By Johanne Margarette R. Macob
THERE are different ways to convey one’s identity – traditions, beliefs, language, and clothing are some. Clothing bares the fantasy within one’s psyche while it fends one’s body, expressing what one wants as well as what one doesn’t like. And most, if not all, of the time, one’s identity-conveyers subconsciously are being used to pursue his or her ends for equality.
One type of clothing style is that of androgyny, an expression of ambiguous sexual identity; it is neither masculine nor feminine. According to Anne Hollander, androgynous clothing aims not at taking up the fundamental characteristics of the opposite sex but rather the sexual quality of the other sex. But I believe, particularly at this time, clothing is not used to get any quality of the opposite sex, rather to expose the qualities that one has, those which have been attributed to only one sex before. There are no imitations of any kind, rather mere divulgences. Today, in the context I know, the most popular clothes of androgyny are long pants (of all kinds) and pink shirt. Pants, historically being worn only by males, and pink being categorized as the color of femininity. Through evolution, whose eyes then haven’t seen even a single male with a pink shirt on and a female striding comfortably with her pants?
Females are known as the shy, soft, emotional, and receiving type and the males being harsh, hard, poker-faced, and emissive individuals, and these stereotypes paved the way for revolution. Clothing revolution is the discreet movement, yet as I could see, an effective one. Pants were launched to be showed off by females, creating an impression, “kung anong kayang gawin ng lalaki, kaya rin ng babae”. In the same manner, pink shirts began to be fashioned by males. And men communicate their sensitive side; subliminally showing notions of men’s vulnerability.
Sex roles which started a long time ago – created unjust gender differentiation – is now in the process of being deconstructed. Males are not always tough, they can’t do everything; they have the right to cry and show helplessness at times. Men aren’t supermen to handle things at ease; they have the right to show frailty. And females are not helpless at all times, they could do many things. Women could axe timbers as good as they could trim unnecessary things in their life that bring difficulties. There should be no gender dichotomy. In fact, according to the Taoist philosophy, one can be a whole person only if he or she could be able to be both masculine and feminine.
Androgyny’s role in clothing shows that both sexes wanted to get out of the squared notions given to them by the society. Without a single word or a verbal conversation, a man or woman passing the street with the personally designed fabrics wrapping him or her already reveal the illusion of the soul beneath them. It is an illusion containing a man’s and a woman’s desires and loathing, a pursuit for equality – a breakaway.