After noticing a rise in public figures championing gender fluidity/challenging gender norms, as well as a number of fashion brands merging their men’s and womenswear collections, Grazia conducted a survey with Onepoll which set out to ask 2,000 women aged 18 and over, their views on gender and sexuality. The results proved that experiences such as feeling a disadvantage at work because of their sex, meant that today’s women are more likely to challenge or reject traditional ideas of womanhood. Of the women surveyed, 39% of them now view gender as a spectrum and 47% are convinced that it’s a good thing that gender has become more fluid. Grazia’s survey revealed the increased number of celebrities who don’t conform to gender stereotypes, such as Miley Cyrus and Jaden Smith, are having an effect on the day to day lives of ordinary women. There were three clear categories the magazine has identified: the Pioneers, the Teachers and the Explorers - the findings of each category are explained below.
The Pioneers: aged 18-24 – the new generation of sexual fluidity
Grazia found that this age group are living the gender fluid reality, with 1 in 5 of them describing their sexuality as ‘fluid.’ Pioneers have grown up during the re-emergence of feminism and the legalisation of gay marriage, they are rejecting the narrow definitions that previous generations have lived by. They are more in favour of gender neutral clothing with 42% of them buying men’s clothing for themselves, 43% thinking products should not be gendered and two-thirds thinking make-up is not just for women. Labels like ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ have less meaning to Pioneers, a third have been attracted to someone outside of their defined sexuality, a quarter have had a sexual experience with someone outside their defined sexuality which is much higher than average. 50% of Pioneers who are single, would freeze their eggs and more than half of them believe that gender is a spectrum. Only a third of them think marriage is an institution that’s relevant to their lives and 45% would consider having a baby without a partner.
The Teachers: aged 25-34 – the Millennials
Grazia discovered that despite their more traditional set up, the majority of Teachers surveyed are married or living with their partner, their feelings about gender differ vastly from the generations before them. Teachers are paving the way for a new outlook towards gender, recognising the limitations that have been imposed on them, they are determined their children will be raised in a different world. A third of women in this group with children say they will raise their child with some aspects of gender neutrality. Of those women, most would give their child both ‘male’ and ‘female’ toys, dress them in gender neutral clothes and read them non-stereotypical stories. Half would decorate their room in a gender-neutral style and 43% would try to avoid using stereotypical language; such as ‘brave’ for a boy and ‘pretty’ for a girl. More than one in ten would avoid choosing pink for their daughters. 25% of Teachers believe that their gender has held them back in their career, with a fifth believing it has a negative impact on their chances of getting a pay rise. They believe that gender roles play a part in their home lives too, with seven out of ten women doing more household chores than their male partners.
The Explorers: aged 35-44 – the open minded
Grazia noticed that although after the age of 35 women are more confident in their views, they aren’t necessarily stuck with these views forever. Three-quarters of these women surveyed thought that society was more accepting of gender fluidity than it was a decade ago.
70% of the Explorers surveyed think they are more open-minded on gender issues than their parents. On the other hand, of the Explorers who are single - half are single by choice. Explorers are also open to a new sexual experiences in both reality and fantasy. One in five are sexuality experimental, with a quarter saying they’d like to be more so. 20% say they have been attracted to someone outside of their own defined sexuality.
When it comes to fashion, a quarter of Explorers have bought an item of menswear to wear themselves and more than one in ten have bought something from a specifically gender neutral range. These bold fashion choices are a reflection of their confidence in themselves, as eight out of ten say they dress for themselves rather than men.
As the younger generations ideas on gender and sexuality continue to develop and make waves, the Explorers’ own views will continue to become more fluid.