End-gendered: When a Boy is More a Girl than a Girl is Featured

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What if I told you that perhaps you’re not the gender you think you are?

Now firstly, we must not confuse gender with sex- that is a rookie mistake. Of course you are born with either male or female equipment (or sometimes both...congratulations!). However, ‘gender’ here refers solely to a set of character traits and learned behaviours that are categorised as either male or female. So the question I really want to put to you is this; does sex dictate gender? 

At London Fashion Week, Leandro Cerezo showed off her newly post-op body for the first time. However, she had already been modelling women’s clothes for years both in Paris and Milan. Andrej Pejic has been decreed ‘so hot right now’ in lala-land and caused a fash-pack frenzy as he appeared on several women’s catwalks this year. FHM even declared him 98th Sexiest Woman Alive. Yes, Adrej and Lea are making waves in the world, tidal waves in fact, causing a storm of controversy and outrage. FHM issued apologetic statements and feminists have been flying the flag for females by complaining that women find it damaging to their sense of worth that a man should be considered more of a woman than a woman when it comes to fashion...

However, the idea that ‘gender’ is learned rather than innate has held firm ground since the 70s. The view holds that gender is foisted on babies from birth through aggressive societal conditioning. I, for one, have never heard of a boy who was given an ironing board for his birthday, for example. Yet my little sister was, as well as several dolls with painted smiles and vacant, scary eyes. For all other animals, play in the early stages of their development is in fact training for their tasks in adulthood. By that reasoning it’s logical to assume that from the outset we are being trained to perform a gender.

So, it’s all well and good having sista’s doin’ all this outrage for themselves, but perhaps we are looking at it from the wrong angle. What if the thing we should come to apologise for is our perpetuation of entrenched gender stereotypes? Blurring genders could be the natural state, a state where personalities take precedence over privates. A state where designers consider the desired aesthetics rather than just the sex of the clothes-horse before they send it trotting down the runway.  Fashion is a reflection and even a forbear of cultural ideas. Maybe one day it will be perfectly normal for Lea T and Pejic can tackle the women’s catwalk with a tackle. Yes? Well...one can hope.

Ellie

Ellie Golder is a trained philosopher and semi-professional vagabondette with a talent for caprice. She has been writing down her rants, raves and traveller’s tales for years. She has contributed to several publications, online and in print. Her main likes include; rare accents, getting lost, whales and pastel colours. Dislikes; sensible shoes.Tell her anything at ellie.golder@googlemail.com

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