Olivia Lusala and Zoë Butler

The Gender Benders

Crossdressing: the act of wearing clothing that is commonly associated with the opposite sex. Crossdressing has been used by many for the purpose of self expression in modern times and throughout history.

November 6, 2018

This fashion editorial focuses on femininity in men which acts as a form of power, challenging the underlying message that femininity is inherently inferior to masculinity. There’s a misconception that hypermasculinity is the most sought after attribute in men and that femininity signifies weakness and softness—femininity is predominantly perceived as an unappealing quality in men.
Yet major fashion icons have pushed these these misconceptions to the side, creating a shift towards greater acceptance of gender nonconformity. According to The Independent UK, Jaden Smith, a heterosexual male, says he wears skirts and continues to fight gender stereotypes in the hope that it will mean one day children can wear anything they without being bullied. He modeled women’s wear in Louis Vuitton’s 2016 campaign and was photographed at Coachella wearing a dress that looked like it probably came straight out of his sister Willow’s closet. That same week, Harry Styles, who has confessed to preferring women’s clothing because of its nice fit, hit the city in heels. Prince rocked catsuits; Kanye West performed in a print silk blouse; Boy George showed us that men could rock makeup and fashion associated with women. David Bowie completely destroyed the social expectations and narratives of masculinity with every outfit he performed in and for that we are forever grateful.
Whether it’s guyliner, a murse, a catsuit, a crop top, or a dress there is something incredibly chic about gender-bending style. Women’s clothing has so much to offer in terms of silhouette, texture, shape, color…who wouldn’t want to explore this and express themselves, break the stereotype that clothes are “girl clothes,” and go along with the idea that clothes are just clothes?

Olivia Lusala and Zoë Butler
Gender fluid fashion, or dressing in ways that do not conform to gender stereotypes, has gained popularity in recent years. Notable examples are celebrities such as Harry Styles and Jaden Smith.

Olivia Lusala and Zoë Butler
Thrift stores and Depop (an online resell site) have played a large hand in the rising popularity of gender fluid fashion.

Olivia Lusala and Zoë Butler
According to The Independent UK, Jaden Smith, a heterosexual male, says he wears skirts and continues to fight gender stereotypes in the hope that it will mean one day children can wear anything they without being bullied.

Olivia Lusala and Zoë Butler
Skirts and dresses are commonly associated with cross-dressing and gender fluid fashion, but the interpretation is up to the individual. In this shoot, The Little Hawk highlighted earrings, “feminine” colors, and longer skirts on the models.

Olivia Lusala and Zoë Butler
The clothing in this photoshoot was provided by PlaygroundAlley, a locally run online vintage resale store. More of their items can be found at depop.com/sistersplayground.

Olivia Lusala and Zoë Butler
Ethan Snee and Dylan Proeller ’19 pose in more feminine clothing, as a way to show the rise in gender fluid fashion choices among heterosexual men.

Olivia Lusala and Zoë Butler
Crossdressing and gender fluid fashion has a history of being popular within the LGBT community, particularly among gay men — but, especially recently, has been embraced by everyone, seemingly regardless of orientation.

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