Thursday, January 21, 2010
Musings on Gender in Fashion Pt. 1
I've been thinking lately about androgyny and gender bending. Well, I've always been interested in the topic, but it came more to the forefront of my mind over break, when armed with a gift card from Urban I ended up spending it all in the menswear department. It's funny how in those stores there is a clear women section and a men section, and most of us keep to those sections. What makes an item of clothing male vs. female (I mean besides the obvious tailoring and cut differences)?
I think it's interesting that menswear is really trendy right now on women, but yet women's clothing is still extremely taboo on men. A prime of example of someone who says "fuck that" to those taboos is a friend named Khonsu (pictured below), who demonstrates that men look damn fantastic in women's wear. Khonsu and I attended high school together and I always thought his personal sense of style was daring, innovative, and completely original (everything I said fashion ought to be in my previous post, you'll notice).
So, why is it OK for a girl to wear her boyfriend's jeans, but not OK for him to slip on her dress? I think it's all on how we define femininity and masculinity. For a long time in history female roles and male roles in a community were different, but considered of equal value. Then a time went on things changed and women were seen as vastly inferior to men. It's only very recently that equality in gender roles has been advocated for. My suspicion is that when women act "masculine"* it's like dressing "up", dressing above one's station. When men act "feminine"* it's moving down in life, degrading. This is just my personal theory, made up on the fly. I'm interested to know what you guys think about this as well. I personally find androgyny to be sexy and incredibly interesting as a fashion choice, on both women and men. Are you a fan? Do you think the rules for men in women's clothing will change anytime soon? Do you wear anything that is ambiguously gendered? Gender identity really fascinates me, so I'm begging you for comments.
*I don't even want to begin to deconstruct what masculine and feminine really mean, gender roles, transgender, etc, so I put quotes to avoid all that, seeing as this post is epically long already.