Thursday, June 19, 2014

A is for Androgyny

Today I continue blogging my way through the alphabet with another A word, androgyny.  Wikipedia defines androgyny as:

“The combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. Sexual ambiguity may be found in fashion, gender identity, sexual identity, or sexual lifestyle. It can also refer to biological intersex physicality, especially with regard to plant and human sexuality.”

I disagree with throwing intersex people in at the end of the definition.  Organisms that are naturally biologically male and female, like most plants are called hermaphrodites, not androgynous.  Intersex people are usually called intersex or by their specific condition.  Having an intersex condition does not mean the person in question will automatically be androgynous.     

Androgyny usually refers to how one moves through the world in relation to the gender norms of their culture and time.  What is considered androgynous changes.  For example, the flappers of the 1920’s were considered androgynous because of their short hair and short dresses. 

Historically intersex people have been medically treated and hidden to reduce androgyny.  This is ironic since artists like Annie Lennox, David Bowie and Prince have made androgyny trendy.  I think if an intersex person identifies with androgyny; it can be a fantastically subversive slap in the face to an oppressive system (and will make you trendy).  However, if you do not identify this way, that is wonderful as well.    

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