Don't Assume My Fashion: Why Gender Doesn't Define Style

Hi, I wear pastel-pink pajamas and paint my nails in shades of lilac. I think there can never be too much rose blush, burnt mahogany lips are sweeter than honey, and there are few things superior to the feeling of walking in stilettos.

Please re-read that.

Please tell me you haven’t assumed my gender based on it.

I happen to identify with the pronouns she/her, and this isn’t because the use of pinks and heels is reserved for girls, as if we’ve established a claim to it by having nothing more than a particular identity. Instead, it’s simply because I see those things as a reflection of my personality.

I feel confident in stilettos, intense envy colors for makeup, admire soft ones for garments, and find a certain elegance in painted nails. None of those things are inherently tied to the gender (or sexuality) with which I identify.

If I were nonbinary and transfeminine, should any issues be shopping for the same items? The short answer: no. Maybe I wouldn’t physically match the person and image that society has assigned those characteristics to, but I should. If my pronouns were he/him, should I not have equal access to the same things? Would my body and identity simply deny me the opportunity?

Gender-fluid fashion and makeup are about expanding your preconceptions and stereotypes to weave in every person you’ve excluded by drawing a divide between what is for males and females.

A key contributor to this movement has been gender-fluid fashion designer Harris Reed. They’ve made it their mission to promote fluidity and inclusivity in their work, spreading a message of letting yourself accept your individuality. Reed has been known to work with artists such as Miley Cyrus and Harry Styles, reaching worldwide audiences with their clothing.

Lately, they’ve also turned to makeup. Their most recent project, launching in ten days, collaborates with the well-known brand MAC Cosmetics. As far as their intention behind the products, Allure magazine quoted Reed saying,

“Whether it's 'embrace your duality or 'spark conversation,' I want men, women, non-binary people, and you to be able to pull it out and to put on the best version of themselves. They're putting on an affirmation; they're putting on something that it's [sic] helping them enhance and showcase who they are.”

Harris Reed’s work allows all people, regardless of how they identify, to find different facets of their personality amidst rich, vibrant colors. Each eyeshadow palette is, at its core, a chance to step out of constricting boxes dictating somewhat regressive ideals of what’s right and what’s wrong.

It’s time beauty stops being defined in terms of masculine and feminine; it is human.

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