May 25, 2017
With Emma Watson winning the first gender-neutral MTV TV & Movie Award for Beauty and the Beast this month, it seems the mainstream media is questioning the gender divide. It’s worth noting that some high-profile awards ceremonies, like the Grammys, have never included gendered categories, but MTV has won accolades for pushing these shifting ideals into popular culture – it’s been called ‘positive’ by Get The Gloss and ‘progressive’ by The Pool.
Challenging gender conventions is nothing new: The Atlantic explored the concept via unisex fashion, while WWD questioned whether makeup for men was a fad or the future in 2016. But its prevalence and popularity amongst consumers is being recognized in both the beauty and fashion industries.
‘[We] are moving away from traditional gender stereotypes,’ explains marketing intelligence agency, Mintel’s latest beauty retailing report. It recommends retailers diversify their brand collaborators ‘to capitalize on the promotion of gender diversity and the influence of social-media celebrities.’
So who are the ones to watch? From bloggers to models and brands, here are the inspiring names that are smashing beauty stereotypes…
Manny Gutierrez @mannymua733
With 3.6m followers on Instagram and counting, Manny became Maybelline’s first-ever male ambassador at the beginning of the year – and he’s now the only male to make PEOPLE’s Most Beautiful List. He attributes his success to his fans: ‘I was one of the first male influencers in the beauty world… It was hard to get my name out there, but luckily I have an amazing following who would not stay silent.’
The Plastic Boy @theplasticboy
You’ll recognize beauty and lifestyle content creator, Gary Thompson from L’Oreal’s recent True Match #YoursTruly campaign. Now reaching 32.4k followers on Instagram, he explained: ‘[It meant] so much to me because it’s not just about me sharing my story, it’s about showing to the world that boys can wear makeup too.’
Sara Cummings @saracummings
Redken announced gender fluid model Sarah as its brand muse in February. Their resulting #NoLabelNoLimits haircare collaboration comes as a response to ‘increased demand for beauty products that transcend gender’ and Sara agrees: ‘The idea of a severe gender divide is a limitation to the progression of our species in my opinion.’
Elliott Sailors @elliottsailors
Menswear and womenswear model Elliott has ‘ignited debate about everything from her impact on the transgender community to the longevity of female modeling careers’ – and it all started with a simple haircut. She says: ‘Beauty is being authentic and fearless and fluid. It’s adventurous and creative, never sterile, and always evolving. #BeYouBeTrue’
Grace Neutral @graceneutral
Presenting i-D’s revolutionary beauty documentary series that launched artist and activist, Grace as a figurehead for uniqueness and individuality. Last year’s Brazil episode followed the women leading the charge against male objectification and revolutionizing beauty norms in the process.
Paloma Elsesser @palomija
Legendary MUA Pat McGrath’s muse and New York City model is ‘redefining antiquated beauty standards by being honest and unfiltered (literally on Instagram)’, according to Elle. Paloma says: ‘Beauty means expression and being your most authentic self.’
Who are your favorites to watch?
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