An entrepreneur found himself under fire in the progressive media after he took a non-gendered article of clothing—ye olde bathrobe—and reinvented it as the gender-specific DudeRobe.
“The problem: Bathrobes for men kind of suck,” the Kickstarter says. “I hate to be blunt, but there are no good options for guys. All we want is something that’s absorbent that also looks cool. Sure, regular robes may absorb water a bit, but they definitely don’t look cool… unless you’re Hugh Hefner, Tyler Durden or the Dude from Big Lebowski. A t-shirt/hoodie and shorts can look good, but they don’t absorb water or sweat.”
The DudeRobe seeks a solution to this paradox. Styled like men’s loungewear, it’s made out of typical towel or bathrobe material. It comes in a few styles, including a hooded robe-shorts combo, as well as a quarter-zip hoodie combined with either pants or shorts.
In an age of neurotic hypersensitivity, this ensemble isn’t just a new Internet gimmick. It’s actually deeply offensive.
“The DudeRobe is here to prove, once and for all, that masculinity is so very fragile,” Mic declared, also dubbing the garment “something rather upsetting.”
Huffington Post dubbed the DudeRobe “masculinity-affirming toweling apparel.”
Writer Sophie Gallagher found the DudeRobe so disturbing she implored the universe to “send that asteroid” right on down to crater the earth.
Esquire took specific umbrage with the DudeRobe’s assertion that “bathrobes are too girly,” as well as the clothing’s eponymous logo.
“Because apparently normal robes are just too ladylike for true dudes. No, seriously: the brand’s Kickstarter actually says, point blank, ‘Bathrobes are too girly. Wow. … Those clothes will all say ‘DUDE’ on them so dudes know they ain’t wearing no lady robe,” Esquire holds forth. “Nope. It’s a DudeRobe. And that’s exactly the problem.”
This shrill reaction is, sadly, not surprising if you’ve been following how gender-neutral attire has become progressives’ latest fashion crusade. This summer, after all, has brought us both the RompHim and the pastel lace men’s short-shirt set.
It’s also brought us hot takes even sillier than the outfits themselves. The main argument, if you deign to call it that, goes something like this: Gender-neutral clothes are great, because gender is fluid; having to gender clothes (like the male-specific name “RompHim”) is problematic; and if you don’t like said gender-neutral clothes, you’re a transphobic bigot; and also, these gender-neutral clothes probably threaten haters’ fragile masculinity.
But if you’re not steeped in the hysteric posturing of the self-proclaimed Socially Just, widespread Internet uproar over a goofy bathrobe comes as a surprise.
That was the experience of Howie Busch, the entrepreneur behind the DudeRobe.
“I’m not sure what all the fuss is about,” Busch said in an email to Heat Street. “It’s just meant to be something fun and different… not any kind of political statement.”
Anyone can wear the DudeRobe, Busch confirmed.
“That said, it was designed for guys because it’s something I liked and wanted,” he said. “And I thought it was just a fun name and way to market it. I would tell everyone just to relax and just have fun with it… Life shouldn’t be so serious, especially not about a piece of clothing.”
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.