Fashion has always been more than just the clothing and accessories that we wear and own. It’s been a statement of one’s self. It has become art. It’s even been part of major movements in history. But for a long time, it’s been divided into what is considered male and female. But what if someone didn’t want to just fall under a label? What if there was something more than just being one of the two?
Do you remember or know the song “Imagine” by John Lennon? It talked about imagining a world where we had no differences to separate us. That we live for the day and for the world. To remind us that we are all on this planet to take care of it and each other.
From Day 1, many of us become obsessed at what a newborn baby will be. Everything is labelled and sometimes even looked down upon because of how we think. That just because you’re a boy that you can’t enjoy some of the cute things that girls love. Or how a girl shouldn’t play sports like basketball or football.
I first heard about Genderless Kei about a year or two ago and I will admit I thought it was just another trend or something that was just picked up from a popular anime. Nearly all of my life, I was into hobbies or trends that, now that I look at it, had a lot of androgynous looks. But it was never popular and even my own family thought it to be a bit weird. It was just a thing for “strange people” to be into. I only found it beautiful.
And with the rise of self love and positivity, people began to love and accept themselves more openly. They became the butterfly they always wanted to be because they finally felt free enough and confident enough to do so. They don’t have to subject themselves to something they feel they’re not.
Genderless Kei is celebrated by everyone wearing what they love and looking however they feel most comfortable. This could include the use of makeup, brightly-colored hair and even pieces of clothing that were only considered for one gender. Another important detail to note is that just because a person dresses in one way doesn’t mean that it’s about their sexuality. A person can have any preference and just like to dress how they dress.
This is a movement about breaking away from tradition.
“Until I was 15 or 16 years old, I would often shop with my mum and sister. But you can’t really express yourself, when you’re only being taught by others.” – Yutaro
More and more people have become aware of Genderless Kei inside and outside of Japan. It has reached the point where you can find it in fashion shows, social media platforms and even on the street.
It’s also not just about boys who want to wear feminine clothing or bringing out more tomboy girls. It’s about bringing people together who love the same thing. It can be because it’s cool or kawaii or any reason at all. It’s about what it makes the person feel.
“At the beginning, my parents were against it. But I felt very strongly about it, so I was able to stand up for myself. My strong determination got me through it.“
Of course, it’s not always easy just being yourself. Sometimes there are bullies, others that can’t understand why someone would dress this way. But if there is a way to get the message across, sometimes people can reach an understanding. And just maybe, they can open their eyes to how they can achieve their own inner peace with themselves.
As a gyaru, I understand completely what many may be going through. Sometimes it seems like the world is set in its ways and there’s no changing it. That you are the only one that feels what you’re feeling. And people are just horrible beings who only seek to hurt.
But you are not alone.
You are one of a kind. You should celebrate yourself by showing everyone who you truly are. And there are so many others that are like you and scared of reaching out. But reaching out is what you should do. Make yourself be known and present.
“…if you care about other people’s opinion then you become boring, so I’d rather stand out and be different.” – Yoshiaki
It doesn’t matter what gender you are. If you don’t like labels, then you don’t have to. You love something but are too afraid to get it because of what others might think, then that’s all the more reason to get it.
Genderless Kei is more than just a fashion trend. It is a movement. Let it be the tool you need to become someone you are happy with. Let it help you become the true you.