Transgender “Fad”?

http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2011/02/04/gender-bending-moment-in-fashion-andrej-pejic-lea-t-marc-jacobs

When I saw, the title of the article “Boys will be Girls,” I was a bit excited, ideally expecting respectful criticism or critique of the fashion industry’s deep gender lines. Looking again at the title, I should have expected something different. While acknowledging the designers mentioned may have been wholly excited and supportive of the blurred spaces between the gender binary, the article seems to make light of transgender or “transsexual” individuals as “femiman trends.” On the other hand, the article also encourages a space where male identifying people can also be feminine or pursue androgyny and still choose to identify with a single gender. While the casual attitude doesn’t sit well without any acknowledgement of the reality of transgender or transsexual people living below the crystal upper-class couture houses, the approach of a top-down embrace of non-binary gender identity and expression can also create spaces for transgender people. Beyond that, the article’s concluding statement on the “new gender fluidity in fashion, in which traditional male and female attitudes are less relevant” feels a bit dismissive, but hopeful, in the gender-divided fashion world.

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Transgender “Fad”?

3 thoughts on “Transgender “Fad”?

  1. It’s so gross and objectifying the way the cis male fashion designers are interested in “transsexuals and crossdressers”. They essentially lump the two groups together, and then act like it’s some trendy thing to be trans* or gender non-conforming. It’s interesting to be how the fashion industry can be such an insulated place where gender can be presented as just being part of a trend that divorces it from it from social context. I’m sure fashion people like to think of themselves as very progressive for this, but it’s only very tall, attractive and thin trans*/GNC people that they accept.

    Also, Andreja Pejic, one of the models mentioned in the articles, has now come out as a trans woman.

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  2. Interesting article. I like the point Julieunav brought up regarding how gender can be presented as part of a trend, but that “divorces it from social context.” For me, that draws parallel to the common theme of appropriation in fashion. Some pieces of fashion have utilized complex social concepts as an arbitrary source of beauty–for instance, a indigenous headdress. With this example, they can pick and choose which aspects of the culture they choose to represent. In this case, it is the beauty and elegance of the headdress, yet that ignores the deep cultural ties and oppression that is a salient component of it. On a different scale, fashion can explore the ideas of gender, but does so in a way that glamorizes gender bending, while many people who are gender non-conforming in real life experience serious oppression. This begs the question of how effective top-down social justice is. Using fashion as the “top,” in hopes that it brings exposure and will eventually permeate “down” and become a part of society. It does so by exploring this concept of gender bending in a more socially acceptable form of experimentation (gender bending being in the name of art and fashion, as opposed to being part of an identity, I feel, is more socially acceptable).

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  3. This was an interesting article I must say. It reminded me of that argument that people (not everyone) has had on the metrosexual male. I remember those debates on who was the metrosexual men was and what they identified as. Seeing this article, it just reminded me about how fashion seems to be a strong determinate in a person’s sexuality and how it uses their sexuality as well.

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