The fantasy is that technology will deliver us to a new Garden of Eden. As we restore sustainable polyculture in our fruit production, we’ll eradicate binaries like Good & Evil through the same scientific knowledge. We’ll no longer feel shame in our bodies because we’ll have the ability to design them like fruit—manipulate our hormones; supplement our diets (Royal Jelly for life); implant ourselves with breasts, biococks, whiskers… whatever; and outsource (or not, your choice) our reproduction. We’ll hack our biological coding & become postgender.
The idea is that technology is natural. Evolutionary. The hammer is an extension of the hand. Glasses of the eye. Now, laser eye surgery can perfect our vision beyond the 20/20 standard of “perfection.” Standards will continue to change. Progress?
In a postgender utopia, biological sex does not equal gender, does not equal sexual orientation. This continuum is challenged by multiplicity in all areas: in our genitalia, hormones, and other affective biochemistry; in our makeup, fashion, and language; in every performance of self.
I’ve heard this isn’t appealing to everyone. In my idealism, that’s OK. Conventional hetero monogamous selves will still be celebrated, just as part of a glorious diversity.
“The end goal of feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally. (A reversion to an unobstructed pansexuality Freud’s ‘polymorphous perversity’ – would probably supersede hetero/homo/bi-sexuality.)”
-Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case of Feminist Revolution (1970)
The worlds I live in are: New York, Montreal, the art world, the fashion industry, the Internet—of course I think a postgender revolution is nigh. In fashion, in the narrow subset of the industry I choose to recognize, postgenderism is everywhere. J.W. Anderson, Rad Hourani, Eckhaus Latta, Hood By Air, Telfar, Comme des Garçons, Martine Rose—all gender code like there are no rules. Ruffles were significant this and last spring. Ruffles on nineties-inspired skid wear. Ruffles with skate shorts. Also: skirts over pants.
Katherine Bernard, writing for Vogue, noted that the ongoing FW 2014 runways are showing, “unprecedented gender fluidity.” This latest ambisexual fashion is far from drag: it’s not about borrowing from an Other, not about contrast & contradiction, it’s about… feeling:
In collections like Edun and The Row, silhouettes are formless, with legs cut so wide you can’t tell a pant from a dress and sweaters piled on, hanging low so body parts are left a mystery in a cocoon of cashmere. These pieces are more about how it feels to wear clothes. It’s an empowering concept.
Designing to maximize comfort & mobility, to feel our best, does seem like an empowering conquering of nature over culture—progressive. What postgender takes from the feminine is the easy & efficient: man skirts for when it’s so hot your balls drop and platform (height enhancing but still comfortable) shoes.
Postgender brands target markets based in affinity rather than demographics. You buy/are what you are/buy. We’re buying into a new tribalism. Hood By Air’s postgender tribe is music oriented: GHE20G0TH1K. Eckhaus Latta’s is Star Trek utopic meets MaddAdam crafty. Telfar offers Snuggies & UPS-esque uniforms—“Extremely Normal™” underclass clothes—for all. Rad Hourani engineers unisex patterns designed to make everybody look as stately as an Albert Speer building. The Row is anti-ageism for the 1%.
I produce more testosterone than the “average” female (been tested). This is why I have bad skin and more fun, or that’s the hypothesis. I’ve never felt comfortable in my femininity, nor have I ever felt jealousy. I am most attracted to pretty men, handsome women, transcendent androgyny (Andrej Pejic) and anyone who skateboards. A queer mentality suits me—naturally? My ambisexual fashion is a deliberate expression of that.
It is a great privilege to dress for self-expression above all else.
Dystopia & utopia are one and the same: thought experiments, two sides of a coin that in reality spins so unstoppably fast it’s a globe. The postgender utopic believes in the freedom to be/come anything. The dystopic: that class (incl. education, access to tools/technology) has overwhelmed all other identities and that the “freedom to be/come anything” is a privilege of certain classes and class spaces, like high fashion.