American Vogue's August cover story features the young celebrity couple, Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik. Soon after its release online, the magazine has received backlash after the bold claims on a "new generation embracing Gender Fluidity."

Beyond the cover showing the US model and former One Directioner in colorful outfits, people's attention is more drawn towards the article's presented misinformation.

A lesson on gender fluidity

Gender fluidity can prompt various descriptions from different people. In general, however, it conveys a dynamic and non-exclusive mix of masculinity and femininity. It refers to a flexible range of gender expression where interest and behavior may vary on a daily basis.

For example, a gender fluid person may feel more male on some days and more female on others. It is also possible that neither gender fits their feeling and liking.

In the article, it is very obvious that this term has been diluted down to a meaning that is not only formless, but also thoughtless. While the unconventional take on fashion and the young people's movement towards freedom self-expression are well noted, the subject of gender fluidity goes way beyond these aesthetics. It is already a misunderstood concept among many people, and it should not be confused with an evolution happening on a single aspect.

Hadid and Malik are not the first to stand up for the gender fluid community. In 2016, Miley Cyrus came out as a gender fluid in her speech for the Variety luncheon.

She emphasized helping LGBTQ teens who are not getting the help and attention they deserve. She even built the Happy Hippie Foundation to fight for such a cause.

Jaden Smith also took this advocacy further by creating a fashion line that calls for removing gender boundaries in the fashion industry. His choice of gender non-conforming clothing aims to initiate a conversation about the issue in question.

"Orange is the New Black" star Ruby Rose is another celebrity who came out as gender fluid. The actress is now an advocate for enlightening people's minds about the struggles and experiences of young people who are confused with their gender identity.

Falling short

Apart from the inaccuracy in definition, the article highly focused on celebrity and the fashion world with a lack of critical analysis of the true nature of a gender fluid person in our society today.

First things first - gender fluidity is not rooted in fashion. Further, wearing (or borrowing) your significant other's clothes does not merit such alignment. It simply undermines the day to day realities of individuals who are actually not conforming to any gender. In short, gender is more than just the clothes we wear and the way we present ourselves to others. It is a distinct way of being human.

Second, the article fails to highlight the gender revolution in motion. Groups and institutions who have been previously marginalized are now braving their way towards fighting for rights and recognition. And despite the progress, they still experience violence and oppression. Numerous cases of physical and verbal harassment, intimate partner violence, and even killings have been reported to this day.

US Vogue apologizes

Recently, Vogue released an official statement of apology for "missing the mark" on their purpose for writing the story. They intended to highlight the impact of the gender-fluid and non-binary communities on fashion and culture. Unfortunately, the article failed to deliver.

The public surely appreciates the magazine's intention of helping to spread awareness on a new movement of fluidity among the young people. However, it completely misses the point of touching a sensitive subject matter and discussing the realities around it outside of the fashion industry.

Hadid and Malik are certainly free to claim being gender fluid. Everyone is allowed to identify with whatever gender they wish. However, it should come with a responsible and sensible understanding of the subject matter and a realistic mindframe of what it means to be gender fluid.

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