Articles tagged with "Stereotypes"
UK Newspaper Daily Mail reports on the "unusual" relationship of Maren Butler (@marenn.x) and James Carrington (@jxcx3). The pair met on TikTok, James a feminine presenting man and Maren, a masculine presenting woman. Challenging many social and gender norms in the process the pair have formed a long-lasting relationship.
From the article:
"Maren said: 'I remember seeing James' video and thinking he was so cool.
'It was his confidence and his androgynous look that was so appealing to me.
'I left a comment on his video thinking he wouldn't respond but in less than an hour he replied and we started chatting.
'Before James, I'd only dated girls but I've always been attracted to fem-men because I love the combination of confidence and femininity.
'He has a pretty face and pretty smile, what's not to love! It's an unusual pairing but we're so happy.' "
Posted: 20 March 2023
Online newspaper "The Citizen" highlights the change lead by a new generation of fashion-forward, stereotype challenging celebrities.
From the article:
"Gender stereotypes are taking a hit. In the fashion industry, as in other sectors, collections and products that are co-ed, unisex, gender-neutral or gender-fluid are multiplying at high speed, challenging all clichés and precepts in the field."
"It’s no longer rare — or surprising — to see a man on the red carpet wearing a dress or a skirt, towering heels and flawless makeup. And it’s a phenomenon that’s not just limited to the confines of Hollywood — or the showbiz world more generally — since it has been working its way into the mainstream for several months, if not years."
The list in the article is not exhaustive and you might also be interested in one of our Q&A pieces - "Which male celebrities have been known to wear heels?" / Use quick code 'cel'.
Posted: 22 December 2022
Why are gender stereotypes bad?
A gender stereotype is defined as an overgeneralisation of characteristics, differences and attributes of a certain group based on their gender. Typically this is most widely understood in the context of the gender binary of men and women. For example, women are often portrayed as being emotional, caring, nurturing and in need of protection. Men are often characterised as being leaders, rational, career driven and strong. However, a gender stereotype is harmful when it limits the group’s capacity to develop their personal abilities, pursue professional careers and/or make choices about their lives.
Other examples are where assertive women are called “bitches” and “whores”, while men who don’t appear or act masculine are called “sissies” or “wimps” or assumed to be gay, which is a very offensive stereotype in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Gender stereotypes are complex and originate from local culture and traditions. Children learn what constitutes female and male behaviour from their family and friends, the media and institutions including schools and religious bodies. Gender stereotypes can have an adverse effect on all genders, as young people find themselves regularly exposed to messages about how boys and girls should look, behave and play. These socially accepted and often unconscious ideas start to form in infancy.
Gender stereotyping results from unconscious biases held by all of us. Unconscious bias happens when our subconscious makes assumptions about people based on their background or perceived background.
Everyone has unconscious biases. An individual can be unconsciously influenced by a stereotype even if they do not rationally subscribe to it. Becoming aware of our biases and working to counter them is an important way to combat the negative effects of gender stereotypes.
Unconscious bias arises because we have to process vast amounts of information every second. In order to avoid being overwhelmed, our brains have to make assumptions based on previous experience and find patterns to speed up decision making.
However, these assumptions tend to be based on simple characterisations of people such as their age, race or gender. They are communicated through micro-messages such as body language and choice of words. This is more likely to happen when we are stressed or tired, and can cause problems by affecting our beliefs and treatment of others.
As our society moves to a broader construct of what “gender” means, individuals who are stuck in this binary idea of gender have a difficult time wrapping their brains around individuals who do not fit into a strict gender dichotomy, or do not identify with any gender at all.
We are easily thrown in terms of our interactions with others for whom our brain has not been programmed to stereotype to some degree. This is because stereotyping enables us to make sense of the world – at least sometimes. Someone who considers themselves “Gender Fluid,” or “Gender non-conforming,” threatens the stereotypes we are familiar with and for that reason can seem is weird and/or threatening because we can’t even stereotype them.
Mainstream media & advertising have a powerful role to play in defining the gender stereotypes that we perceive, so much so that in June 2019 the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK banned "gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence" following a review.
