Close your eyes and visualize a fashion model. Feminine? Whippet thin? Fragile? Ok, now do the same with a male model. Are you getting an alarmingly similar image in your head? Is it just me, or is this gender mutation bizarre to you as well? Why on earth are the sexes morphing? Segueing seamlessly into each other? Interchangeable at will?
Now, I have the aesthetics to accept that beauty as a concept is feminine. And I go down on bended knee in gratefulness for that! Imagine if Hulk Hogan was the hallmark of beauty. The horror!
That said, it is patently clear [to me, at least] that the fashion biz is a chick. I have no grouse with that. The reason for this gripe though, is that everything around it seems to be as well.
I don’t have to go very far to prove my point. Just backstage, in fact. Step into any backstage arena at any fashion show. Models, hair stylists, costume assistants, designers, stage managers, choreographers [and indeed every single person present] are card-carrying members of the feminine of our species, regardless of their genders.
All you‘ll see are
Blood red pouts
Big hair teased into delirium
“Dahlings” “Babes” and “Gorgeous” forming punctuations
Tears and tantrums
You get the gist. It’s like walking into a hormonal warzone. Oestrogen flying around on broomsticks.
And since I have been known to travel occasionally on a broomstick myself, I smelt a rat. Cross that. I smelt a bandicoot.
It took a few discreet conversations with my friends and friends of friends in the fashion industry, to give me the key to this particular Pandora’s box.
Here are a few home truths. The fashion industry is dominated by men. Men who have morphed into women. Now, the large majority do embrace their feminine side, tight enough to lose their identities to it. But, there are a few who are faking it. I’m serious.
I stumbled on this industry secret during a haircut with a particularly fabulous hairdresser friend of mine who is much married and a father to boot. But on the shop floor, he is unrecognizable from your average female hairstylist. Nay, he’s far more flamboyant and can click his fingers to Lady Gaga with the best of them. The reason he wears this avatar boils down to sheer economics. It is business at its most basic.
A woman in a hairstylist’s chair is vulnerable. She is uncertain, aspirational and emotional all rolled into one.
What she is NOT looking for is JUST a haircut.
She’s looking to be someone else; someone more confident, more powerful, thinner, smarter, trendier.
She’s looking to be heard, complimented, bolstered.
She’s looking to be handled delicately, with great finesse and kindness.
She is looking for empathy, camaraderie, love.
She’s looking for a confidant, a confessor, a friend.
She’s clearly looking for another woman.
So, if you’re one of those talented male hairstylists/designers/makeup artistes who would like a huge regular clientele list, it just makes business sense to fake it.
So, clearly the thing to do, is to clear your voice’s natural catarrh and adopt a purr.