it that there are no votes for the Scottish equivalent of this:
http://www.fell-walker.co.uk/cambados4.jpg

I'm not lobbying but rather asking the question why it is that women pipers/drummers have ended up in men's dress rather than following women's traditional dress. I'd suspect that piping/drumming has been historically a 'man's thing' in the Scottish sphere whereas in Galicia it was not gender marked. I might be wrong - just guessing on that.

Gene

Cdrummer87
03-21-2006, 12:07 PM
Originally posted by Margaret:
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by Cdrummer87:
<span style="font-weight: bold"> Good lord! Can you imagine trying to march with instruments (in my case a drum), play (in my case flourish!) in a band scenario (highland games...in...what the heck, in California for example. San Diego, two years back. Rain, wind, mud, wet grass...) In a dress tartan skirt, frilly poofy sleeved shirt, soft-soled ghillies??!!?? You've just described what dancers wear (sort of) - :D </span></div></div>Well yes, that is true, and I know that's what the dancers wear- my little sister is a highland dancer. :) And it suits them for what they do. My point was meant for a band setting. With a drum on my leg and trying to flourish my drum sticks with all that puffy-sleeved lacy stuff in the way...not to mention marching in soft ghillies? I (personally) see little practicality in that. And on top of that is the fact that it isn't in uniform. We all have to look the same...either we dress in the "man's" uniform...or...I don't know, they dress in the traditional women's clothing to match us? :shrug: :lol:

scarhandpiper
03-21-2006, 12:07 PM
Every time I've played an event, they've wanted us to march up stairs (and down). You can't do that in a long skirt without holding it up with one hand to keep from tripping, and most pipers and drummers don't have a third hand to do that whilst playing. Although those long skirts are beautiful, I'd never wear one while playing and marching. Maybe I'm just a clutz, but I don't want to break my nose a 3rd time!!!

Cdrummer87
03-21-2006, 12:15 PM
And I think ?? Perhaps the reason we didn't go to the tradtional womens wear when women became involved in pipe band was because as far as Pipe Bands go...what we are wearing now is the traditional wear. :shrug: Traditionally pipe bands wear this, therefore...we...wear it? (::oh good going captain obvious: :) ) hahahahaha :wink:

Jan
03-21-2006, 12:51 PM
Um Jan...No. A band perscribes a uniform so that's what everyone wears, male or female. Economics have nothing to do with it. I would not now or ever wear a long kilted skirt and frilly shirt just because I'm a woman and if a particular band's uniform required woman to dress like that, I'd look for another band.
Um, Mitch.... Yes, economics is as valid a reason to have everyone wearing kilts as are the reasons that it is 'tradition' or it is 'a band uniform' or 'I wouldn't be caught dead in a frilly shirt'. It is certainly possible to have a uniform looking group while having the men and women wear something different. Take a look at the military dress uniforms. Women do not wear men's uniforms. The are similar in style and color but are made differently for women and men.

When I joined my band I was the only woman and was told that if I would rather wear a skirt than a kilt, I could. Even though I would look better in a skirt, I made the personal choice to wear the kilt so I that would not have to purchase my own skirt. In this case, economics dictated that I wear the kilt.

So to answer the original question, there are many reasons why band outfit their women in kilts, some certainly more personal than others.

Celtic Mitch
03-21-2006, 01:10 PM
Um...Jan....there are tons of bands out there that have a bevvy of cash supply and I don't see their women players dressed any different. A band uniform applies to all band members, this is not the military where they seem to want to point out the difference between the sexes. In a band, you're a band player. I have never heard of a band up in this neck of the woods or over the big water that gives the female section a choice of a skirt or a kilt. Maybe if it is written in the bands constitution that women shall wear frilly shirts, skirts and a thong, then that would be a different case. I still wouldn't play for that band :lol: :eek:

EquusRacer
03-21-2006, 03:35 PM
Would you two--Jan and Mitch--care to join me for a pint? We'd realize in two sips that you've both hit on some of the reasons and choices.

Yes, economics is a factor in some bands. Logistics--or, rather, the headache for the lucky one storing uniforms--is another.

Preference is a big factor. I know many women who wouldn't be caught dead in the "wicked witch" shoes, for instance, or other variations to ghillie brogues. Likewise, I know that the guys in my band wouldn't approve of having a different uniform, although many admit that the "military" style ones aren't the most flattering (and, again, many women would agree with that).

And in this case, it's not economics. It's because of the desire for a uniform look, rather than showcasing gender differences.

So mix philosophy, choice, uniformity, economics, logistics and every other influencing element together and you come up with the fact that it's individual to the band, as well as subjective.

