Do women wear pants to compete with men?

I have been reading Colleen Hammond’s book Dressing with Dignity. I am still not sure what I think about it, because nothing in it is proven. The one point that I am most interested in is in the third appendix, a letter from a bishop. He says:

In truth, the motive impelling women to wear men’s dress [pants] is always that of imitating, nay of competing with the man, who is considered stronger, less tied down, more independent. This motivation shows clearly that male dress is the visible aid to bringing about a mental attitude of being “like a man.”

I was wondering if this is true, and if it has any standing.

A Google search indicates that the quote comes from a letter attributed to Giuseppe Cardinal Siri, dated June 12, 1960. Cardinal Siri was a strongly conservative Italian prelate believed to have been a papal contender in the four conclaves from 1958-1978. As a cardinal Siri was free to make provocative statements and offer controversial opinions that, had he been elected pope, he no doubt would have reconsidered making public. Analogously, as a high-ranking cardinal for over twenty years, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger often had attributed to him such eyebrow-raising opinions that rock music is a “vehicle of anti-religion” (source) and that Buddhism is an “autoerotic spirituality” (source). As Pope Benedict XVI, he has either avoided offering personal opinion or taken great pains to label it as “personal opinion” and not Church teaching.

As for the substance of the comments on women’s clothing offered by Cardinal Siri, I can only say that he was welcome to his opinion, as is everyone else. I do not think it out of place to say that, in my opinion, he should have avoided trying to read women’s minds and making unqualified medical judgments about “the psychology of woman.” Around the same time that this statement was issued to the Archdiocese of Genoa, there lived a female Catholic physician and mother who would soon lay down her life for her child and show to the world a model of Catholic feminine dignity. Here is a picture of that Catholic woman, St. Gianna Beretta Molla:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit