Androgyny - it's a splendidly uniform future, and we're already on our way (apparently). One of the biggest mistakes in western society is that we assume the hypothesis of the male/female binary, the notion that there exist two separate and opposite genders. This gender dualism is false (and, might I add, without any scientific basis), and detrimental besides. Androgyny is a way to overcome this, according to this (relatively) new movement. (I might point out at this stage that these are a collection of ideas that the movement itself holds faith upon, not necessarily my own). In androgyny, masculinity and femininity are not regarded as opposite ends of one spectrum, but as two separate spectrums. In this fashion, you can be or have neither, or both at once, rather than just the one or the other as we imagine it these days. In this way we can combine the countless elements of masculinity and femininity in any number of ways, according to our individual inclinations, needs and nature. This indicates a higher degree of diversity, contrary to the popular visions of a despotic, nightmarish future reminiscent of something out of the novel Brave New World.
Androgyny is not about this type of world filled with grey, faceless masses; it is a movement, a semi-utopian dream held by a chosen few all across the globe. They are nowhere near as outspoken as other movements such as the gay & lesbian groups, because they are tolerant but do not impose tolerance upon anybody. Furthermore, they know that this way of living is an inevitability.
Androgynes are already among us in the forms of Keanu Reeves, Leonardo DiCaprio, Natalie Imbruglia, Billy Corgan, Daniel Johns, Winona Ryder, Kate Moss, and most notably the rock stars who pretty much pioneered it all: David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Annie Lennox and Boy George (and more recently, Marilyn Manson, and Brian Molko from Placebo). Future androgynes won't be categorically gay, but they will look like they could be either male or female. It also seems fitting that most people will be by nature, bisexual. This does not mean they will be randy little threesome junkies, merely that they fall in love with people's minds, not their gender or appearance.
The Japanese have a word, "bishonen." This translates as "beautiful" + "boy". The term is used in anime & manga to describe a male character with a feminine appearance and personality. But by feminine appearance and personality we do not mean glammed up transvestites with telltale husky voices. It illuminates a subtlety. They have model-thin frames - pale, slender, tall, creatures with blue and green and grey and slightly asian eyes, papery black garb, and soft temperaments and softer voices. And they will pretty much all wear pants. They will accept anybody whether they are male or female or vegetable or mineral, gay or straight or somewhere in between, and that's their draw card, that is what makes androgyny less like a neo-nazi notion and more a beautiful ambition. For there will not need to be a war to be rid of all the people who fall outside these realms, everybody will naturally end up looking like this. With the advent of food pills and the realisation that the way the world at large eats these days is greedy & unnecessary, people's frames will naturally be tiny and spare. The inevitability they speak of, it all comes down to globalisation. We are going to keep fucking until we are all the same colour.
The way of androgyny is that one will be sensitive, free with their emotions, fluid with their sexuality, and ultimately comfortable with their own androgyny. They know the importance of just being, rather than needing to define themselves or box themselves in. 'Society' will no longer be a dirty word. There will be no underground anti-society extremists. This is because everything will be far more civilised. The air will be cleaner and the earth greener. People will be (if artificially) better looking. Cosmetic surgery will be so advanced & inexpensive that we could just change things on a whim (this is not necessarily an encouraged proposal). Ultimately it will be a prettier planet.
Traditionally, lesbians have been the ones to challenge gender stereotypes and to advocate an androgynous image. However, many usually just ended up dressing like men, which is not what androgyny is about. Before androgyny can really take hold, there will need to be a revolution in men's attire. Some people argue though that this type of uniform has already arrived in the form of a white T-shirt and a pair of Levi 501's. You can be rich or poor, man or woman, and still wear the same thing. it's the epitome of neutral. By the year 2001, people presumed we would be wearing standardised, identical, unisex space-age jumpsuits. Or at least, that is what certain designers such as Gianni Versace once predicted. It was assumed that nobody would have time to select anything other than a uniform. However, I don't think art will die down so easily. Nobody will submit to wearing exactly the same thing as everyone else. Perhaps it might be like the crew of star trek where male and female crew members wear uniforms only differentiated by colour. Or perhaps it could be somewhat like the jetsons, where the clothing is a flurry of colour and shapes except that they all have the same feel about them. And everything goes with everything. Simplicity.
So how do we go about diminishing the idea that masculinity and femininity are two polar opposites, never intermingling? Where once, feminine men were perhaps mocked and assumed gay or "pansies", and more manly women were labelled "butch", the advertising world and the world at large seems to be more accepting of androgyny and bisexuality these days, albeit in a largely stereotypical way (usually not straying very far from the popular image of threesomes betweem two women & a man, or perhaps a sexy dominatrix). The idea that masculinity belongs exclusively to men and that femininity belongs to women is so culturally ingrained in language that it may be difficult for us to differentiate. However, one Eve Sedgwick had a notion that masculinity and femininity are in actual fact, orthogonal, i.e. that rather than being opposite poles of the same axis, they are in different, perpendicular dimensions, and hence, independently variable. And in this way, and all the others outlined, androgyny truly is the way of the future - stepping out of existing, limiting paradigms and thinking in dimensions, being open-minded and free, and above all, tolerant and accepting.
A dash of information was unearthed at salon.com and retrofuture.com