Q315 Topic: Manufactured Identity

Gender

Companies and brands are stepping in and telling consumers what gender their products are meant for, or are specifying a gender in their messaging. This is a shift not only in the conversation around gender identity, but also a sign that brands are starting to take control of their products back from consumers. –Culturewaves Q32015 Report

Hello, my name is Kat, and I identify as a cis female.

No, that doesn’t mean that I associate myself with computer information sciences, but it does mean that I was born female, and I also identify as female. Many of us have a new identify, a new tag, and a new way to classify ourselves in a changing world of gender language. Even though this term gained popularity a while ago, people still struggle to understand what it means. So, why not turn directly to the definition.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term “cisgender” as, “Denoting or relating to a person whose self-identify conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex; not transgender.”

We’re entering a world of acceptance, and people are finally able to represent themselves in the way they see fit. We’re even beginning to take those first leaps and bounds toward realizing that while someone may identify with a particular gender, that doesn’t relate in the slightest to their sexuality. Our gender is no longer tied to how we may stand on the Kinsey Scale of sexuality, and that, in my opinion, means a wonderful world of unique people who can finally self-express who they are on the inside. If we identify as cisgender, then we’re removing the “other” aspect from people who identify as something other than male or female, and it’s our way of supporting and recognizing that the change is happening.

In the midst of all this change, some people who would be identified as cisgender may think, “How does this apply to me?” or “How does this change the way the world views me?”

The truth is that change is affecting everyone, and brands are catching on.

These terms for identifying ourselves are part of the revolution happening in gender. It also brings up new opportunities for brands to expand and capitalize on gender-swapping favorite characters from comics, television, books and games, but also to cater to the true definition of feminism, which is about gender equality. We’re seeing a trend in which brands are pushing past the boundaries of male and female, while at the same time catering toward the masses and offering a different gender perspective of a favorite character. This is emphasizing the importance of cisgender, and expanding past conversations of male and female bathrooms.

It’s also no longer gender neutrality for the masses. (Being gender neutral is also another way individuals can classify their gender, but that doesn’t push all the other the classifications to the wayside.) It’s all about finding the correct way to represent ourselves, and being able to see through another gender’s eyes—which is why gender-swapping of favorite idols, icons and heroes is gaining popularity in entertainment. Even the author of “50 Shades of Gray” created a male perspective on the bestselling novel. Brands and creative artists are taking note of the new language through which brands can speak to us on a deeper level and allowing us to be proud to represent and display ourselves in whatever gender we see fit.

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