Sunday, June 17, 2012

Homophobia in Fashion

I'm finishing up my masters in Journalism this summer.  I CANNOT wait to be finished. My thesis is about homophobia in fashion. 

 In my opinion, it's all related to prescribed gender roles and stereotypes.  In order to understand the world around us we create labels and expected norms and behaviours.  For so long fashion has had a female connotation, however it most certainly is NOT just for us lovely ladies!!! Many men have either been labeled as homosexual or have been harrassed with homophobic comments just because they either partake in fashion dressing or have a job in the fashion world.  Why is this?  

Through research about gender roles, the male and female genders are seen as polar opposites; because fashion is seen as being feminine it is seen as being against what is considered masculine.  Many heterosexual men who turn away from fashion because it has a feminine connotation seem to do so almost as a way of solidifying and reinforcing their male identity.  ‘’The cultural gender belief system suggests that masculine and feminine gender roles are distinct, stable, and tied to biological sex.  The concepts of masculinity and femininity are viewed as polar opposites.  People who have some traits of a prescribed gender role are expected to hold other traits of that gender role as well. ‘’ We then assume that if someone does not conform to a particular gender role (i.e. appearance, interests, personality traits) then that person ‘’must hold other traits of the opposite sex’’ (i.e. sexual attraction). (Herek, 2003)

What we need to realise is that this is a kind of sexual prejudice that is still alive and well within many cultures. There is such a casual homohobic attitude in terms of labelling or calling someone gay.  Why is fashion and homosexuality seen as something negative? Why do we automatically think of someone's sexual preference according to what they're wearing? Why would we even care? A nice outfit is a nice outfit, simple as is it not? 

What do you guys think?