While there is much debate on the subject, it is clear that beauty is circumventing itself. Neutrality or non-binary gender is playing a huge role in how things are shaping up.
The merger of Burberry and Gucci men’s and women’s fashion show in Milan solidified this. Unisex clothing and accessories shared center stage with traditional garb opening the door to a whole new breed of clientele. Men’s and women’s fashions were replaced by gender neutral items in a spectacular show that included many famous transgender models. It created quite the buzz around the world.
There is a kind of paradox when it comes to beauty trends in general.
This paradox will not have an impact on future trends.
Let’s take a look at things.
Women have used fashionable clothing, accessories, make up and hairstyles for centuries to express themselves. In the same context, men have had used beards, hats and adorned themselves with tattoos in an attempt to appear more powerful. While the trends themselves may have been different, the basic principles have remained untouched since the Ancient Egyptians.
What do beauty, beards and gender have to do with future trends? Nothing and everything.
If gender is not going to be so important in the future, will there be a need for fashionable products? In a world where non-specific identity is paramount, many questions loom. Why are so many men growing beards? Even more important, why are there so many different beard types? It should not matter. Yet, in this recent article on many beard styles in StyleMann.com the author showcases over 25 of them. Our fascination with facial hair, make up and beauty seems ironic.
If gender does not matter, why does the power of attraction seem to be so critical?
Some people think it has to do with vanity, but the truth is much simpler than that. It has to do with basic mating principles. Humans are trying to attract a mate, regardless of gender. It is natural and this cannot be denied or changed based on social norms.
However, there are other factors that have a impact and create this paradox.
According to the University of Western Australia men are feeling pressure from other men. They are attempting to look more aggressive to compete with a wider pool of mates. In the same context, other women pressure women to be more beautiful. This happens in the gay and transgender communities as well. Proof of this lies in the fact that sales of male grooming products have risen a staggering one billion dollars since 2012.
The tables have turned. Men who wear makeup appear more feminine suggesting that some males would rather play a submissive role. Women who sport suits are often depicted as ‘ugly” corporate powerful women. This is not always true, so is it gender or gender bias that dictates beauty and fashion?
The competition to be beautiful is alive and well. In fact, things have become so competitive it can lead people to take extreme measures. According to a CBS report, some body altering behaviours could even suggest a mental illness.
If gender is no longer an issue, will people stop trying to be unique? It is unlikely since mating rituals will remain intact.
People are taking huge risks to make themselves appear unique. Gender neutrality has not changed this, people have just found a new way to make a social statement.
Dominance also plays a major role in beauty choices. Of course, this phenomenon is not a modern one. British men have been sporting facial hair during battles to appear more powerful since the middle ages. Women have grown and chopped their hair off as a sign of defiance and independence.
Regardless, if we want to believe it or not, we define gender by how it looks based on popular trends. Vanity? Identity? Defiance? Conformance? Perhaps, this is the real paradox.
Hippies, hipsters, punk rockers, crooners and various other trendsetters have dared to challenged the norms. As much as things change, things have remained the same. We are still judging others and choosing mates based on looks.
Beauty and fashion will always play a gender role. If you choose to wear more feminine or masculine styles, you will still appear male or female based on those choices. People will define your identity based on them. Perhaps if you truly want to define a unique gender you will have to wear non-specific fashions, alien fashions or none at all – now that would be interesting! The naked truth? Truly then, we would have come full circle as humans. No gender, no clothing and no judgement based on looks. That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. Non-specific gender robots might have an edge here.