The ASA said the review had found evidence suggesting that harmful stereotypes could "restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults and these stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising, which plays a part in unequal gender outcomes".
"Our evidence shows how harmful gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to inequality in society, with costs for all of us. Put simply, we found that some portrayals in ads can, over time, play a part in limiting people's potential," said ASA chief executive Guy Parker.
Media defines culture, and culture defines change. Individuals may see thousands of advertising messages a day in social media, TV, movies, newspapers or magazines. Those messages matter, because they influence our perceptions of gender.
When it comes to the portrayal of men in media, the fact is that harmful stereotypes do exist about what it means to be masculine, focusing on power dynamics, domination of other men, subjugation of women, violence and aggression. When this gender inequality occurs in the background of gender stereotyping, this is in the most basic sense sexism.
We’ve written new scripts for our daughters about strength and leadership, which are slowly starting to gain representation in media, but what about our sons? What do we want to redefine about their future manhood? New definitions can emerge, though they are often in conflict of our understanding of the world through existing stereotypes. The quantity and quality of advertising messages will largely determine how quickly and how well new roles are defined and adopted by men.
We need to stop seeing challenges to rigid gender roles as a threat, and instead question what’s working for us now and what’s no longer working. The truth is that some gender stereotypes can hold both men and women back from being the best that they can be - and impact our mental health.
Take some time to evaluate the gender stereotypes you frequently encounter and ask yourself whether they truly work to elevate your potential equally alongside others or at their expense because of their gender. Are they genuinely a threat to you or are you simply unconsciously obeying gender stereotype programming which you’ve received since you were born?
When we see a gender non-conforming person in our daily life experience, men in heels being only one example, we should recognise not only the privileges we have in our own position, but the background of inequality within which they have risen through with the mental strength and courage to step outside in the face of gender stereotyping. We may judge them for being "weird", within our own limited experience, or we can regard them as a strong, courageous and individual blueprint for new and positive role models.
Posted: 21 December 2022
NSS (Naples Street Style) Magazine explores the growing trend of genderless fashion and how it has been influenced by glam rock icons of our recent past.
From the article:
"Harry (Styles) has proven to be the right man at the right time. But his sought-after way of dressing has well-founded roots within the British music scene: in fact, the former One Direction man is the prom king and queen at a college where only glam rock is played."
"there is no denying, in fashion history there is a before and an after David Bowie: his flashy outfits and ambiguous attitude were the solid foundation on which the fluid fashion of our century was built."
"the pinnacle of transgression was reached with the cry of Freddie Mercury, the most charismatic frontman in music history, a timeless glam and queer icon. With his transformative looks that migrated from white tank tops and jeans to bodysuits and wrap-around capes, the British rock star asserted his sexual freedom through brash and casual clothing."
Posted: 24 November 2022
It's often a simple notion in your own head... "I like to wear heels and would like to wear them all the time". Ultimately you don't care what others think. You could be gender nonconforming. But what does that mean? This article from Psych Central unravels the meaning and puts it into context with other terms such as non-binary, genderqueer and genderfluid.
"Gender nonconformity is a way of expressing rejection of societal gender roles and expectations.
It isn’t automatically connected to a person’s gender identity or sexuality. Anyone of any gender identity can be gender nonconforming.
It’s best to inquire about how a person identifies and what pronouns they use rather than making any assumptions."
Original URL: https://psychcentral.com/health/gender-nonconforming
Posted: 27 October 2022
What is the right heel height for men that wear heels?
There are two aspects to this question, first a bio-mechanical one and secondly a more sociological one.
Let's get the bio-mechanics out of the way first. I'll use the biological sex male and female here for clarity. A human male foot (on average) is wider than a female foot, which also means that some male feet are the same width as female feet. The length of a male foot (on average) is longer than that of a female, though again there are a number of males who have feet which are the same length as female feet. The consequence of some male feet being as wide and as long as a female foot is that they can comfortably wear shoes which were intended for wear by females. The consequence of male feet being generally larger than females feet is that they can, comfortably accommodate heels which are higher than would normally be worn by females, especially as the length of the foot increases.
