Note: This article is a satire piece that may use fake names or quotes and reference fictitious events in the pursuit of relevant and humorous social commentary, criticism and understanding.
After an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, the “Romphim” (or male romper) has seen a drastic decline in interest only two weeks after it was unveiled.
Created by a group of business school dudes under the name ACED Design, the idea for a male-oriented romper was released to the world on May 15. It hoped to be the summer’s most fashionable men’s garment. The Romphim, an outfit previously worn exclusively by women and 90’s toddlers, raised over $350,000 within a week of its release on Kickstarter.
After the Romphim went viral, the Internet, famously known for its level- headed and rational opinions, was torn. In an attempt to sway the Internet’s opinion in the Romphim’s favor, one activist group turned the outfit into an equality symbol for men.
The male-rights group, called “Phalactivists,” created a campaign devoted to bringing male equality to fashion, which turned the Romphim into a symbolic power struggle. The campaign, titled “Rompin’ Though the Equality Field” started with a series of strongly worded tweets, and culminated in an emotional video highlighting the struggles men experience with clothing.
Nomanah Vare has spent his life ensuring that men are represented fairly in the fashion industry. Vare is one of the dozens of members of devoted Phalactivists. While aware and vocal that, according to Canadian government statistics, between 1994 and 1995 only 6.6 per cent of court-ordered custody was awarded solely to the father compared to 79.3 to the mother, Vare is still convinced that male biases and inequalities in fashion are the most pressing issues his group must address.
“The fact that men are being judged for wanting to wear any ridiculous garment of clothing they like is a national devastation,” Vare said. “I find it repulsive that men cannot go outside dressed in whatever they think looks good, without getting condescending looks from others.”
According to Vare, wives and girlfriends tend to be the most critical. Until this attitude by women is eliminated, he says he will continue to fight for men’s fashion rights. When asked about how his group’s activism could benefit gay and transgender men, Vare said he had “never really thought about that.”
After Phalactivists’ campaign, mentions of the Romphim on the Internet fell significantly, almost as if people forgot about the outfit entirely. Retail and fashion experts developed different theories for the sudden drop in publicity, but many agreed that the shift from the Romphim being hilariously stupid to being a political statement played a key role in its loss of popularity.
Todd Albro is one of over 3,000 backers for the Romphim, and funded the project as soon as he heard about its start-up campaign. He said that he was excited to buy the Romphim because his wife hated it and told him to not waste any money on the outfit.
“The draw for me was finding an outfit that I knew would annoy her by matching what she wears. After the Hawaiian shirt went from hilariously tacky to somehow fashionable, I was really hard-pressed to find a new way to bug her,” said Albro.
After the Romphim became a fashion choice with a political agenda, Albro said that he doesn’t see himself ever wearing it and that it will probably just collect dust in his closet.
“Now I’m worried that if I wear it I’ll be supporting a movement that I don’t fully understand,” he said.
Albro hopes that maybe in time, once everyone is angry about something else, he will be able to wear the outfit for its intended purpose.
By Jordan Barrera
Please note that opinions expressed are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and values of The Blank Page.