It’s something I have thought about on more than a few occasions just being who I am.  Androgyny though isn’t something all people understand.  In a world that attempts to gender us in to neat little categories, and with everyone’s perspective being different androgyny can put you in a world of your own.  Because of that, a fundamental understanding of what androgynous means is vital.  Androgyny is literally the mix of having traits of males and females, I.E. A women with wide shoulders, a male with a rounded or oval shaped face, et cetera.  Many things can make you androgynous.  Gender expression for one can make you androgynous.  The way you dress, do your hair, and nails, and the way you carry yourself can tell someone about your gender.  Your bodily proportions can say a lot about your gender, from the width of your hips, to the shapes of your face.  For example, women tend to have rounder faces, and men tend to have squared faces.  Men have longer more pronounced noses, and women have bigger lips.  A mix of any one of those traits can make you androgynous.  Mind you, I find androgyny to be sexy, and would never say any woman with masculine characteristics was unattractive, manly, or otherwise.

Androgynous Woman, or women who have masculine characteristics or expressions. (Left) Neve Campbell (Middle) Unknown (Right) Noomi Rapace

Androgyny in women is still scorned, and to many degrees it differs from society’s ideas of beauty.  Few people can pull of androgynous without flack in our society unless they are gorgeously androgynous.  Androgyny though, can actually rate against someones attractiveness as a woman.  When taking test to find what types of faces I find attractive, I found mens faces more attractive when they were more feminized, and womens faces when they were more masculinized.  It is indeed so that androgyny does have a place in high fashion, especially in Europe.  However, there is still a wide array of issues in our culture with androgyny because of things like sexism.  It is the cultural belief that you must look a certain way as a man, and a another as a woman.  Also, the standards of what qualifies as feminine beauty in it are also wholly unrealistic.  Even the most unassuming people can be victims of its infectious nature.  For a woman to be masculine is equated to being butch, mean, sometimes homosexuality, aggressive and less attractive to the opposite sex.  For a man to be feminine is equated to being weak, submissive, homosexuality, a sissy, perverted, and as being less attractive to the opposite sex.  Men can also be androgynous, but it is an identity that garners much more scrutiny for men.

Androgynous Men, or men who have feminine characteristics or expressions. (Left) Andrej Pejic (Middle) Justin Bieber (Right) Hyde

Too many degrees the issue with androgyny in our culture among some revolves around the sexualization of androgyny, and other forms of gender rebellion, gender variant persons and behaviors.  There is a tendency of the media to sexualize, or sensationalize transgender, transsexuals, or other forms of non-binary gender presentation.  Because of this and rampant homophobia and transphobia it becomes an issue of discrimination to be different from the sexists idea of male and female.  This is because people are hypersexual, and many aspects of our culture revolve around sex.  With that being true, there is a heteronormative expectation among some men that the feel they are entitled to sex with women, and as such entitled to be free of those women being transsexual.  It’s a product of both homophobia and transphobia, coupled with the sexist mentality that bring about this.  As a culture therefore, the femininity in males is scorned, and deplored, but not because it is genuinely wrong to be feminine as a male, but because of the sexuality of society.  Some people have no choice about their femininity, and no one has choice over their gender identities.  It’s wrong to discriminate against someone for something that is inherent to who they are as a person.  We are all different, and we should be embracing that diversity and not scorning it.  Androgyny and beauty aren’t always equated to one another, but the airbrushed beauty of the media world is not a realistic, or achievable standard for femininity or masculinity in real human beings.

Androgynous me, or me in a picture showing both my masculinity and femininity in one image. (Left) Pre-transition (Middle) Pre-Hormone Replacement (Right) 1+ Year of Hormone Replacement.

Opinion may vary, and people may have very deeply rooted personal reasons to say that those like us look male, female or in between.  However, I feel it is reasonable to assert that I am androgynous, and that I have and will always be so.  I state that proudly, because I am happy about my androgyny, and I will not erase that, or apply false dichotomies of gender to that to make me fit the binaryist mentality of today.  I have recently as a person come to accept the blend of masculine and feminine that is me, and it brings me joy with which I will not be parted.  No longer in my life will I be made to feel shame for not meeting the standards others place on me, nor will I bend to the opinions of others without evidence supporting such claims.  I once was blow about the breeze by those who sought to place me into little boxes, but no longer.  I am free to be me.  That being said though, I really hope that one day the human race gives up on making such trivial divisions among us, and embrace each other for who they are.  Human Beings.  I don’t think we can grow as a culture or as a race until we let go of these divisive thoughts about who is who, and what is what.  I am totally for learning about the world, but why make a division where there is none on its own?  Men are men because they know themselves to be men, and women are women because they know themselves to be women.  For each one of us who is not them, I think it’s fair to take them as they present themselves, to accept their identity and not try to impress ours upon them.  But until then, to all my gender variant brothers, sisters, neithers, and kindred spirits be well.  Let your hearts be like Teflon so that no label but those you choose yourself stick.