Fashion Redefining Masculinity

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Mallika Barsaley
A 2nd-year student pursuing B.A.Programme with a knack of writing. A budding journalist and an all-time explorer. General Secretary of B.A.Programme Association of Kamala Nehru College.

Traditionally, when people think of fashion, it is mostly associated with women. Fashion for a layman or for that matter movies is always considered a women’s ‘thing’ or for an obnoxiously sexist character. Fashion for men, unfortunately, hasn’t been open in many spheres.

However, as times are evolving, the gender stereotypes and false notions of masculinity are diminishing. Although vaguely visible, the changes are slow as baby steps. Especially the fashion and entertainment industry emerging first towards the change. The fashion industry has always been open and accepting of the changing notions of masculinity, femininity, and beyond. The recent times have seen gowns and costumes being specially designed and stitched for men. Billy Porter is an exemplary example of exhibiting unconventional notions through his red carpet looks. Seen in Oscar 2020, in a fresco gathered skirt with high golden wedges, Billy Porter couldn’t have looked more fabulous in his #ootd. Crush to most of the girls, our very own Harry Styles was seen walking in heels as part of his red carpet look. Also, Chanel’s male collection, “why should girls have all the makeup?” helped in further shattering stereotypes.

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The above-mentioned examples might seem to be startling and bold in a society where women are considered ‘soft and weak’ (as per google search) and men are considered ‘strong and macho’ or more dramatically played ‘Mard ko dard nahi hota.’ However, ‘mard’ is now seen being observant and particular about his grooming. Although a softer and less considered change, men are now being open to manicures, facials, pedicures which are the things considered ‘ladylike’. Jimmy Choo uploading his photo with perfectly blended eye shadow and nails done is one exquisite portrayal of the recently changing notions.

In India, our very own Karan Johar has been spotted addressing the elephant in the room on various occasions. The actor is very often laughed at for his dress sense however his idea of “masculinity or femininity is being comfortable in your skin” has perhaps helped changed the Indian mindset a little. Although this change is not as massive as the one witnessed in the West, yet we are progressing on our way to break these insignificant gendered stereotypes.

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Hopefully, this breakthrough will open the horizon to more prodigious eradication of patriarchal and categorical stereotypes.

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