Once upon a time, men were men and women weren’t men. Those are no longer the only two options for dating and self-identification.
Gender fluidity is firmly on everyone’s agenda, now but it’s not an easy terrain to navigate. Even Vogue got it wrong putting Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik in the “experimental” category. We figured Harry Styles would be the “questioning” one.
Regardless of the confusion, “genderless” androgynous fashion is the new rage on Asian runways this season. Male identity has always been different in the East, where thin and boyish was perceived as stylish. However, this year, male and female models wore interchangeable clothes in several shows during Japan Fashion Week.
Meanwhile in America, Pharrell Williams is rocking the new Chanel campaign for unisex handbags – joined by even more neutral-looking people including a most schoolboy looking Kristen Stewart and K-pop icon G-Dragon in high teen drag mode.
Actually, most Korean male stars look more feminine than their leading actresses these days. You can tell they have all spent hours in salons dyeing and teasing their hair, perfecting their make-up, and trying on progressively skinnier jeans.
The thing is, that look doesn’t actually do anything for me. They all look a little too precious and scrawny. Generally, I am not turned on by people I can beat in an arm-wrestle.
Androgyny has long been a recurring fashion trend. Marlene Dietrich wore a tuxedo in the 1930s, Grace Jones embraced a sexy masculinity as an ’80s icon, and Hillary Clinton unsuccessfully tried to battle presidential sexism in 2016 America with pantsuits.
Watch: STYLE’s July shoot proves fashion’s future is gender-free:
On the flipside, David Beckham showed he could be ballsy in a sarong. Jaden Smith’s youth rebellion included women wear, and basketball star Dennis Rodman proved he was a bad boy in even worse make-up. These guys showed you could be masculine in a dress. And nobody ever complained about Prince’s high heels.
Today, the grey areas of sexuality have way more than 50 shades. Gender borders aren’t just fluid, they’re vapourised into an atmosphere of mainstream puzzlement. At times, I’m not sure I can keep up with all the new sexual definitions even if I have Dan Savage on speed dial. I fear one day I’ll get confused and end up screwing myself, so to speak.
People should be allowed to embrace any form of identity they are comfortable with. It is okay to be sexually different and diverse in acceptance. Live and let live is my motto.
Gender-less fashion is fine. Generic sex-less identity is what’s boring. Nobody wants to go to a club full of people that look like Tilda Swintonin Doctor Strange. That kind of boring asexual uniformity is what scares me. I like a little variety. As the French say: Vive la difference!
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