BEYOND THE BODY
Make-up and hair:
Clothing has always been associated with gender norms, and we are heading into an era where people are tired of being told what to wear. Being black also opens doors to judgement if you don’t dress in the typical gendered ways. We are seeing a change in the way people see clothes and wear clothes. In an interview with Damilola and Samuel I got the opportunity to speak to them both about their relationship with clothes and the experiences they have had because of the colour of their skin. Damilola (19) from London and studying in Canterbury has always been open with the way she dresses.
“I love a big trouser moment; I love a baggy trouser, a small top and a big jumper and comfortable shoes.” - Damilola
She is very open with clothes and not allowing people’s views to stop her expressing who she is. Samuel (23) who is a stylist and creative from London, who knew that he was “open” and expressive with his dressing when he was 17-18 years old. Growing up Sam loved colours and didn’t allow himself to be dictated to by society’s rules and expectations of typical colour choice for men and women.
“I don’t really care; I feel that clothes have no gender, and you should wear whatever you feel comfortable in.” - Sam
B L A C K M E N
When it comes to black men the way you dress is how you are treated, especially being in a digital world it becomes harder to express yourself. Black men are placed in the box which has been culturally created for them to dress ‘manly’ – and as soon as someone wears an item of clothing which has not been associated with men they are called ‘gay’.
“Young Thug wore a dress on his album cover and he got a lot of backlash from that, his sexuality was questioned. I’m only talking about black artists or black people in the entertai
nment industry. These are the people who look like me, and when people like Harry
Styles wore it was accepted instantly. When Young Thug wore it, he was judged, and he was criticised.” – Sam
A man is a man when he wears certain clothing and he is masculine, and these views and opinions have trickled down and led to toxic masculinity.
F A S H I O N
Damilola touches on the UK and the increase of BBL fashion and how this has clouded everyone’s minds; to follow the norms when you dress. People become shady when they see someone wearing something different or they take out their phones and upload it onto social media.
“Especially in the UK black culture can be very toxic. You are viewed in a certain way, the way you dress if you dress a little bit different whether its alternative or goth. The way you are dressed you are judged heavily.” - Damilola
Gender neutrality is something that has always been around, but has taken a while to proceed within society. We are headed into an era where this is becoming a fashionable norm and people are starting to realise that they can’t be told what to wear. When you look at the black community and the way that you dress is questioned; suggests the standard set from pr
evious generations of what it is like to be a black man and woman. A man wearing a dress is seen as damaging to the next generation of men, yet women have the freedom to be neutral with dressing. The pressure set by society for men to ‘act like men’ a
nd women to behave like ‘women’ – now some people are bravely beginning to break away from that and wear what they want. We are seeing a spike in more gender-neutral clothes and seeing more non-binary models.