Last week I had the opportunity to speak with Andrew (Dr. Smiler, my mentor) about the progress of my thesis. I’m incredibly fortunate to have him as a resource thru April.
He proposed I look at gender neutrality from a different perspective. Does it sit on a single axis, where you identify as male or female, or does it sit on two axes, where an individual identifies with variant levels of masculinity and femininity.
Sandra Bem, Bem Sex-Role Inventory, is recognized for her studies of androgyny and gender. Her classification of an androgynous person: high degrees of both masculine and feminine traits, reflects the “type” of neutrality I’m interested in.
As a visual culture, we fawn over the androgynous models of couture fashion. Striking beauty then, I’m deducing, is an often proponent of androgyny. It’s interesting that, physically, a blend of masculine and feminine features is highly praised, but emotionally is outcasted.