“I’ve never seen you wear a dress. I guess I just always thought you were androgynous.”
The statement had stunned me for a bit. I knew I didn’t wear dresses or very obviously femenin clothing really at work much, but I didn’t think I wore it so rarely that others had described me as androgynous. I hardly knew the word but from a few posts here and there on Instagram from people I followed. I had always associated the term with a kind of unisex vibe. People not wanting to be one way or the other. Neutral. Sometimes odd, over-done, or even alien-esq looks, which I have been known to do.
I’m not mad at all about the label. Just surprised by it.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the term. Mainly because, after googling it, I’ve lived and been defined as an androgynous person in many ways without ever having realized it. My interest are vast. My lifestyle has been independent, even since getting married. I’m a strong personality often associated with being male, and also a nurturing personality as often associated with being more female. I grew up with brothers, watching sci-fi with warriors and strong female leads. Playing Star Wars, Pokémon, Digimon, and Transformers. I was repulsed by romance novels and romantic comedies. I liked action and suspense. I liked drama and tragedy. I liked thrillers and the films that often made people WTF. I grew up being one of the guys. Defined as a female with male tastes. Having more male than female friends. Even being called one of the bros. Whatever that even means.
Honestly, I think the pants and the short hair are really the strongest indicators of something close to androgynous about me. I keep my hair short because it’s easy to maintain curly short hair than it is with long curls. I enjoy doing my makeup, but don’t often wear dresses. I prefer button ups, leather jackets, blazers, and hoodies over dresses, skirts, lace, and sparkle, but only because it’s usually impractical for me to wear dresses in most occasions, especially at work. I wear heels when I can and tennis shoes when it is comfortable. I love glittery makeup and dramatic lipstick. I love lacy bras and panties. Getting my nails done. Things that tend to be described as distinctly female and feminine are still my forte.
I hardly think any of this is really something I could label as androgynous though. Mainly because I get the impression that androgyny seems as though it ought to be intentional, and consistent. Something you identify yourself as. A lifestyle choice. Maybe even a sexuality if one could go so far as to say. I feel what I do fashion wise is more a combination of eclectic and modern. I mean, the entierty of fashion seems to be male driven when one thinks about it, especially since WWII when more women entered into the army and were wearing a similar variation of the male uniform simply because it was practical, and women back home started taking on more male dominated jobs and needed more practical clothes to wear. Fashion was driven that direction for women then, and the sexual revolution did more to encourage fashion that way along with feminism, when women were beginning to strive to be more than just objects of pleasure, but actual people with shit to get done and needing practical clothes in which to do it.
My tastes in media and fashion are also what I would define as eclectic. Merely preferences. Perhaps influences by enjoying a childhood with two brothers. Perhaps not. Not an intentional statement, just a personal one. Though I’m sure one could argue that androgyny is also a personal statement. In which case we could leave it all at that and nix labels altogether. However, I can see how my coworker thought I could be androgynous. If a person needs a label to organize their world, referring to me as androgynous is a better label than most things.