I'll leave it to the rest, however, to debate if there should be a change to this (though I think I know where that would head). Peace! :hatoff:

Kitfox
03-21-2006, 04:00 PM
Well,

As Arvey R. McFarland wrote:

"As a rule, female piping competitors dress in male Highland attire, and to me this is very odd indeed. I can neither imagine, nor remember, attending a piano, violin, or operatic competition where females dressed in tuxedos!
I remember seeing Patricia Henderson compete in Scotland, and rather than dress as a man in Highland attire, she wore a kilt skirt, jacket, blouse, and shoes that were colour co-ordinated, complimented her gender, and enhanced the dignity and poise of her outstanding performance."

Richard Strayer
03-21-2006, 04:38 PM
I think that if the woments are going to dress in men's clothing, then perhaps it's time to start outfitting some of the guys in kilt skirts and sashes. I mean, if you're going to encourage band members to cross-dress, why be gender-biased?

MrsBart
03-21-2006, 05:20 PM
Id also like to generate some feedback as to the correct interpretation of 'traditional men's dress'.

If we're talking the 'rights and wrongs' of the traditional pipeband uniform and highland dress, whose interpretation of this and which era are we following? Id speculate that if we showed the current pipeband dress to people of this vocation 25, 50, 75, 100+ years ago...well, Id love to hear their responses to the evolution of uniforms.

So maybe its not just the women wearing men's dress we poke a stick at...but band dress in its entirety.

As a female pipeband member, I agree in EquusRacer's comment that I wouldnt be caught dead in the women's highland dress. Not only is it completly impractical..but Id feel like a tartan quaker. I do think the girls in the picture look lovely, but I also notice that their drums probably weigh all of 4kilos compared to my 16kg monster.

Also, I believe if you introduced 'female' dress along these lines, it would seriously change younger female's attitudes towards joining a pipeband.

My band is by no means 'well off' financially - but I they accommodate me very well in regards to requiring alterations to 'mens' uniforms to make them more comfortable such as jacket, vest and kilt proportion changes. They also found a supplier of female gillies for me, since children's gillies were too narrow for my feet.

From a purely personal viewpoint: Id like to think in today's day and age, we dont still require this need to segregate the sexes into 'us and them'. Im well aware of my gender, as I am sure others are too - and Im happy to settle for that.
In the haywire sauna of an Australian climate I think the pipeband uniforms are uncomfortable enough without having to consider thinner gillies, full length skirts, poofy shirts with 3 layers...though I dont mind the hat!

Richard Strayer
03-21-2006, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by Amber McPaul:
I do think the girls in the picture look lovely, but I also notice that their drums probably weigh all of 4kilos compared to my 16kg monster.Many Asturian bands use full-sized sides/snares as well:

http://www.bandagaitescorvera.com/semeyes/Gibraltar05/xibraltar16.JPG

Also, regarding climate, don't forget that they're in Spain, which isn't exactly a frigid country, so I imagine that their garb is suitable to their weather. On the other hand, Scottish attire (whether men's or women's) is actually made for cooler climes...

MrsBart
03-21-2006, 05:57 PM
ahh now I didnt see THOSE drums!
Ill concede that point...

If its an option, Ill happily wear something similar to the kid in the pram following the band

Celtic Mitch
03-22-2006, 07:26 AM
Equus...if you are going to be in Pleasanton this year, I'd be happy to join you for a pint..Jan?????

Jan
03-22-2006, 07:47 AM
Well, I would love to join you both but I won't be there. Hoist one for me though! :wave:

EquusRacer
03-22-2006, 08:59 AM
Mitch...and Jan: I would love that. However, I'll be at The Worlds with the junior band. And when we do that, we forego Pleasanton.

If either of you are in Glasgow in August, look me up in the beer tent or with the junior band in the park or at the competition. I'll be the good-looking one! :wink:

I'll look forward to meeting both of you, sometime. Cheers, :hatoff: Michael

ChickaDee
03-22-2006, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by EquusRacer:

If either of you are in Glasgow in August, look me up in the beer tent or with the junior band in the park or at the competition. I'll be the good-looking one! :wink:

Correction.

He'll be the good-looking one buying ME a pint!! :hatoff:

:D

ChickaDee
03-22-2006, 11:50 AM
Back to topic....I must say I would detest wearing all that frilly, fluffy lace stuff. The kilted skirt might not be too bad if it wouldn't make me look like a tree stump. And I must admit, I actually kinda like those nun looking 'doo rags.

