…because according to Style.com, it’s trendy to be a lesbian. And apparently, lesbians don’t wear high heels. The article cites the rise of lesbian relationships within the fashion and entertainment community, postulating that the shrinking heel heights and androgynous styles of the moment are evidence of the growing popularity of the trend.
Fashion is nothing if not fickle and fleeting. Last year’s wide-leg pants have given way (back again) to the jean legging, and those leather shorts trumpeted in every August issue have disappeared from downtown. Anyone who ever purchased harem pants or platform flip-flops can certainly sympathize (and who hasn’t?). If you don’t like how you looked today, you can always beg your friends to keep the photos off Facebook and simply reinvent yourself tomorrow.
It doesn’t work that way when it comes to sexuality. The article may have been intended as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on changing fashion trends, but comparing tossing on a trendy shirt to coming out of the closet deserves a side-eye. The good folks at Refinery29 put it well in their commentary on the article, saying “While we’re glad to see that the fashion industry is resembling the vox populi more and more, it seems rather reductive to take an inherent personal characteristic and turn it into a social trend (not to mention an aesthetic — yikes)” (Refinery29).
I will acknowledge that being gay has lost much of the shock value of years past. The mainstream media increasingly represents openly gay men and women, with characters such as Emily Fields on Pretty Little Liars and Santana Lopez on Glee defying the lesbians-must-be-butch stereotype that still lingers in much of the world.
Despite this evolution, we’re still stuck with the polarizing idea that lesbians look one way and straight women look another. I often get asked if I’m a lesbian, which may have something to do with being a San Francisco-living, pixie haircut-rocking, bleeding-heart-vegetarian-feminist-activist-don’t-say-“that’s so gay”-in-front-of-me woman. If I choose to respond and tell the questioner that I find some women attractive but am married to a man, brows furrow and mouths open to ask the next invasive question.
“Oh, so you’re just doing that thing that’s cool now? Like on Jersey Shore?” Apparently Style.com isn’t the only one confusing personal identity with trends.
My clothes change with the weather, my mood, the music I’m listening to… it’s endless. But my core identity doesn’t change. And I believe that many people, gay or straight or anywhere in between, would feel the same.