On my Twitter timeline, I noticed there was some fuss about Vogue magazine and how they’d caused controversy with an article they’d written about gender fluidity. In the article, they discussed how Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik were embracing it – citing them as the new generation who were breaking down gender barriers. When I read the article, I was pretty pissed off, to say the least. They are not gender fluid, merely jumping on a bandwagon.
The article essentially discusses gender fluidity as if it’s a fashion trend. Something that celebrities are supposedly doing in a bid to not conform to typical gender definitions. No, it’s not a radical new movement. No, it’s not cool to do. And no, it’s not down to what you wear. Yes, clothing is an indicator of a person’s gender but only because we said so. As I’ve discussed (or ranted) previously, it’s a rule we follow without any real question. In actual fact, why can’t a male wear a dress and still be a male, if he wanted to? Real gender fluidity is more than what you wear. It’s about who you are. Borrowing your boyfriend’s clothes does not make you gender fluid. Wearing something that looks like it could be from your wife’s wardrobe does not make you gender fluid. And no, it’s not a “blasé attitude” towards gender codes. People who are gender fluid, are. They don’t wake up one day and decide to be gender fluid for a bit, just to raise some eyebrows or make a statement. It has fuck all to do with making statements. It’s about existing. Being themselves. As for “shapes” and how it’s “fun to experiment”, don’t even get me started on that!!
Let’s face it, if you wanted to do an article about gender fluidity then why not interview somebody who actually is gender fluid? Not 2 people who aren’t fussy about what they wear or are trying to make a fashion statement. Don’t trivialise or cheapen the real struggles of those who live it every day. As with anybody who doesn’t fit the standard mould, they face a lot of prejudice and discrimination. Vogue has focused so much on clothing that they’ve missed sight of what gender fluidity is about. Amongst the backlash which Vogue faced over the article, I found this article by activist Jacob Tobia in Cosmopolitan, Vogue’s rival. I think it sums things up nicely.
Thing is, both Vogue and Cosmopolitan are regarded as the magazines for influencing lifestyle and fashion trends. It’s high end stuff, packed with celebrities and articles or photographs that create a desire to have what is out of reach for many people. I personally don’t agree with magazines like these. With millions of readers, they are influential – but that can be a negative thing. Things like eating disorders, body issues and anxiety have been linked with this “ideal look” which these publications create. Even more harmful when they trivialise a topic that many struggle with, due to the lack of awareness. A while ago, I wrote a post about someone claiming it’s cool to be transgender. I was shocked that anybody would suggest such a thing. Now a renowned international publication is treating gender fluidity as a trend. I’m sorry, but it’s not cool to struggle and to have so many people judge you for being yourself. It’s not glamorous and it’s certainly not something which should be trivialised. What next? It’s trendy to be suicidal??!
I’m not gender fluid, nor do I claim to be. But I understand it. Having faced so many personal struggles with gender dysphoria, it annoys me that the world can be so selfish of something that clearly affects a lot of people. Vogue has since issued an apology for the article but why print it in the first place?? Surely check the facts first?! If anything, this has shown there’s still so much work to do. The world is changing constantly and so there needs to be more awareness and respect for those who don’t fit the typical rules: those brave enough to rewrite the rules. Write about gender fluidity or gender dysphoria, yes – but do it properly, not simply to sell some fucking magazines or give celebrities a chance to trivialise the lives of many.
Featured image: via Google