We all know this from our mythology. On the 10th day when Lord Krishna charioted Arjuna out to the battleground, on the chariot was Shikhandi standing ahead of Arjuna. Bhishma, who would not die till he chose to do so lowered his bow for he did not want to fire his arrows at a woman, Arjuna seized the opportunity to fire a fusillade that became the bed for Bhishma as he fell from the chariot. Was Shikhandi a woman? In the mythological tale, he was born as a woman, was raised like a man, became a man with borrowed manhood, sired a son and was a king. Shikhandi became a key player in exactly middle of 18 day battle, as he is introduced as a key warrior on 9th night must have more than symbolic importance.
What is interesting is that our mythological tales are full of instances where one person taking both forms is common. The examples range from Mohini who is the female form of Vishnu to Krishna who cross dresses to achieve the greater good.
Today, while we seem to be diving the world in binary choices of man and woman or the in between choices of the entire LGBT community, we do have Caitlyn Jenner who possibly has opened another way to look at the gender choices. To see this in perspective look at the gender options Facebook gives you when you create a profile.
Gender fluidity is an interesting term that the psychologists have been talking about for a long time. According towww.GenderDiversity.org, being gender fluid means a person “may feel they’re more female on some days and more male on others, or possibly feel that neither term describes them accurately”.
How does it matter in the world of communication?
This is where it starts to get challenging. We in the business of communication either create the appeals for alpha males and females or for the sensitive males and the considerate, caring females. These portrayals are not going to change for a long long time.
Where the fluidity of gender comes into play is in the world of fashion. The boundaries are blurring rapidly in the style world. Ealier the colour palette for men and women fashions were well-defined, there were clear definitions of female colours and male colours. This has started to break down completely.
Today, a red trouser is par for the course for men and women. Apink shirt is worn by both, men and women, with equal aplomb.
Much of the fashion evolution may not have happened from the perspective of fluidity of gender, but it is creating a fluidity of appeal.
Almost a decade ago, RayBan’s ‘Never Hide’ campaign had gender portrayal that wasneither alpha male, nor alpha female; they were androgynous models. The campaign transitioned the brand from the hard core Top Gun-driven appeal to a cooler, happening, more stylish one. The campaign has evolved, but some of the codes in the campaign have stuck even today.
Today, the Shiseido campaign in Japan has tapped into Gender Fluidity to create the latest ‘Anyone can be cute’ campaign that is winning the world.
Mainstream celebrities today are happy to display the fluidic nature with women playing parts that requirehard-core martial arts portrayal, while men arehappy to be in roles that show them as loving and caring.This may be the time for fashion brands to push this movement, because this is what the world is opening up to.
Original published here: http://brandequity.economictimes.indiatimes.com/be-blogs/gender-fluidity-the-new-emerging-fulcrum-for-brand-stories/1068