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Colors have no gender. But if they did??
It's messy little rant time, friends 😜
Some of you are new here. I’ve been quite cerebral as of late, delving deep into my existential bag. But the OGs know I’m a humorist at heart. A poet and a jester.
A poetjester, if you will!
I am feeling a bit silly this week. Also a bit dazed (and confused?!) and so I’d like to offer you a messy little rant for old times sake.
It’s about gender, a thing I think quite a lot about. But first, I have a TV show recommendation for you all.
A (very) gay tv series nearly 20 years old
My dear friend has brought to my attention a little fashion show many of you may be familiar with, though you may not know that it is, in fact, still very much on…and entertaining?
Project Runway (2004 -) has been a reality-show fixture for nearly 20 years. I surely watched a few seasons in the early aughts. You know, like Christian Siriano’s, in which he rocked that asymmetrical emo bird-in-flight hairdo (complimentary)?
Until recently, the show felt like a distant memory from a past life.
But now? I’ve seen all the latest seasons (16-20). And it’s been fun to play wildly judgmental, though critically uninformed, fashion critic in the comfort of my own living room.
The mess-to-gorgeous garment ratio is pristine. It’s rarely hard to tell when a designer might catastrophically fail, and so their journey is all the more exciting because they often have no idea.
And Christian Siriano is thee absolute perfect human to take the epic Tim Gunn’s place as these designers’ mentor.
HOWEVER. One of the most recent episodes I watched has caused quite a stir in this-here brain of mine.
Let’s call it Genderqueer Color-gate.
It all began with a partner challenge.
You know, those challenges just one notch above group challenges—a thing most designers heavily despise as it means their own creative visions may or may not make it into the final product and may actually be their very demise.
However, the partnership in question was a desirable one involving designer friends Hester Sunshine and Fabio Costa, whose works compliment each other well.
The two were tasked with the ever-gay assignment of creating a modern couture gown that exude royalty, dahling.
They were excited. Estatic. And as two self-described nonbinary and genderqueer folk, they said they’d do a “genderqueer design.”
I will spare you my other rant about the fact that there is no actual thing as “genderqueer designs,” as literally whatever a genderqueer person chooses to wear then, in fact, becomes a genderqueer design.
I will instead pettily focus on these two designers’ color choice for their albeit gorgeous creation.
They chose gray, friends.
Gray, not simply because they enjoy the color gray, no! But because, to them, it represented genderqueerness. Both of them felt this way!
Not red, or the universally loved black. Or even white. Gray!
Now, I love a good gray. Once, my wardrobe was a sea of black and gray with infrequent accents of white. Giving very much queer, minimalist mime, actually. Twas cute though a touch repetitive. Less so than my linen phase… I have many an odd fashion era, indeed, but I digress.
I must say it. Gray, gray, gray is not the designated color of genderqueerness or gender-nonconformity (GNC).
Nor is black, or white, or even red, the color of blood, a thing we humans all require.
To be genderqueer does not mean that you are devoid of all the vibrance and radiance life offers. You are not neutralized into an existence of monochromatic monotony.
I’m reminded of a far more messy rant I shared months ago about my thoughts on the term, ‘nonbinary.’ How it’s been deemed our third gender, the corner of our societal gender triangle, joined by boy/man or girl/woman.
Perpetual grey, pink, and blue. That can’t be our fate, is it?
I shall state for the record: gender has no color. Gender can be any color. Any color compliments any gender.
But now we’ve reached the hot take of the hour. Because, no, gender has no color. But if it did? I believe it’d be entirely opposite of what western society claims it to be today.
Pink would be for boys. Blue for girls.
Allow me to express my argument with three distinct points
Based on what we know of male-vs.-female animals, male animals are clearly more flamboyant. Like these two butterflies above, the male rocks gorgeous orange tips, while the female is a demure white and gray-ish blue. This disparity happens a lot.
In nature, there’s this thing called sexual dichromatism, or when males and females of the same species have different physical traits that have very little or nothing to do with breeding.
Scientists theorize that female animals are less colorful because of a stronger need to camouflage. Whereas male animals, particularly birds and lizards, are more vividly colored as a sexual signal for mating.
Look at almost any culture around the world. They’ll tell you, our sun (or Son 🙄, as some might say) represents the masculine. The moon, feminine.
Red, orange, and yellow, vibrant and bold: masculine.
Blue, black, darker, cooler colors, more mysterious, dreamy: feminine.
B*rbie’s recent resurgence in the pop culture zeitgeist might have eclipsed the fact that not long ago at all, pink was our dear beacon of masculinity.
Yes, just in the 18th century, it was customary that little boys donned pink, and girls blue, for formal occasions.
How pink 180-ed on itself is a bit muddy, but it seems a hodgepodge of heavy-handed marketing and a shift in societal inclinations over the years have brought us to today.
Today, the year of our gawds 2023, in which two genderqueer designers profess one nearly-none color, gray, our obvious genderqueer hue. As if all the genderqueer folks have voted on this fact!
I say all this to say—well, to point at rather, the absolute arbitrary journey colors, and in turn, gender, in recent history. It is bizarre and silly, and, in my opinion, something to be laughed at. Never taken seriously.
Gender has no color. But I hope the next time you see that it does, in this world anyway, I hope you think of this silly little rant and smile.
P.S.: Shout out toand for recently recommending my newsletter as one of their faves. They’re both super dope reads, and I’m beyond flattered and grateful.
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Happy Wednesday, folks.
See you in two weeks!