Is Gender Neutral Fashion Linked To Gender Equality?

Is Gender Neutral Fashion Linked To Gender Equality?

As societal norms change, the boundaries between women and men's fashion become hazy.
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As of late, unisex fashion trends have taken the runways by storm. When the media portrays the future of fashion, both men and women dress alike. In “The Hunger Games” for example, men and women wear flamboyant colors in their clothes, makeup, and hair. As societal norms shift, androgyny in fashion has become more prominent.

In the spring of 2015, Selfridges, a British department store, launched a new campaign called the Agender Project. This campaign featured a three-floor exhibition of gender neutral clothing. The display of clothes was completely non-gender specific. Selfridges showcased the same/similar outfits on both men and women instead of using gender specific mannequins. Selfridges isn’t the only brand to experiment with gender roles in fashion; in 2016, many women models took part in men’s fashion shows!

Gucci's 2016 spring and summer collection featured women wearing the men's collection, both on the runway and in advertisements. Gucci 2016 men's collection is most definitely testing the boundaries of masculine fashion, and not just by having women wear the men’s clothes, but the fabric itself. The fashion line includes many silky materials, lace, and floral print, all of which are not the traditional men fashion wear. Gucci isn't the only fashion designer taking risks; similarly, Louis Vuitton tested the confines of feminine style.

Louis Vuitton's recent ad featured Will Smith's son, Jaden, wearing a skirt! Jaden is known to experiment with fashion; at Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding he wore a white Batman suit! Regardless of his personal fashion choices, Louis Vuitton definitely tested the limits and quickly captured the attention of many audiences around the United States. This year not only marks a time where gender neutral clothing and models of the opposite sex hit the runway, but also the year where transgender models take on the fashion world!

Model Hari Nef may just be the next model to watch out for. This year she became the first transgender model signed to IMG Models. IMG Models is an international model agency aiming to challenge the status quo and is best known for representing models such as Gigi Hadid and Kate Moss. Despite being the first transgender model signed to a major agency, Nef has taken on the fashion world by storm, modeling for big names such as Gucci and Vogue to name a few!

Fashion is a business, and it’s necessary to stay current to succeed. However, exploiting people’s lives and turning their story into revenue is not something that deserves praise. Is gender neutral fashion just a marketing stunt? Is the fashion industry manipulating a current social movement for a profit? Regardless of what it is that drives the fashion industry to create gender neutral fashion, be it greed or an honest concern, I believe it’s doing more good than harm. It’s bringing awareness to society and advocating social change.

Cover Image Credit: FTAPE

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Past Legal And Modern Social Apartheid

An opinion piece on past legal Apartheid in South Africa and how it is socially reflected in the United States.

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When stepping inside of a solitary cell at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg, I felt a tightness in my chest and wanted to leave that small space immediately; imagining a Black South African who broke the pass laws during Apartheid being in there is beyond disturbing. Due to laws such as the Native (Urban) Areas Act No 21 of 1923, the Bantu/Native Building Workers Act of 1951, and the Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970, Black South Africans during Apartheid were extremely limited in where they could live, detrimentally affecting their economic and employment opportunities. When touring the former Constitutional Hill prison, the guide told us that, when Black South Africans were caught without passes permitting their stay in Joburg for the day and/or night, they spent 5 days in prison, along with murderers and others who committed serious crimes. If caught multiple times breaking these pass laws, they would spend 5 years in this prison. Most of those who violated these pass laws were unemployed or sought better employment in Joburg; this is understandable, as a person has a better chance of having a job by being there physically. When thinking further about the lack of opportunity they suffered from due to the aforementioned laws creating this effect, this legal repercussion becomes further and further disturbing. Additionally, this also directly led to the creation of "White" and "Black" areas, where Whites lived in areas of better opportunity (ex. cities, suburbia), and Blacks were subjected to living in poverty and townships where there was limited economic and employment opportunities.

This lack of opportunity is echoed in the U.S. when looking at socially designated "White" and "Black" areas. Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman essentially because he thought Martin "was not where he belonged", which was in a nice suburban area. As a person of color myself, I have been stared at in museums, followed in stores, and once at 12 years old kicked out of a shop (I did not do anything wrong), because I "stuck out". In this way, society told me (and violently told Martin) that we don't belong in those areas, that we "belong" in ghettos or prison; the racial demographics of populations in U.S. prisons will support me here. Therefore, by society socially designating where people "belong", not only do they bind themselves in their own ignorance, but also prevent people of color from sharing the same access to plentiful life and economic opportunity.

References

Native (Urban) Areas Act No 21 of 1923: Prevented Black South Africans from leaving designated area without a pass. The ruling National Party saw this as keeping Whites "safe" while using Blacks for cheap labor.

Bantu/Native Building Workers Act of 1951: Allowed Black South Africans to enter the building industry as artisans and laborers. Restricted to "Native" areas. Prevented competition between Whites, Coloureds, and Blacks. Could not work outside a designated area unless given special permission.

Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970: All Black South Africans would lose their South African citizenship/nationality over time. Would not be able to work in "South Africa" due to being aliens. Black South Africans would have to work inside their own areas and could only work in urban areas if they had special permission from the Minister.


South African History Online. "Apartheid Legislation 1850s-1970s." South African History Online, South African History Online, 11 Apr. 2016, www.sahistory.org.za/article/apartheid-legislation....

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