So from a bio-mechanical point of view, it's largely a question of how big your foot is and the condition/flexibility of your muscles & tendons as to what shoe and heel height is right for you. In the end you'll find that a process of trial and error will get you to the point where you find out what the maximum height is that you can comfortably wear. Everything in-between that and flat heels are what are right for you (from a bio-mechanical point of view anyway). We're ignoring, for the sake of positivity and fashion all of the medical reasons why high heels are bad for you (sorry doc)!
If you want to get scientific about it you can use the Perfect Heel Height (PHH) Calculator which offers a mathematical way to figure out what your maximum comfortable heel height should be.
From a sociological perspective, it's a whole other ball-game. It's a simple fact... you can't please everyone with what you wear, or don't wear. It's always either too much, or not enough for someone. The same applies to what heels you wear. For some they are too high, too much (fetishy/stripper) for others, not high enough, the wrong style, or the heels are not slim enough.
For many men who wear heels they do it out of rebellion against outdated social norms which want us to conform to given stereotypes. If we try and accommodate the too much/not enough judgement, we're simply swapping one type of conformity for another. That just doesn't make sense. You can keep your judgement, thank you.
As the proverb says... "Judge not, lest ye be judged". Give yourself a self-check here. Do you openly judge other people for what they wear? Would you want that same judgement cast back in your direction? I'd guess not. It's time to stop judging other people for what they wear.
It is true that in the movement to degender fashion we throw around the mantra of "Clothes and shoes have no gender", but it can also be argued that clothes are imbued with gendered, raced and classed cultural meaning (Lipton et al), though we can see from historical records that this meaning is flexible and has changed frequently over time. Women were judged and ridiculed for wearing pants towards the start of the 20th century, but they are now socially normalised. It's not beyond our imagination to see a world in which all clothing is more normalised between the sexes, it just needs open minds.
What is right for you from a sociological perspective? It largely comes down to what you personally feel comfortable and confident with wearing on any given day. Some of that might be influenced by your current mood, what you have planned for your day, what the weather is doing and who you'll meet. Your comfort zone may be tested here, but that's ok. You might find that being in a comfort zone is not the best thing for you anyway. Are you too much or not enough? Women in particular (yes, and "some men") unjustly live with this dichotomy constantly and can guide us as a good measure of what can be considered too much or not enough when it comes to what we wear in any given situation. As always, those boundaries can be tested and expanded, but we can also use women's fashion and style as a guide for men for avoiding any potential judgement or criticism whether it's warranted or not. There's plenty of style inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest
So, in summary, what is right for you is what you're comfortable and confident in, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
Posted: 20 October 2022
In this article the Bright Side website highlights the growing confidence of men in heels and explores the possible reasons why.
"It’s not known by everybody, but men did wear heels in the past, long before women started wearing them. High heels were originally designed for men, but this faded over the past centuries. However, surprisingly, heels seem to be breaking their way back into men’s fashion again, as more and more celebs have started to embrace their feminine side by wearing their favourite pair of heels."
"statistics show that the sales of heeled men’s shoes have been on an upturn since 2017. More and more men are embracing their femininity and showing off their beloved heels more confidently than ever."
"High heels are still associated with women’s fashion in the modern day, though more and more celebrities, like pop icons and rock stars, are keeping this trend alive for men. The expansion of heels in the male section at stores has gone beyond the stiletto.
Many different types of heeled shoes have become available. Designer brands, like Gucci, Maison Margiela, and Saint Laurent, knew that heeled shoes would break into men’s fashion again and took the opportunity to develop new models in this category."
While the article presumes that all men that wear heels are getting more in touch with their feminine side, which is somewhat stereotypical, it's generally a positive perspective and worth a read.
Posted: 3 October 2022
Power of Leather blog post by Deni (@d.e.n.i_c), takes us on a brief history of the high heel, how they are loved by men and women alike.
Deni highlights a great point from The Age of Enlightenment that "Males were stereotyped as practical and rational, whereas women were seen as sentimental, making them better suited for heels than men", and adds a great quote about stereotypes...
