In Japan, a small but growing group of “genderless” men are rejecting the notion that one’s gender should dictate how one dresses — in some cases by wearing makeup, manicuring their nails, and wearing high-heeled shoes with skirts.
“At heart, I am a man,” explained pop singer Toman Sasaki, a model whose androgynous dress has helped transform him into a social media star. Sasaki, who is part of a group known as the “genderless danshi” – “danshi” meaning young men in Japanese – also believes that the concept of gender “isn’t really necessary.”
“People should be able to choose whatever style suit[s] them,” said Sasaki. “It’s not as if men have to do one thing, and women have to do another. I don’t find that very interesting.”
While companies such as Maybelline may have begun to embrace a trend of men wearing makeup in the U.S., young Japanese men appear to be pushing the boundary of what’s considered acceptable for men to wear further — from long blond tresses to miniskirts. And for some, this evolving view on men’s fashion has extended further — to a differing perspective on the notion of gender itself.
“I thought that I would want to throw up when a man said to me, ‘I love you,’” admitted Yasu Suzuki, a 22-year-old who helps organize events for the genderless danshi to meet their social media fans. “Now that I began wearing this genderless fashion, I think I shed my prejudice. Before, I didn’t like boys or men who love each other, but I have started to accept them. Beautiful people are just beautiful.”
Watch the New York Times’ video report on the “genderless danshi” below.
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Read the full story at The New York Times.