Androgyny  

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This page Androgyny is part of the queer series.Illustration: Toulouse-Lautrec wearing Jane Avril's Feathered Hat and Boa (ca. 1892), photo Maurice Guibert.
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This page Androgyny is part of the queer series.
Illustration: Toulouse-Lautrec wearing Jane Avril's Feathered Hat and Boa (ca. 1892), photo Maurice Guibert.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Androgyny is a term derived from the Greek words ανήρ (anér, meaning man) and γυνή (gyné, meaning woman) that can refer to two concepts regarding the mixing of both male and female genders or having a lack of gender identification. The first is the mixing of masculine and feminine characteristics, be it the example of the loud fashion statements of musicians like David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, Annie Lennox, Grace Jones, Prince, Freddie Mercury, Boy George, and Pete Burns or the balance of "anima" and "animus" in Jungian psychoanalytic theory. The second is in describing something that is neither masculine nor feminine, for example the Hijras of India who are often described as "neither man nor woman" or angels which are often portrayed as genderless.

History

Androgyny and homosexuality are seen in Plato's Symposium in a myth that Aristophanes tells the audience. People used to be spherical creatures, with two bodies attached back to back who cartwheeled around. There were three sexes: the male-male people who descended from the sun, the female-female people who descended from the earth, and the male-female people who came from the moon. This last pairing represented the androgynous couple. These sphere people tried to take over the gods and failed. Zeus then decided to cut them in half and had Apollo stitch them back together leaving the navel as a reminder to not defy the gods again. If they did, he would cleave them in two again to hop around on one leg. Plato states in this work that homosexuality is not shameful. This is one of the earlier written references to androgyny. Other early references to androgyny include astronomy, where androgyn was a name given to planets that were sometimes warm and sometimes cold.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Androgyny" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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