Here’s why some queer people think gender-neutral clothing needs a makeover

Here’s why some queer people think gender-neutral clothing needs a makeover

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hoodies, hoodies, hoodies

Gender neutral clothing

One writer’s treatise on what gender-neutral fashion gets wrong has hit Reddit as oh-so-right.

In a recent essay for The Walrus, writer Mel Woods observes that most big-name brands’ gender-neutral clothing lines can be reduced to what Woods calls the “dysphoria hoodie,” i.e. “an impenetrable mass devoid of emotion, shape, or gender … something that hides your body and gender expression from wandering—and potentially misunderstanding—eyes.”

Woods continues:

As a non-binary person, I find it unfortunate to see the only clothes marketed to me come from the haute couture dysphoria hoodie line. Maybe I, an ostensibly gender-neutral person, want to wear hard pants or shirts or dresses or literally anything besides androgynous, shapeless hoodies. Just because something isn’t explicitly for “men” or “women” doesn’t mean it has to be boring as sin. I’m definitely in the “dismantle the gender binary” camp, and a good place to start would be imagining more clothing sections than what we’ve got now: “men,” “women,” and “hoodies.”

And Woods proposed a better solution: “doing away with categories altogether by designing clothes that fit a variety of bodies rather than imposing a third ‘gender-neutral’ categorization on consumers.”

When someone posted that article the r/lgbt subreddit, Redditors had a lot to say—and along similar lines. For example:

“It’s like a meme I saw recently. Most clothing lines’ ‘gender-neutral’ section look like dystopian rags; meanwhile, a lot of people who dress neutrally tend to look more like Gonzo. Obviously not true for everyone, but definitely true for a good many of us.”

“Ah, ‘gender-neutral’ clothing, or, as I like to call it, men’s clothing in the ugliest beige they could find. I wish the fashion industry would just give us more options for different body shapes (like traditionally masculine clothing for people with wide hips, for example) instead of trying to sell us the same old sh*t under a different label.”

“We really do need more options for all body shapes. An entire re-haul of the industry! Winter is the only time I enjoy shopping, because ‘oversized’ jumpers in the women’s sections, or. even better, jumper dresses, are the only way I get to buy something colorful that fits my 6’5” ‘oversized’ body.”

“Gender-neutral should still be the fashions and styles we know and love, just with expanded fits so all the bodies can wear them!”

“I don’t really need clothing companies to try to imagine what gender-neutral fashion is. There is no singular definition because there are as many ways to do it as there are humans. ‘Gender-neutral’ isn’t some third gender with a defined aesthetic, and it never will be.”

“If more clothing were size-inclusive, it would also be gender-inclusive. There is plenty of variety in existing styles of clothing, and I have the ability to style it myself.”

Another Reddit user, meanwhile, had a tangential but perhaps not unrelated recommendation: 

“I’m begging the fashion industry, please bring back capes. They should never have gone out of fashion in the first place, but they can still make a return.”


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