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Gender bending in the 80s?
#1
I was wondering if it was different in the 80s given so many singers and bands of the time seemed inclined this way.

But what got me really curious was seeing this vid:




The blond guy reminded me of my cousin, though his hair is shorter, more dirty blond, and he doesn't wear earrings (or other jewelry) or makeup. As a teen he had a rep as an outlaw and though he listened to mostly country, he did also listen to AC/DC and also had a love for Pantera Cowboys From Hell. He was the "cool" kind of outlaw that even the Bible thumpers tended to give grudging respect to (and I suspect I have him to thank for my not having been seriously harmed as no one was willing to face his vengeance). Of course if he'd dressed up like that blond in the RATT vid I think he would've had a much harder time (being the mid-90s).

But what about the 80s? Would it have worked then? I've noticed that there are multiple bands like Ratt at the time where they wear more makeup than I do but still come off not only as wholly masculine (and hetero) but ready and able to kick some butt (at least that's the image they give, even if often with a sly sense of humor). That is, had my "rough & ready outlaw" cousin came of age in the 80s instead of the 90s, could he have gotten away with dressing like that Ratt blond (makeup, earrings, and all)? Or would that have only been acceptable in the cities (if even then)?

And I'm also curious what effect so many singers and bands (male and female and I mean in pop and rock as well, not just glam metal & hair bands) bending their gender (though still promoting themselves as hetero) had on gender bending and even cross dressing in general in the 80s? Was it more acceptable because so many stars were doing it? :confused:
#2
It's an interesting question that I'm sure some people have looked at. However, I'd be suspicious of these Glam movements of having any liberating or affirming attitudes towards gender bending. They are more participating in an appropriation of certain cultural signs as a form of, at least with glam, a rather lacklustre rebellion. These performances appropriate feminine clothing and make-up without embodying femininity. This is partially the point of the fashion, to be butch in a way that says fuck you to the traditional way of being butch, but they are still worshipping at the idol of heteronormative patriarchy. So, you can't actually celebrate being gay or being a transvestite, but you can play with the trappings of gayness or cross-dressing to prove your masculinity and affirm your heterosexuality.

I think this is slightly different with earlier glam acts, like early Bowie who flirted with an image of bisexuality. These acts in a sense tended to affirm, mildly though, sexual difference as a way of counter-cultural resistance. The 80s hair band thing was so mainstream and so non-transgressive in all of its eccentricity.


When a subject is highly controversial — and any question about sex is that — one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. One can only give one's audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker.
- Virginia Woolf
#3
The 80s was all about expressing yourself so different band and pop singer dressed and appeared differently to get themselves know i.e. Madonna was a great example of this as well a david bowie and prince.
#4
In the 80's it was a way to rebel against the system. The 50's had the greasers, the 60's had the Hippies, the 70's had their 'disco', the 80's had bad hair, massive shoulder pads and too much make-up.

It wasn't about bending the gender lines, it was about pissing your parents off as much as you could.
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[SIZE=4]I told you I had the body of a 25 year old....

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#5
We beat you to it in the seventies! :biggrin:


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