Oxford Dictionary defines it as: “Partly male and partly female in appearance; of indeterminate sex”
Lesbian Handbook (my personal favourite) then defines androgyny as: “the state of being neither particularly masculine nor feminine, or of being ambiguous.”
Whichever definition you go by, androgyny is an adjective to describe someone who is of equal masculinity and femininity. There is a lot of mixed feeling around androgyny as many people disagree with stereotyping clothing or characteristics with either gender, and ‘buying into’ androgyny supports the gender binary in a way, yet also goes against it… it’s confusing, to say the least. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding androgyny such as an androgynous man is just a gay man, or that androgynous people are just transgender, or even thoughts that to be androgynous you must be skinny and flat-chested (if you are a woman), with short hair and probably menswear. This is obviously incorrect, anyone can be or can self-label as androgynous, whatever size you are, whatever your sexuality, and whatever gender you identify with. I have spent a long time trying to label myself, being labelled by other people, and generally feeling amiss.
I previously wrote about my feelings of annoyance and upset when people would claim I wasn’t the right ‘type’ of person to call myself butch, because I wear make-up and am not slim. And in recent months I have felt that ‘androgynous’ was a more correct way to describe myself, as I am neither more feminine nor more masculine. I wear make-up, but I wear mens clothes, I have a feminine figure, but my posture and way of acting is like a man. It evens out, and I realised – I am only androgynous, hell, I am only feminine or masculine, if I agree with the gender binary stereotypes that the world and society adhere to. And I do not agree with them. I believe men can wear make-up and skirts, and still be men; I believe women can have ‘men’s’ haircuts and sit ‘like a man’ and still be women.
But if I must label myself to feel comfortable in my skin, which I feel I must – this is what society has reduced us to – I feel androgynous. I feel neither here nor there, I feel a comfy middle, I feel like I’m sitting on the fence, I feel like… me.