The Stereotypical DresserAuthor:
Each day I quietly compete with my executive assistant Stefan in dressing distinctively. Invariably he upstages me to my daily disappointment. His advantage is that he is unashamedly gay and I often ask myself, why does he have the freedom and I don't?
The way we dress is part of how we represent gender everyday: unwritten rules define the limits of such performance and only become apparent once they have been breached. The sensation of irritating people by crossing into incorrect territory and wearing a certain piece of clothing will affect us when we feel entirely over or under dressed at an event. I'm interested in the convergence of gender and the question of whether it is beginning to happen. A recent turnout at Zambezi's Show at New Zealand Fashion Week saw Stefan and myself mingling in rarefied fashion air much to the amusement of the “ big bloke ” security doormen. At the cutting edge on either side of the divide, the lines are blurring rapidly in terms of gender fashion.
We can regulate our physical expression through the different clothes we wear. Any physical divergence is looked upon with suspicion, as it cannot be clearly associated with what is considered normal. Such truths are rarely questioned and demonstrate that the stereotypical ideas of gender are constructs based on a two-sex model. Reality proves, however, that inter-sexual people exist, but must they face the choice between one of the two socially accepted genders. Is there a new fashion era about to break where both sexes for that matter can cross their respective lines?
Wouldn't it be interesting if we as New Zealanders got there first? I would like to think in the southern Isles of Oceania we could in fact see a softening in these Anglo-Saxon traditions of dress. After all these are the happy Isles we should celebrate our good fortune in any way we can. So, why can't we stray more into each other's worlds where we have a broader fashion palette.
Stefan is our daily inspiration of expression well beyond the mouse.