Androgyny. We’ve all heard the word. But what does it mean? Women Wearing Men’s clothes? Grey Shapeless bags for everyone? Maybe it’s the blurring of the strict lines that we’ve made for ourselves? That sounds good to me. I mean, what If We had a section of clothing for everyone? Wouldn’t that be cool? Maybe it even would have more inclusive sizing too. Imagine that world for a moment. How does it make you feel?
I imagine you’re scoffing right now, telling me that it would never work out. Why, People would laugh at us! how would we ever be taken seriously? Well, that’s a question I’ve been trying to answer for some time now. What would it look like to break free of Society’s gender norms?
Well, Apparently at the moment it means causing everyone to have a bit of a hissy fit. People will constantly gaslight and harass you and cough till you’re about ready to strangle them. The other thing is constantly Calling me autistic. I went to an orientation at TAFE and the first thing the presenter did is lock eyes with me and go: Oh, “Neurodivergence” in the most pejorative way possible. Along with spitting out the LGBTIAQ+ acronym like it was poison to him. Ugh. people. that’s what Microaggressions look like, if anyone was wondering.
I suppose this is one example of what I think physical Androgyny would look like. It’s skewed towards the masculine, but I’ve found that there is no true middle point. It’s more about expressing YOU. who are YOU? Forget all of the rhetoric. Forget everything you’ve been told. Where is the dance of the soul? Mumen Ren! I want to share with you some clothing I’ve collected over the past year or so. Why? Because I want you to see my expression. Maybe it will spark something in your own?
I’ve tried to search up websites to find genderless clothing, but all that comes up is stuff made by people assigned female at birth. I understand full well why they made it. Imagine being brought up with a wardrobe full of frilly and frivolous clothing. To be told that’s all you are allowed to be. Talked over. Silenced. Agreeable. Impractical. Would you not yearn for the elegance and simplicity of the utilitarian and the pragmatic?
I was angry at first, to discover women rejecting any sort of decoration. But that’s their experience, and their journey. Mine was different. From birth I was told to be a certain way. Rewarded for certain behaviours, and punished for others. Crying was unacceptable, and stoicism was rewarded. Respect was always granted to those who could perform manhood perfectly well. When I show up in a space presenting male, I’m immediately treated differently and respected.
Even in queer and trans spaces I find deviating from the expected norms is rewarded by being ignored and treated badly. You’re treated like some young idiot who has yet to fully transition. A kid, really. If people were to ask me to express who I was in a single image, I would pick this one. It’s soft and feminine but still definitely male.
How would you express this in the real world? Well, I managed it. People just had a hissy fit. Big surprise.
How much freedom do we have to express ourselves in the world we live now? I guess it’s pretty limited. Maybe a guy might wear coloured slacks, or a woman ties her hair off and goes to work in a men’s blazer. Maybe those small acts are small and insignificant, but maybe it’s worth doing them anyway? The future isn’t about gender. It’s about self and personhood. So maybe you’re in a body and that comes with certain expectations but it doesn’t change who you are.
So, full confession: I scoured the internet looking for a way to be androgynous in the way that I wanted without being seen as a transwoman. So far, this is the best that I could come up with. Quite frankly, it’s rather depressing. Most of it is from either Next or Mark and spencer, along with Etsy and Wearethought. I’ve looked and looked but nobody is selling what I’m looking for. Perhaps the mere notion of breaking gender norms is offensive to our culture? It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, People just react badly or assume I’m an early transition transwoman who is autistic and just doesn’t get it or something. Ugh. The gaslighting is real. Why must people react to violently some someone who dares to ask questions and try and change things?
Maybe we shouldn’t be trying to make fashion genderless. Perhaps it’s time to simply make it more expansive. It’s clear to me that I’m not welcome in this world, So I guess that’ll all for now.