Yoohoo....quartermaster??!!! (uh...does RRPD even have one?? :shrug: )

:wink:

EquusRacer
03-22-2006, 11:57 AM
Hey, Dee! So you'll be at The Worlds?

You're on! :woohoo:

scarhandpiper
03-22-2006, 02:50 PM
Originally posted by Kitfox:
Well,

As Arvey R. McFarland wrote:

"... I remember seeing Patricia Henderson compete in Scotland, and rather than dress as a man in Highland attire, she wore a kilt skirt, jacket, blouse, and shoes that were colour co-ordinated, complimented her gender, and enhanced the dignity and poise of her outstanding performance." That sounds like it was a solo competition, in which case she didn't have to match anybody else, be "uniform" in appearance. I'd wear a long skirt for solo competition, if only so they wouldn't see my knees shaking!

Richard Strayer
03-22-2006, 03:56 PM
Originally posted by scarhandpiper:
That sounds like it was a solo competition, in which case she didn't have to match anybody else, be "uniform" in appearance.Sorry, but that dodge has already been dismissed; case in point - the military services have distinct men's &amp; women's dress, but both are approved uniforms. "Uniform" doesn't mean "identical."

So far, I think the responses basically seem to break down something like this:

"Women's clothing wouldn't look flattering on me, a woman." ( :confused: )

"Women's clothing wouldn't be comfortable/practical." (and 20lbs of swealtering, pleated wool is? :shrug: )

"My band can't afford to buy me a dress instead of a kilt." ( :rolleyes: )

"Women's clothing wouldn't be uniform." ( :idea: )

Ahh...I think maybe that's the real issue: maybe you gals just don't want to stand out in the crowd? Hey, I got news for you...

:D :D :D

Lady Piob Mhor
03-23-2006, 09:13 AM
Hey, one band, one sound, one uniform. Gotta get dress and deportment ya know.

When I am in a good band I am proud to wear the uniform. It shows I make the grade. But it doesn't hurt to look nice on other occasions if you can afford it. I like ladies looking like ladies and playing like men.

EquusRacer
03-23-2006, 09:27 AM
"I like ladies looking like ladies and playing like men." Is "playing like men" a good thing or not? :shrug:

Actually, in my band, I wouldn't mind some of the men playing like the women! (That's assuming, of course, that there's a difference). :wink:

shottsfan
03-23-2006, 12:16 PM
I have been a "tom boy" since I can remember. Between the ages of 8 and 13, my step-mother would not allow me to wear shorts or jeans to school. I was either in a skirt, a dress, or slacks. I hated it. At age 13, I moved out of that house and in with my mother and step-father. No restrictions on what I could or could not wear, within reason, of course. So... now what do I wear almost every day? JEANS!!! I own slacks and skirts, but wear them only on occasion, at my own discretion.

I don't deal with gender biased stereotypes very well. Live and let live.

I wear what I like to wear. If the only band in my area required women performers and competitors to wear plaid skirts instead of kilts, I would probably rather join the band and wear the skirt, than not have the joy of performing and competing at all. Having said that, I have not seen, in person, any women in pipe band competition circles wearing skirts instead of kilts.

It's interesting to think about how much "crap" some guys get from the general public (in America) about wearing "skirts". They (the general public) is referring to a kilt, but they are making a stereotypical remark. Certain individuals out there don't think guys should wear "skirts". (Do I have to mention the thread about the high school guy who wore a kilt?) It's just another stereotype.

I'm a woman. I wear jeans. I drive a truck. I paint my toenails. I play snare drum. I have long hair. I cook. I fish. I wear perfume. I camp. I love children. I can operate power tools and lawn equipment. I love romance movies. I love to watch NFL football. I love interior decorating. I wear a kilt. I'm a woman.

I don't fit well into any stereotype.

Deanna
aka shottsfan

EquusRacer
03-23-2006, 12:29 PM
Deanna: A woman (yes, you are!) who fishes, camps, works power tools, watches football...

I think you're about to get about a gazillion marriage proposals!!! :wink:

Richard Strayer
03-23-2006, 01:08 PM
Just to be clear, I don't think anybody is advocating forcing a change or judging people by their choices; the question is simply "why" did band dress evolve as it has? Regardless the reason(s), I sincerely doubt at this point that there is any going back; although I do think it's still valid to question whether or not the alternative of wearing more traditionally feminine Scottish apparel should also be an option for band members who would choose it (especially if the argument is that band members should be able to wear what they like).

