Monday, September 12, 2016

Gender Neutral fashion

Gender, in one way or another, is a performance. That was the understanding I had leaving high school, after studying goodness knows how many Shakespearean texts. Gender, is also a construct. That doesn't mean to say it's imaginary and therefore unimportant, because to many people, whether they are conscious of the fact or not, gender tends to rule our lives. This not only dominates me life as a woman working in science, but it can also victimise the men in my life when they fall victim to depression and suffer in silence. I could go on about the injustices of a patriarchal society, but when we are confronted with an individual who happens to challenge our perception of gender (and inadvertently, sex and sexuality) the response is often one of confusion, which soon turns to anger. It's important to realise that we as humans are complex beings and understand that not everyone fits into a neat little box. And to meet those people with the same level of care and respect as anyone else.

There is increasing awareness about the diversity of issues within the LGBTQI community, but there is still a long way to go. However, there are those who seek to make this world and the fashion industry a safe and non-triggering space. Source Vintage is one such institute, selling clothing from a bygone era to people of all shapes and sizes. They are, at the end of the day, just clothes. While removing the division between menswear and womenswear might seem inconvenient for some, imagine a scenario where on a daily basis you were harassed by strangers demanding to know whether you where male or female, or quizzed on more private matters. It is just as easy to shop for clothing according to the name of that piece of clothing. Many vintage sellers on sites like Etsy already organise item listings according to these categories, in order to offer buyers a more cohesive shopping experience. It'll be a long time before gender neutral fashion permeates mainstream culture but knowing it exists at all will come as a huge relief to some.

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