((SocPsy}} Androgyny is a term derived from the Greek words andras (άνδρας) (meaning man) and gyne (γυνή) (meaning woman) that can refer to two concepts regarding the mixing of both male and female genders or having a lack of gender identification.
The first is the mixing of masculine and feminine characteristics, be it the example of the loud fashion statements of musicians like David Bowie, Annie Lennox and Brian Molko or the balance of "anima" and "animus" in Jungian psychoanalytic theory. The second is in describing something that is neither masculine nor feminine, for example the Hijras of India who are often described as "neither man nor woman".
Androgynous traits[edit | edit source]
Androgynous traits are those that either have no gender value, or have some aspects generally attributed to the opposite gender. Physiological androgyny (compare intersex), which deals with physical traits, is distinct from behavioral androgyny which deals with personal and social anomalies in gender, and from psychological androgyny, which is a matter of gender identity. A psychologically androgynous person is commonly known as an androgyne, although there is a politicized version known as genderqueer.
To say that a culture or relationship is androgynous is to say that it lacks rigid gender roles and that the people involved display characteristics or partake in activities traditionally associated with the other gender. The term androgynous is often used to refer to a person whose look or build make determining their gender difficult but is generally not used as a synonym for actual intersexuality, transgender or two-spirit people.
Lesbians who don't define themselves as butch or femme may identify with various other labels including androgynous or androg for short. A few other examples include lipstick lesbian, tomboy, and 'tom suay' which is Thai for 'beautiful butch'. Some lesbians reject gender performativity labels altogether and resent their imposition by others. Note that androgynous and butch are often considered equivalent definitions, though less so in the butch/femme scene.
Androgyny in fiction[edit | edit source]
In fiction, androgynous characters are growing in popularity.
- Anime & Manga
- Japanese products in particular such as anime and manga tend to be the most prominent source in recent times for the display of androgynous characters. Examples include Envy from Full Metal Alchemist, Haku and Deidara from Naruto, Luppi from Bleach, Akame Nisei from Loveless, Sailor Uranus from Sailor Moon, Harara from Apocalypse Zero, and Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club.
- Video games
- There are multiple examples of androgynous characters in video games as well. One example is Bridget from the Guilty Gear video game series. There are also many androgynous characters in the Final Fantasy video game series, such as Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII). Raiden of Metal Gear Solid 2 was given an androgynous appearance on purpose so that both male and female players could relate to him and draw themselves deeper into the experience. This form of "beautiful boy" androgyny is known as bishōnen. Similar reasoning was behind the choice to make NiGHTS, the main character in the Sega Saturn game NiGHTS into Dreams, androgynous. In the Nintendo 64 game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the fictional character "Sheik" could also be labeled androgynous, because it is in fact Princess Zelda disguising herself as a man.
- Pop culture
- The movie Orlando follows the young nobleman Orlando, who lives through four centuries in Britain and changes sex on the way, ending up as an androgynous being. In the movie Stargate, the Egyptian god Ra is portrayed as an androgynous figure. In the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled The Outcast, The Enterprise helps an androgynous race. Saturday Night Live's popular character "Pat" played by Julia Sweeney, was portrayed as an androgynous figure.
- Elves in fantasy-fiction are often portrayed as androgynous. In the fantasy Tabletop games Warhammer 40K and Warhammer Fantasy, one of the gods of an army in the series known as Chaos, Slaanesh, is described as often appearing in an androgynous form.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Feminine side
- List of transgender-related topics
- Visual Kei
References[edit | edit source]
- Bem, Sandra L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 42, 155-62
- Dynes, Wayne Androgyny Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. Dynes, Wayne R. (ed.), Garland Publishing, 1990. pp. 56-68.
- Bern, S.L. (1975) Sex role adaptability: one consequence of psychological androgeny, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 31: 634-43.
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