Since shooting Christopher in the dress last week in San Francisco I can’t stop thinking about gender fluidity. I really wanted to have this conversation with my college age daughters last night at dinner, but all they wanted to talk about was politics. Frankly, I can’t debate the political issues of our time anymore this year. I want a month where we talk about authenticity and what it means to be human.
My adult University of California Berkeley leadership class last fall was comprised of a very diverse group of leaders and I learned so much about culture and how it impacts people at work. We talked about the caste system and the Silicon Valley lawsuits where people are still considered “untouchable” based on a centuries old class system. As an instructor I am called on to address these many sensitive issues. Initially, it was daunting, but I had no choice, but to proceed. Quitting was not an option. I had to coach myself remembering that I was there for a reason and all I had to do was do my best. Over time I grew into the role because I discovered that all I really needed was to be sensitive to other people who have different mexperiences than myself.
Now, Ocean SF is pushing the envelope with the dress and how this impacts masculinity. Personally, I love dresses. I even had a bird watching skirt I used to hike in. Yes, I for a time enjoyed bird watching, but then I discovered sailing…
When my kids were young we spent most summers in Lake Tahoe and we did a lot of hiking on very hot days. I remember thinking I do not want to wear polyester hiking, but there weren’t any great alternatives. So, I am working on that. I love the Japanese cotton that has more structure and is tightly and finely woven making it suitable for sitting on rocks high in the Sierra Mountains. I want to use it for hiking shorts that are soft and fluid. A very cool and comfortable alternative to the nylon running shorts or the tight yoga pants of my past. I’m still experimenting, but they will be coming soon for both genders or maybe they will be unisex. I recently spoke via Zoom to an honors class at Oregon State University’s School of Business on Design Thinking. I shared my screen to show the class a floral fabric and asked if they thought men would wear shorts made of this and they said they definitely would.
Since the photo with Christopher in the dress I’ve been listening to the music of Harry Styles as I see him as so iconic for this generation. I love his video for the song Golden. He is trying so hard to push the boundaries of what is expected of him. If there is a theme song for the past few weeks it’s this song. It makes me think about love and all of the things that are possible.
The Vogue cover of Styles hit a nerve and as with anything unconventional it had some haters. Right-wing activist Canice Owens attacked the singer’s shoot writing: ‘There is no society that can survive without strong men … bring back manly men.’ reported the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom.
My belief is that you need to be yourself and let others do the same. And, what you wear doesn’t make you less of a man, or less of anything. You are not what you wear, but who you are, although I do believe you should wear ethical and sustainable clothing, but that’s another post.
Love and blessings to all.