In the last few years, acceptance of different gender identities and challenging of cisnormativity been seen across all media outlets. As more people are willing to share the details of their journey in finding their identity, they express themselves in various ways.
Whether it be through presentation online, creating artwork to express their struggles, or changing up their look, more people are experimenting with how others view them.
With large platforms utilizing their influence in order to represent marginalized people, people will feel more comfortable with their identity and feel accepted. Most notably, H&M, a fashion brand popular with both men and women, has introduced its campaign capitalizing on the importance of self-expression and wearing clothes that help illustrate one’s unique sense of style.
In turn, advertisements such as these celebrate the experimentation any person can have with the image they present to others around them, and create a safer environment for those that are typically the outliers.
By providing encouragement to step outside any preconceived notions on fashion, people can discover the flexibility of clothing regardless of the section to which it’s assigned.
Personally, I enjoy wearing flannels and sweaters from the men’s section of thrift shops because they flow nicely and add a distinctive silhouette to my ensemble, and draw focus to different areas of my outfit. Not having to limit yourself to certain patterns, styles or labels can allow for creativity in fashion and explore different parts of oneself.
For example, YouTube sensation and LGBTQ+ activist Connor Franta recently shared his thoughts on wearing a dress for the first time: “It was such an out-of-body experience…but I just felt so confident.” What is typically reserved for the opposite sex or what is socialized to be perfect for a person may not always be, and allowing others to experiment with their presentation to the world.
Contrary to what others may believe, people that freely express themselves and feel confident in their choices should be celebrated and encouraged to further discover ways to make themselves happy.
For instance, those that fall outside of the gender binary that may have difficulty identifying with the clothes presented to them could benefit from being recognized in the realm of fashion. Clothes can be interpreted as art, and we should not stifle the vision of those who wish to create outside of what already exists.
With companies like H&M helping to blur the gender lines that are presented to us, a collective effort between the consumer and producer emerges that can begin to challenge that do not serve our ever-changing society. Just a simple ad-campaign can reach out to millions of people: some who may be wishing to be represented, others who are ignorant on the subject, or people who support the development of how we see others.
Regardless of what personal beliefs you may have, at its core, movements like this one strive to celebrate those that are outside of the restrictions we place on ourselves and make this world a more imaginative place.
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