"The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story." - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
It's certainly great to see a growing number of people blogging about men wearing heels and boots.
Original URL: https://www.powerofleather.com/post/heels-heels-heels
Posted: 11 September 2022
Is the term ‘Cross-dresser’ out-dated in today’s society?
Before we can answer that question, some definitions may be useful.
Cross-dressing: is the act of wearing items of clothing not commonly associated with one's sex. Cross-dressing has been used for purposes of disguise, comfort, comedy, and self-expression in modern times and throughout history.
Almost every human society throughout history has had expected norms for each gender relating to style, colour, or type of clothing they are expected to wear, and likewise most societies have had a set of guidelines, views or even laws defining what type of clothing is appropriate for each gender.
The term "cross-dressing" refers to an action or a behaviour, without attributing or implying any specific causes or motives for that behaviour. Cross-dressing is not synonymous with being transgender.
Another term for cross-dressing is Transvestitism. Someone who engages in Cross-dressing/Transvestitism is called a Cross-dresser(CD)/Transvestite(TV), although the term Transvestite is now commonly considered outdated and disrespectful. The term Transvestite (often shortened to the slang term "Tranny") was historically used as a slur against people who wore clothes of the opposite sex. Cross-dresser is now a much more accepted term. Cross-dresser was coined by the transgender community.
MtF and FtM Cross-dresser: A man who dresses in women's clothing is a male to female (MtF) cross-dresser. a woman who dressing in men's clothing is a female to male (FtM) cross-dresser. For women, the term is seldom used and the wearing of trousers/pants/men's shirts is often discounted as cross-dressing. This is because in our current society, male clothing is often considered gender-neutral. Therefore when someone uses the term "cross-dresser", the focus shifts mainly towards a MtF cross-dresser.
With those definitions made, two additional points are important to recognise:
a). Cross-dressing as it relates to Transgender: Wearing clothes intended for the opposite sex does not mean that the person identifies as the opposite sex. It is different from being Transgender or Transsexual. When transgender people dress according to their gender identity it is not necessarily the same as cross-dressing.
It is important to know that a cross-dresser does not necessarily have body or gender dysphoria (gender dysphoria means feeling uncomfortable with their body and gender they were born with), they are perfectly happy with their gender assigned at birth and have no desire to change their sex, but simply enjoy being able to cross-dress from time to time. However, Transgender describes people who feel that their gender identity is different from their biological sex.
Most transgender people do not appreciate being called cross-dressers, and for good reason. As they are wearing clothes of their own gender identity they consider themselves, and should be considered by others as the gender they are dressing in. A Transgender woman wearing women's clothes is not a cross-dresser, nor is she a drag queen. She is just a woman. Similarly, a Transgender man, wearing men's clothes is not a cross-dresser, nor is he a drag king. He is just a man.
b). Cross-dressing as it relates to Drag: A cross-dresser should not be confused with drag queens/kings. Drag is a special form of performance art based on the act of cross-dressing. Drag queens are usually male performance artists who dress in female character. Drag Kings are mostly female performance artists who dress in male character.
Now, to get down to answering the question...
As gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and identities of girls, women, boys, men, and gender diverse people we can deconstruct that concept. While the term Cross-dresser works well for some people, as it has for years, for many others they do not feel that it works well for them. For non-binary or agender people (who don't identify with the gender binary of male & female) who want to wear certain clothes as part of their gender expression, feel that the term is obstructive and often offensive towards them. With the realisation that clothes have no gender, a skirt or a pair of trousers are essentially just coloured and textured fabric cut and sewn into a garment. The clothes know nothing of gender other than that assigned to them by their creator. The same, of course applies to shoes - high heels are not women's shoes... they are just high heels.
A growing number of people believe that today's socially constructed gender stereotypes don't serve us well in enabling fully inclusive gender expression that recognises our diversity. With the central fact that gender is a social construct, gender labelling of clothing is also a therefore also social construct and can equally be challenged and deconstructed. Gender labelling of clothing perpetuates the construct, but in more recent years this is slowly changing with manufacturers and retailers removing, or neutralising gender labelling on clothes and on signage in stores.
