7 Leaves Cafe Breaking Male Masculinity Stigma

Gina Campos, Photographer

On a casual visit to 7 Leaves Cafe, junior Alyssa Hernandez was taken by surprise by what awaited her upon entering the boba cafe for the very first time. There to welcome her arrival was the crew of 7 Leaves employees who were dressed in costumes instead of usual work attire. What left a bold impression on Hernandez was seeing male employees dressed in both skirts and cat ears, entirely contrary to the unspoken “acceptable” dress code for men.

“I was surprised. I find it really cool how they’re not afraid to express themselves and stride away from societal ‘norms.’ I find it cute when men are comfortable enough to show their feminine side,” Hernandez said. “I think it shows they’re confident.”

With apps like Twitter and Tik Tok pushing to lighten the polarized stigma of what is acceptable for men to both think and wear; the 7 Leaves crew is proving that this movement and the message has been heard and received. When asked to consider the possibility of forced participation, Hernandez was sure employees were happy to make efforts for themselves.

“I think it was totally normal and not at all forced. I think they chose to dress like that because none of them were wearing the same outfit, there was actually some variety. The first employee I saw was wearing a sailor costume -which included a skirt and cat ears- and the other employee was wearing an all-black skirt and cat ears.”

Normalization of debatable etiquette is -unofficially- how something comes to be socially acceptable. Hernandez immediately recognized these efforts by the 7 Leaves staff, emphasizing the importance of the movement itself, furthermore its impact on customers.

“I think open-minded customers can use the 7 leaves employees’ work uniform as a way to see that it’s okay to express yourself in any way you want, obviously including being more feminine as a man,” Hernandez said. “seeing this can open eyes to acceptance and reform in my opinion because it can help people realize that they’re still the same employees, furthermore people, no matter what they’re wearing. Either way, you go in and order and you’re getting what you came for.”

Within these outfits lies the prime embodiment of social reform. By demonstrating to customers that 7 Leaves Cafe is not only a place of business but acceptance, guests leave the shop with both what they initially came for as well as food for thought in regards to abandoning the fear and criticism that automatically arise towards the unfamiliar.