Representing gender

Representing gender

Written by: Nicole Lutze

Once intrinsically linked in Western society, sex and gender have in more recent years become very separate issues. While scientists have scrambled to deal with the chemical and physical components of sexual identification, society has tackled the cultural side of the equation and flipped traditional concepts on their head.

Leading the current gender revolution is our Gen Zers. According to a 2016 report, more than half of American Gen Zers know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, compared to 43 per cent of people aged 28 to 34. And only 44 per cent of Generation Z said they always bought clothes designed for their own gender, versus 54 per cent of millennials.

Whether the media and fashion industries contribute to these changes or simply reflect the conversation around them, is an age-old debate we’re not going to solve in this blog post. But what’s obvious is that gender representation is a hot topic in both these realms.

Australian transgender model, Andreja Pejic (formerly Andrej Pejic) made global headlines in 2011 when she modelled a push-up bra,  pre-sexual reassignment surgery. French Olympian and international model, Casey Legler, became the first woman signed exclusively as a male model in 2012. And more recently, Australian actress and model, Ruby Rose, announced she is gender fluid.

At Etiko, we are all for breaking down barriers, creating change and representing what the people want. But the blurring of gender lines also creates real-world business challenges when designing, categorising and selling merchandise. The bodies of men and women are physically different, and no one wants to buy clothes that don’t fit and feel fabulous to wear. We’re also conscious of potentially influencing peoples self-perception. We want body positivity for everyone and never want to contribute to unrealistic standards or ideals.

So today, we’re asking what you think of gender in fashion. Are you happy to see men modelling female clothing, and vice versa? Do you want to see more transgender models and gender neutral clothing? Or are you a traditionalist who thinks fashion should be modelled by those for whom the clothes are designed to best-fit?

Get in touch and let us know your thoughts via our COMMENT SECTION  below.  Or start the conversation on social media using #etikogender

Author: Nicole Lutze

Nicole is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a passion for sustainability. She loves to tell stories about people who are inspired to do things differently, and those who hope to change the world for the better. She’s also the mother of two tiny humans with big personalities, and an obsessive enthusiast of vegetable gardens.







I certainly think it would be more helpful for children to have a wide range of clothing themes and fits available, so that they can choose according to their own interests, without the sharp stereotypes. For instance, long shorts and normal length tshirt sleeves available for all kids, instead of hypersexualised clothing for girls or overly short sleeves/ shorts.

Being in Gen Y, I was brought up with a relatively rigid view of gender. This has formed a particular bias towards percieving clothing through models who are male, and almost needing a sense of permission to consider certain clothing. That said, with a greater understanding that gender is not binary, a genuine desire to support inclusiveness and a underlying need to express who I am, I would welcome and encourage organisations, particularly like yours, to explore the blurring and, ultimately, the abandoning of the confines of gender stereotypes.

I believe we are given the right body for us at birth and we look best when we accentuate the unique beauty of our femininity or masculinity accordingly.

Why don’t businesses try designing, advertising and making clothes based on body shapes. That way a person can make an informed choice in relation to potential fit, regardless of gender.

Great blog post Etiko!

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