That said, I for one am still curious to know how the present state was arrived at. Although it may be true for some, I personally don't find compelling the argument that most women rebel against wearing feminine clothing because it perpetuates a gender-biased stereotype. Historically, I suspect that it was simply a matter of convenience rather than a conscious choice, and is now entrenched.

By the way, I cook, sew, vacuum, paint my daughter's toenails, have been known to watch the Lifetime channel and cry during sappy movies too, but I draw the line at using "product" in my hair. :wink:

shottsfan
03-23-2006, 02:02 PM
Rock on, Richard! I don't sew but I do use a lot of hair products! :D

My guess is the reason pipe band women wear what the men wear is simply due to the fact that pipe bands were, and some still are, made up of only men. There was no clothing ensemble made for a woman because there were no women!

I would be interested in knowing who the first female piper and first female drummer were to join a competition pipe band.

EquusRacer, I'm still single. No proposals today, but I'll keep you posted!

Deanna
aka shottsfan

Torphinian
03-24-2006, 05:34 AM
Ditto, Deanna (and I'm not referring to the proposal!). I suspect that the current dress for women was an outgrowth of the history and attendant conviction that piping/drumming was a 'man's thing.' So, a woman would have to 'be the man' and dress like the man. Not so many decades back as women took a larger role in the corporate world the fashion industry responded with the 'suit and tie' corporate outfit for women. That phase of 'looking like the man to be the corporate person' was short lived.

So, in the end, where's the historian around here? What was going on in the early days when women got into piping, whenever those were? Who crossed the gender line first? And why did the women get put into the man's outfit and then stay there?

Gene

Alistair
03-24-2006, 08:44 AM
I am certainly no historian but I can remember the 'Dagenham Girl Pipers' being on television in the UK during the late 1950s. A search of Google will throw up a series of pictures, but there is nothing outstanding about their dress. It seems that they were formed about 1938 in Dagenham, to the east of London, and home in the UK to the Ford car factory.

I am sure I can remember them performing on stage (via TV) in a short kiltie skirt but that could be my imagination playing up.

To be honest, I can't remember much about them and would be interested to know what they sounded like.

Alistair
03-24-2006, 08:58 AM
You have got me interested now. Had a look around the web and came across this site for the Wick Girls Pipe Band.

Some clearer pics of uniform at:
http://www.caithness.org/earlypictures/wickgirlspipeband/

EquusRacer
03-24-2006, 10:17 AM
Fun, Alistair: The look is reminiscent of ladies' bands from the 70s and 80s in our neck of the woods (e.g., Vancouver Ladies and Portland Ladies).

They are also uniform in look. So it begs the question: If any of them had allowed men in their ranks, would the men be "uniform"? :shrug:

Jan
03-24-2006, 10:46 AM
Take a look at this photo.
http://www.caithness.org/earlypictures/wickgirlspipeband/wgpb206a.htm
The PM is a man and he is wearing a different,yet same, uniform.

Tommy P.
03-24-2006, 11:05 AM
Originally posted by Torphinian:


So...if tradition plays such a large role in piping/drumming (anyone want to argue that one???), why do today's women pipers/drummers dress in the traditional garb of Scottish men?

Gene Because it's the "band uniform", and women don't care to change it,.......if they wanted to, trust me, they would!

I think they look ok. I just can't for the life of me understand why so many try to argue the point that it's not a "masculine" one. :shrug:

EquusRacer
03-24-2006, 11:23 AM
"The PM is a man and he is wearing a different,yet same, uniform." Hmm. He's also out of "phase"!

Victoria Crowe
03-24-2006, 11:36 AM
Hi Everyone,

sorry to join the fun so late! Well, if you look at the Wick Girls PB photo you'll see that the gals are wearing a balmoral and the gent is wearing a glen.

In the book "Pipe Bands in British Columbia" there's a wide variety of uniforms for girls and ladies (and guys) depending on the time period. In mixed gender bands sometimes the only difference is the guys wear the glen and ghillies and the ladies wear a balmoral and the mary jane-looking buckle shoe. Sometimes they also wear a frilly shirt and a jacket that looks more like a highland dancer's fitted jacket.

Then of course there are all lady's bands that wear the long kilted skirt. There are lady's bands that are military and are wearing military shoes, pany hose, the standard WWII military skirt and jacket (gosh can you imagine marching with garters on--especially with the drum? Eeek!)

Then of course there are girl's and lady's bands that wear the same outfit we see in bands today. There are mixed gender bands where the drum corp (male and/or female) wear balmorals and the pipe corp wears glens. I guess it just depends on the band and the time you're living in. :shrug:

But gosh you should see some of the hair dos! :lol: