Vogue thinks Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid are genderfluid icons

Katharine Swindells July 14, 2017
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Vogue have been blasted online for calling their August 2017 cover stars Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik the “New Generation Embracing Gender Fluidity.”

The article which was posted yesterday, drew parallels between the couple and Virginia Woolf’s transgender character Orlando.

Many people are angry because Hadid and Malik are, as far as public knowledge, a cisgender, heterosexual couple whose “genderfluidity,” seems to largely revolve around fashion choices.

The headline proclaims: “Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik Are Part of a New Generation Embracing Gender Fluidity

One passage in particular has caught people’s attention.

For these millennials, at least, descriptives like boy or girl rank pretty low on the list of important qualities—and the way they dress reflects that.

“I shop in your closet all the time, don’t I?” Hadid, 22, flicks a lock of dyed-green hair out of her boyfriend’s eyes as she poses the question.

“Yeah, but same,” replies Malik, 24. “What was that T-shirt I borrowed the other day?”

“The Anna Sui?” asks Hadid.

“Yeah,” Malik says. “I like that shirt. And if it’s tight on me, so what? It doesn’t matter if it was made for a girl.”

Hadid nods vigorously. “Totally. It’s not about gender. It’s about, like, shapes. And what feels good on you that day. And anyway, it’s fun to experiment. . . .”

Vogue thinks Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid are genderfluid icons
Hadid and Malik on the August 2017 Vogue Cover (Inez and Vinoodh, Vogue)

Genderfluidity is “a person whose gender identification and presentation shifts, whether within or outside of societal, gender-based expectations,” as UC Berkeley’s Division of Equity & Inclusion definition says.

Many people were quick to point out that Hadid’s statement that “it’s about, like, shapes,” is not an accurate depiction of genderfluidity, or representative of the transgender community.

People wanted to stress that subverting gender norms was originally something done by the LGBT+ community, and not an “experiment.”

The article does however go on to discuss actual transgender and nonbinary people, including model and actor Ruby Rose, and the writer and activist Tyler Ford.

Some people have also found a silver lining in the fact that Malik is the first South Asian to feature on the US Vogue cover, and that featuring a Muslim in the US’s current climate is radical.

More: GenderFluid, gigi hadid, nonbinary, One Direction, Transgender, vogue, Zayn Malik

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