Sharp Edits #Two

...my transgender cat

by Mariel Reed
One would think determining the sex of a kitten would be pretty straightforward. Well, after having my little black kitten for just over 3 ½ months, I realised she was indeed a he. After taking him to the vet twice and being sexed by a “professional”, I was lead to believe my precious little companion and I were one and the same. With 100% Spice Girls style girl power, we were ready to rule out anything my (extremely patient) boyfriend said with the power of majority. We were all wrong.

After a few days, and an appointment scheduled with the vet, I have come to terms with my kitten’s situation and the future is looking bright. I have a male cat that I will forever think of as female. I have a transgender cat. He is still my princess and I intend to keep him that way. Frankly, I doubt it makes any difference to him; so long as he has a spot on my lap and food in his dish, he is as content as could be.

But this got me thinking, is my transgender cat a high fashion cat? Is he au courant, on trend? Androgyny and sexual ambiguity are no strangers to the world of fashion. An increasing number of fashion labels have chosen transgender or androgynous looking models to head their campaigns. With Lea T on a recent cover of LOVE magazine or Andrej Pejic’s recurring presence on the—pardon the pun—catwalk, my transgender cat just so happens to be very much in fashion.

As we move further into the current decade, we move away from the noughties, and their characteristic hyper-sexualisation. Buxom beauties revealing everything but the naughty bits is a trend that has long since passed. Hopefully. The over-sexualised pop stars of the 2000’s have covered up and used fashion as a way to create an identity instead of using their body parts to do so—think J-Lo’s famously phenomenal behind. Fashion has moved in the direction of using fabric to create shape instead of revealing it.

It may be wishful thinking to say that this has been caused by the fashion community’s ability to acknowledge prejudice against those who don’t fit into assigned gender roles. We know the fashion world to be filled with harsh criticisms against social mores, but perhaps it is simply just for shock factor. Take Lady Gaga’s recent stint as alter ego, Jo Calderone, on the cover of Vogue Japan. This trend is sure to continually spark international dialogue and like a defibrillator, bring life back to an industry critically injured by economic stress. But the debate of an androgynous model’s sex is not as easily answered as lifting a tail, and has therefore been exploited by the industry we know for suffocating a trend ‘til its very last breath.

Although this de-sexing has certainly turned heads, it is not something new.
We have seen sexual neutrality arise in the 70’s with David Bowie and Glam Rock and before that in the 60’s with Twiggy and her boyish charm. Are we all just victim to fashion’s tendency to steal and reclaim?

Women have been stealing from men since before the early days of Yves Saint Laurent and Le Smoking suit. And this trans-trend of recent years was stolen from the club kids who exaggerated, dramatised and claimed femininity as their own. We all take influence from here and there.

Does this all even matter? With or without his constituted male bits, my cat is just a cat. And I’d like to think the same about trends. Without the money, hype and celebrity, it’s just fashion. Don’t get me wrong; I would never belittle the creative geniuses that make fashion the spectacular thing that it is. I just think we get a little too carried away with everything else. We lose sight of appreciating the pure beauty of a garment and we must not forget the power this “superficial” industry has to make lasting societal impact.