Gender Identity: What is Androgyny?
Have you ever seen a girl at school who looks a little too ‘manly’ or has a surprisingly deep voice with broad shoulders? Or heard someone describe a guy as ‘very pretty’ even though he’s not wearing any make-up? Basically chomas, have you ever seen someone where you weren’t sure what gender they were? This can be described as gender ambiguity chomas and it simply means that a person can look or sound both male and female, where you can’t really tell what gender they are. Gender ambiguity is also known as androgyny.
The meaning of androgyny
The word ‘androgyny’ comes from the Greek word ‘andro’ meaning man and ‘gyny’ meaning woman. Androgyny is therefore the meaning of having both male and female characteristics. Androgyny applies to people who don’t want to be seen/identified by their gender. But what is gender identity and is there any link between it and androgyny?
Gender identity is not about your physical body, it’s when someone identifies themselves as either male or female. It can also be seen as someone seeing themselves as both male and female or neither gender, which is also known as ‘genderqueer’.
The idea of gender identity is closely related to the role a particular gender ‘plays’ according to society. For example, many of us grew up thinking that it was a woman’s role to cook dinner for her family while the man provides the food.
For example, many of us grew up thinking that it was a woman’s role to cook dinner for her family while the man provides the food.
But, how many of us have grown up with a single mother? The role of the female has changed in the past few years where more mothers are the ones providing for the family. In some households, it is both parents going to work and providing. So, environmental factors (an absent father or the economy, respectfully) within the society caused a change in gender roles.
Gender roles are largely influenced by society – for example there are some cultures that explain how each gender should behave. Females are expected to be sensitive and passive whereas males are expected to be assertive and protective. But we are slowly starting to see these expectations change.
There seems to be are no set gender roles for androgynous people which makes this the idea of gender identity slightly unclear when talking about androgyny.
There are some androgynous people who are comfortable with how they already look but there are others who are not as comfortable or happy with how they look because, according to them, how they look on the outside is not what they truly feel they are on the inside. In other words, they don’t feel as if the gender does not match with the body. This is called Gender Dysphoria, where the person experiences some disconnection with the gender they currently are. This is why some androgynous people have a strong desire to change their sex to better match with the gender identity that they feel they should be. We call this process being a transgender.
Can androgynous people be a combination of both male and female?
There are some who may use a combination of both masculine and feminine characteristics. For example in fashion, where one day they may wear a matric dance dress to their Matric Farewell and then wear men’s clothing when going out with friends. This does not necessarily have anything to do with their sexuality but may have everything to do with how they want to express themselves; that they carry both masculine and feminine characteristics and we should not box them into either gender identity. There is no ‘right’ way to be an androgynous person.
We must be careful in boxing people. Just because we don’t understand why they’re dressed in a different way to us or don’t ‘speak’ the way a male or female should speak, doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with them. We are free to be whomever we want to be, this includes how we want to dress, who we want to date and how we want to present ourselves to the world. No one has the right to tell you how you should look like, and no one has the right to tell people how they should look like either.
What are your opinions on androgyny? Are you living an androgynous lifestyle? Share your story with me. If you have something to add, write it in the comments section below.
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