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Subject: Androgyny

Written By: Criz on 09/23/02 at 07:46 a.m.

Hey everyone. As some of you may know - I am doing a college project on Gender Representation in 1980s Youth Culture and Music. A few of you have responded to my questionnare on the Playful Penguin Place board.

I just want to know what you all think of the androgeny of  the deacade. This could be linked to people such as Boy George and Annie Lennox or the New Romantics/men in make up thing. Please respond with your feelings and knowledge on this topic as there is very little informtaion around about it. Thanx :)

Subject: Re: Androgyny

Written By: Race Bannon on 09/23/02 at 08:38 a.m.

I remember '84-85 and I was jsut out of high school.  Androgyny was quite established by then and I new quite a few guys who kind of went that route, with the look and the attitude came the sexuality too, Bisexual was kind of the hip thing in some crowds.  I think the rapid rise of aids during those years helped to end that period pretty quickly.

Subject: Re: Androgyny

Written By: Todd_R_1 on 09/23/02 at 11:33 p.m.

Hello Criz!  You knew this would get a response from me!  I was very much into androgyny in the 80s.  But for me it was less about make-up and more about clothes.  Boy George never actually wore REAL dresses...more like long tunics and over sized shirts with leggings, etc.  But he was more about make-up and hair.  I was REALLY into what the girls wore.  Miniskirts (rah rah styles as well as bubble minis)  And also those 50s inspired dresses with huge skirts and petticoats, with bright colors and polka dots and stripes etc....  I didnt wear this stuff to school, but you could find me in it out at clubs and concerts all the time then.  I think I was the only boy in my town who went 'that far out there' when it came to experimenting with clothing and such.   And the fact that I was straight, confused some people even more.  Even with all that said, it seems people were more accepting of what I did back then, certainly the Annie Lennoxes, Boy Georges, and Pete Burns of the times helped...  Anyway, if I could go back to the 80s, I wouldnt have changed a thing...the girls clothes were WAY fun back then and I wasnt going to let a little thing like 'gender' stop me from enjoying it!

Subject: Re: Androgyny

Written By: Criz on 04/15/03 at 11:45 a.m.

This needs to be revived beacuse I have my exam coming up and really need your imput and opinions!!

Subject: Re: Androgyny

Written By: DJ Midas on 04/15/03 at 12:28 a.m.

Other than what I saw on MTV, it wasn't very prevalent in my area (North Phoenix AZ) in the 80's...either that or I was totally oblivious to it, which is quite possible...

Subject: Re: Androgyny

Written By: princessofpop on 04/15/03 at 12:40 a.m.

Here in Washington D.C. it was pretty popular.  I always thought it was really cool.  At one time during 1987 I had the total Annie Lennox "do".  And noone ever thought I was a man or lesbian or anything.  However, it seemed that all of the guys that wore make-up & trendy jewlrey and such were always look at as being "gay".  Even if they were straight, they were always called "gay".  But it wasn't like that for women in the reverse situation.  But nowadays, most people sterotype women with buzz cuts as lesbians.  And men with make-up, yeah they are still thought of as "gay" :-/

Modified to add:  When I said "men with make-up" I was talking more along the lines of the New Romantic style, not the Poison, Motley Crue style ::)

Subject: Re: Androgyny

Written By: Gis on 04/15/03 at 01:25 p.m.

Hmm,Having grown up in a mining area in Yorkshire I have to say I can't really remember many blokes going round in makeup - think Billy Elliot !! However I moved to Oxford in late 84 and once I started going to Glam Metal gigs in London you certainly saw ALOT of men in makeup with huge hair.The whole glam metal and Goth scene was full of men who embraced the opportunity to wear makeup,jewellery and hairspray! I do remember reading that there were a fair few gay men in Glam bands though whether this was just because it was an opportunity to be 'themselves' or from the love of wanting to play the music.Personally men in makeup didn't bother me,why not? If women can use it to look better why not men? However my philosophy was I didn't mind men in makeup as long as they weren't wearing more than me !I do remember getting told by a 'trendy' friend that the fact I fancied men with long hair and makeup meant I must be a closet lesbian errrr right.

Subject: Re: Androgyny

Written By: Gis on 04/16/03 at 02:33 a.m.

Having thought about this a bit more I think it was also an opportunity for alot of men to try out using makeup etc without getting total ridicule for it.I think alot of men given the chance would, just to see what it's like.Almost like being a woman for a day/hour or something.I can remember the time when you couldn't get near the mirror in the ladies at the Marquee for blokes preening ! In the end they fitted a mirror in the mens toilet and peace was restored ! I think with hindsight it seemed to settle into men starting to take more care over their appearance and not worrying that they might be thought of as a wuss for doing so.

Subject: Re: Androgyny

Written By: Criz on 06/02/03 at 11:40 a.m.

Thanks very much for your help guys with this topic. My exam is next week and I need to comment heavily on androgyny. I have so many other things to write about too, but the input on this topic really helps me :)

Subject: Re: Androgyny

Written By: Huw on 06/02/03 at 03:10 p.m.

Remember that this really began in the '70s. In the UK the two great innovators of makeup for men were Marc Bolan or T Rex and David Bowie. Bowie even wore a dress on the original cover of The Man Who Sold The World album. They were followed by other so-called 'Glam' bands as The Sweet and Mudd (not forgetting Freddie Mercury of Queen). In the '80s, the New Romantics picked up where Glam left off.

The key '80s people are probably Boy George, Klaus Nomi (look him up on Google if you don't know him) and, to a lesser extent, Steve Strange, Nick Rhodes, David Sylvian, Marc Almond, Dead or Alive and Tasty Tim. Not forgetting Marilyn and the John Waters cross-dressing filmstar turned disco diva, Divine.

Undoubtedly makeup in the '70s had gay overtones. Eye shadow and nail varnish was often used as a highly visible 'statement' of radical sexuality. While the gay angle may have been modified by the '80s (not all the people in my list above are gay), an awful lot of the more outrageous practitioners definitely were gay: e.g. Boy George, Marilyn, Divine. Then again, many gay stars of the period avoided any hint of androgeny (e.g. George Michael - it was pretty widely circulated among those 'in the know' that George was gay way back in the early '80s even when George was playing the public role of a very straight stud!).

Good luck with your project.
best wishes