Here’s the way I identify, in my own head: Masculine bisexual cis female. That is a string of words that makes almost no sense to a lot of people in my life who would rather just be like “aren’t you kind of just … Rebecca?” And yeah, that’s true too. But my four-word identity is my short summary of who I am, what pronouns I use, what my love life looks like, and how I present myself to the outside world, or, in short, the way I relate to other people as far as my gender goes.
My presentation has changed markedly over the last few years. Part of the reason I slimmed down my wardrobe and switched to versatile basics is that I felt really inauthentic in the very loud clothing I was wearing. When I wore metallic gold miniskirts or flouncy floral skirts or bright pink minidresses I ordered from ModCloth — even when I was wearing structured dresses that complimented my waist-to-hip ratio beautifully — it felt like a costume. It felt like I was trying too hard. Switching over to jeans, leggings, basic tees, loafers, and combat boots has removed all the stress from getting dressed. Keep reading »
Androgyny is in. From supermodel Andrej Pejic to gender-neutral parenting articles, the media can’t get enough of us non-binary (“boy” or “girl”) folks lately.
But is not identifying as male or female really about androgyny? Is being elsewhere on the gender spectrum the same as being gender neutral? I look at pictures of Pejic and I wonder if I’m missing something everyone else sees. It’s hard to recognize androgyny (showing characteristics of both sexes) in a person walking down the street in five-inch heels, short shorts, and a flowing top, blonde locks perfectly coiffed Marilyn Monroe-style. The same is true for us average non-binary folks. Many of us identify, like Pejic, as neither male nor female, yet our gender presentation is not neutral either. Trying to get us into that box takes a lot of squeezing, tugging, and tucking.
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Glamorous supermodel Kate Moss does the androgynous thing on the latest cover of Vogue Paris, where she evokes a Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie. Moss is pretty hot, and Bowie’s not too bad either, so the combination of the two on one cover is pretty powerful.
Last week, I bought new pants. And while that may sound like a mind-numbingly mundane act to you, believe me when I say that the earth shook a little. I haven’t purchased new pants in over three years. I’ve worn them on occasion, sure, and have several pairs languishing in the dark recesses of my closet. But overall, I’ve shied away from wearing jeans, slacks, and pants of all kinds ever since I discovered the fun, flattering, flirty world of skirts and dresses. Skirts work with my figure. They emphasize my waist, glide over my bum and thighs, and show off my shapely calves. Skirts are my sartorial staple. Skirts make me feel confident and stylish and powerful.
Skirts are also decidedly feminine. And as someone who has a deep-seated, highly irrational fear of androgynous dressing, I love them for it. Keep reading »
“The way I need to look, it’s a very personal thing. When I started experimenting, it was to make myself feel happy, to look in the mirror and be satisfied. I never did drag or anything like that. It was always that I wanted to be pretty, to look beautiful, as a girl would want to … In this society, if a man is called a woman, that’s the biggest insult he could get. Is that because women are considered something less?”
–Gender-bending model Andrej Pejic on his androgynous looks. I find it fascinating that Pejic says that he needs to look the way that he does — it highlights that, for transgender people, the desire to dress or perform as one gender identity or another isn’t simply a matter of dress up, but one of necessity. Pejic also says that he doesn’t ever mind being mistaken for a woman, despite the idea that men typically balk at being called female, and brings up an interesting hypothesis as to why. [NYMag] Keep reading »
Look at this cover of Dossier magazine. Notice anything especially spicy or scintillating? Well apparently Barnes & Noble did. Enough so that they censored the cover, featuring androgynous male model Andrej Pejic, in their stores. While men’s magazines routinely feature naked male torsos on their covers, we suspect it was the confusing–confusing to Barnes & Noble anyway — juxtaposition of Pejic’s hyperfeminine face with his masculine chest that bewildered. Still, it calls into question just what makes a body feminine or masculine to begin with; if Pejic’s angelic facial figures cross the line for Barnes & Noble, and make his body verboten, then maybe we’ve been looking at the wrong body parts all along? [Fashionista] Keep reading »