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Androgyny has always been a female-centred word. Despite its definition being a mixture of the two stereotypical gender norms, dressing in an androgynous fashion always seems to be centred around women donning a tuxedo, or cutting their hair in a style fashionable for men. It is not until now the dictionary definition of the word is being portrayed within society. Hegemonic masculinity is heralded as the epitome of the male, and it seems that until recently anyone that escapes this binary is shunned or outlawed. More so now than ever, these previous ‘outsiders’; the men embracing the fluidity of fashion and culture are rising. ‘Its boring to make clothes marketed to one group of people’ Patric DiCaprio of Vaquera New York believes, unusually, all his designs are unisex, placing him on a pedestal as one of the pioneers of the androgynous movement, saying no to the restricting stereotypes of societal norms when it comes to gender, that can often have traumatising effects on people struggling with their gender identity. Yet, things seem to be moving forward in the case of ‘androgyny’ or gender fluidity being a male and female inclusive word; the first male ‘CoverGirl’ (whose name seems ironic or contradictory given the circumstances, as ‘girl’ suggests this is a female-exclusive brand) James Charles is seventeen from New York and runs a youtube channel focussed on makeup and other typically ‘feminine’ habits, but this does not mean he identifies as anything other than male, as does Jaden Smith who regularly is snapped by the paparazzi wearing skirts, which is seen as ‘unusual’ by many mainstream press houses, despite them often placing women in suits or with pixie cuts as centre pieces in fashion articles.
The transition into social acceptability of identifying males as dressing or acting androgynously, and the acceptance of gender fluidity for both genders seems, from the above to have moved in a much more positive direction. However, a recent Vogue cover sparked controversy when Gigi Hadid and her boyfriend Zayn Malik were pictured dressing more androgynously and confessed to ‘shopping each other’s closets’ which ultimately lead to Vogue claiming the pair were gender fluid. The issue here obviously is that neither of the cover stars are, and it seems Vogue was glamorising and exploiting LGBTQ+ issues to sell magazines, which is where androgyny turns from a political issue expressed through fashion and overall aesthetic to something to capitalise on, which it is not. Furthermore, the pair were depicted in suits cut in more flamboyant fabrics, which suggests again, that androgyny is more focussed on women dressing in stereotypically male items, which underlines the notion that men still cannot wear dresses or skirts if they want to; initiating a new double-standard between the genders.
Thus it seems that whilst androgyny and gender fluidity is gaining a new found acceptance, similar to that seen in the eighties, there is still some way to go in the case of appropriation of the topic, where dressing in styles not catered for one’s chosen gender on a whim is seen as being gender fluid, which it is not. Also, the fact that it is only women for the most part that are socially accepted into dressing androgynously within fashion media, needs to change more drastically than it does, otherwise we will become stuck in the rut of a double-standard that is impossible to shake, which is unfortunately the case for many issues between the genders.
Nonetheless, it is undeniable that the matter of androgyny and gender fluidity is becoming more prolific as time goes on, proving that this is not just a sweeping trend, only to disappear with the seasons, this seems to be a movement. Its aims to release men from the binding of hegemonic masculinity into a realm where men and women are free to express themselves in clothing, makeup and accessories that are genderless.