art/Androgyny is God

Posted in Uncategorized by connvoss on May 8, 2010

Growing up, I was called a girl, girly, or cutesy so often that the only thing I wanted more was to be manly.  I wore the baggiest clothes, and abused my posture at every turn.  When I realized in late middle school and high school that passing as a girl was as simple to me as playing up many of my traits rather than playing them down, I began to embrace androgyny.

The fashion world  has long played up the beauty it finds in androgyny, be it the early women’s pants of Chanel, or the prepubescent males of Vogue’s editorials.  Perhaps, this is the worlds comment on youth, which is often tightly linked to androgyny.  It most clearly pertains to a concept of aesthetic appeal that has the dual qualities of both genders, bent bychanging global concepts.

Though I have androgynous qualities, compared to some, I am but a man with a feminine side. Occasionally, I wonder if my pansexuality is what draws me to people who inhabit the space of multiple genders. I have a few tidbits of news and knowledge pertaining to androgyny that my interest in it has accumulated.

Fashion house Givenchy has long struggled to find a unifying image. From Audrey Hepburn’s lady-like appeal, to fanciful turns under the direction of John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, the house has stayed LVHM’s second highest grossing company but has been at a loss for critical appeal. Enter androgyny, the defining concept behind many of current designer Riccardo Tisci’s concepts. He has taken the womens lines in a darker, less flamboyant direction and has elongated the silhouettes of the mens lines adding feminine tailoring.

This advert features Tisci’s transgender assistant Lea, a former fit model for his work. If you must know which one she is, she wearing the fuzzy top.

Karis is a west-coast performer whose androgyny has lead to success in film and media, he was featured in a recent music video by Cazwell, the performer behind a video we watched in class.  He performs in burlesque and hooping shows.

and perhaps a poem too? I wrote this one a few weeks ago.

the angels have no gender

-Matthew 22:30

I awoke by a mirror

shiny and cold

from yelling a fate

my culture fortold,

sweating a liquid

of shame and disgust,

stripped of that which

would have been so bold,

and clasping my hands

o’er a mouth of mistrust.

Choosing my clothing according to tale,

I stared at the panel obscured on the wall

I prepared for a day in the life of a man,

disguising betrayal that man was not all

I felt I was (and am)… not alone.

The dream was still present.

The warmth of my skin had left such a fog

that I could not see in through polished panels,

of cunning and spite,

capturing, spinning and weaving the light.

I squinted through metal and glass and sin.

Attending dry air to lift away wet,

the oily perspiration slicked my face and hair back

A nightmare’s remembrance still would not abet,

spoiling hopes for solitude in my room

with a stranger behind the mirror’s brume.

A hideous specter

of beautiful rue,

sat strangely misplaced

in a world split in two

We swiftly locked eyes—

and viewing each other—

decided to be neither father nor mother

for door it was not, and mirror it is,

we are the same creature

by her grace (and his).


3 Responses

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  1. austone said, on May 8, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Nice post. I have recently noticed androgyny within the fashion community (perhaps it was always there, but I’m starting to notice more examples of it). I agree with your point that many fashion houses probably choose androgynous models because they express a different aesthetic of beauty and youth that we are typically used to. It wasn’t until college when I learned that people who are gender ambiguous are referred to as “androgynous.” There is not much discussion about androgynous people within mainstream media, possibly because it may be an identity some people accept about themselves but one others deny. Besides androgynous models, I have noticed more dialogue concerning transgender models (specifically Isis from “America’s Top Model” and other lesser known models). The amount of androgynous, transgendered, and metrosexual models in the fashion world may say a lot about what society typically deems beautiful- perhaps it is their “exotic” attributes which capture people’s attentions? Either way, I am personally interested in what androgynous models and fashion experts have to say about androgyny within the fashion community and in what ways they believe it represents beauty.

    Also, I enjoyed your poem. I wonder in what way your mention of sin, “I squinted through metal and glass and sin,” may have to say about the social construct of gender identity and expression.

  2. mlhbenz said, on May 9, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Androgyny….One thing that I find so interesting about the idea of androgyny is how SEXY it is. Since I have known what, androgyny is I have always thought of it as a very sexual and beautiful concept which I always thought was weird because androgyny means no clear gender which most people would not connect with anything sexual. I find the mystery and lack of clarity about androgyny what makes it so sexual to me. The idea of both genders being combined or the boxes of gender being disturbed is the most sexually charged idea I could imagine. I am not sure if I myself could ever consider myself androgynous because of the judgments that go along with it, like my friend Melissa is the epitome of androgyny to me, everywhere we go you can see people staring as they try to figure out WHAT she is because of how unclear it is. I have even heard people go so far as to refer to her as “it” or “he/she” because of how uncomfortable she makes others for whatever reason.

  3. Mathys J Thom said, on July 31, 2014 at 11:50 am

    In my childish moments I still remember our friends from Hollands daughter as the most beautiful in existence. The worlds most beautiful flower ever…

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