Tuesday, April 7, 2009


What do international celebrities, Michael Jackson, David Beckham, and Angelina Jolie have in common? Besides being superstars and multi-millionaires, they are the icons of androgyny in our modern culture. As borders blur, markets merge, and cultures blend, androgyny seems to have found its way to global mainstream.

There are two definitions for androgyny: physical (intersexual) — born with both male and female genitals; and psychological — combining both masculinity and femininity as traits of a unified gender that defies social roles and psychological attributes. The common usage of the term ‘androgyny’ in society refers to the latter description. As to the sexual orientation, an androgynous person can be heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

In fact, evidence of androgyny being embraced by society appears everywhere — institutionalized in entertainment and fashion cultures, more explicitly in expanding gay and lesbian communities. As trendsetters, entertainment and fashion industries have played an influential role in advancing a challenging perspective on human sexuality for modern times. In the 1980s, androgynous musicians — Boy George, David Bowie, and Prince — made headlines as they captured the world’s fascination with sexual ambiguity. Perceived as a worldwide idol, Michael Jackson personifies androgyny with his falsetto voice and effeminate manners. Since the 1980s, Hollywood has produced movies depicting sensuous beauties — Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill — as intelligent, tough, and strong adversaries in leading roles. Nowadays, female stars are expected to perform equally well in all the exciting moves and dangerous stunts as their male counterparts........

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