Manufacturers and retailers, now too numerous to mention, are also making items of clothing more traditionally intended for a single sex for both sexes, while recognising that the key differentiator is not actually our biological sex, but our body shape. Does the term cross-dresser still stand up when the clothes have no gender labels? Maybe not.
All clothing, of whatever shape, colour, texture or style has been worn by both sexes as normal daily wear at some point in history, so why do we have gendered clothing now? Visual communication is one of the many reasons we dress the way we do. Our gender identity is expressed visually through what we wear, as can be our social status or rank within an organisation. Sometimes our visual appearance, what we wear, make-up, hairstyle, skin colour, whether rightly or wrongly, can trigger others around us through our learned and often habituated social conditioning to make a judgement on how they should interact with us. Aside from organisational ranking, we should not treat people differently because of their appearance. Everyone is born equal and should be treated as such. Does what they wear really matter more than their actions and achievements as a person?
In conclusion, the term Cross-dresser is fine for a socially constructed world in which there is a gender binary, but it does not work well in a non-binary world where gender is expressed on a spectrum and where many believe that clothing has no gender to start with. When it comes to the use of the term today, if the logic used to describe a man in "women's" clothes as a crossdresser does not hold when applied to a woman wearing "men's" clothes - it's not logic, it's sexism.
When clothing has no gender there are no lines to "cross", hence no cross-dressing and why we therefore believe that the term cross-dresser is out-dated and should decline in use.
Posted: 27 July 2022
There are some great blogs on the web and this post from Resha caught my attention as I feel it speaks to many of us who just want to wear what we want without judgement.
"Almost everyone has an opinion on a everyone’s appearance. Some people just have the decency to keep it to themselves."
"The problem is that there isn’t an outfit that anyone can wear without being judged."
Posted: 19 May 2022
We are living the gender revolution, so why don't men wear skirts, make-up, fancy tops or high heels? NoKill magazine (@nokillmag) takes a deeper look at the construct we have built around gendered clothing and ultimately declares that it's time to degender fashion.
Posted: 25 April 2022
Koreaboo gives the run-down on the top male artists in K-Pop who love to wear heels.
- Juyeon - @magijuyeon
- Kai - @zkdlin
- Jo Kwon - @kwon_jo
Mentioned in the article are the video for "I Need U"...
- BTS - I Need U
and the feature on BTS in Esquire
Posted: 25 January 2022
In this punchy piece about gender discrimination and employee dress codes, Briony Lipton (@briony_lipton) discusses work clothing in the time of coronavirus. With reference to the Department of Home Affairs’ attempts to ban sleeveless blouses from video calls for employees working at home, Dr Lipton explores changing norms of workplace attire and the confusion they can entail for both employers and staff.
Posted: 13 October 2021
The Bubble asks “Do clothes define gender?”. Harry Styles’ appearance on the cover of Vogue magazine in a Gucci dress opened the flood-gates of discussion around gender. This article digs a little deeper into the topic of gender, stereotypes and the associated backlash from conservatives.
Posted: 22 September 2021
Mens and Women's fashion are converging and the pandemic has helped. Find out why in this article from Coveteur.
Posted: 29 July 2021
This article from Fashion North explores how social media is influencing behavior by men towards other men who break current social stereotypes by wearing items not normally associated to them. It highlights how Hollywood stars, such as @TheeBillyPorter are starting to challenge societies' model of male appearance, sexuality & behavior through fashion through their high profile social media presence. Others such as @TryGuys are presenting different ideas about what men can do and building a substantial following along with it!
Posted: 5 July 2021
This article by @edsullivan2 from the brilliant InStyle magazine (@instylemagazine) explores how spaces like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube have given androgonous stylists, post-gender visionaries and queer creatives the freedom to embrace their authentic selves, tools to build a platform, and potential to have a wide reach and impact. We see how people like @tripleminor, @wisdm, @alokvmenon, @sammyratelle, @elierlick, @jayybeech, @bethanycmeyers, @nicotortorella and @patrickchurchny are successfully challenging fashion boundaries and taking fashion influence from the streets to social media.
Posted: 20 June 2021