Inner Michael » Michael and Androgyny

Michael and Androgyny

Is androgyny a phase or is it the evolutionary impulse of humankind? What is androgyny? It is the embracing and blending of both male and female characteristics in the human being. Androgyny is reflected in a look, in dress, in esthetics such as makeup and jewelry as it relates to human sexuality and gender.

Did Michael purposely challenge cultural norms and gender roles? Michael was ahead of his time in the thrust past prejudice and ignorance and toward an evolution into unity and acceptance of all human beings as equal members of the human family. Did a brilliant and cunning Michael Jackson deliberately challenge Puritanical and harsh cultural law about gender as well as race? Did Michael Jackson know exactly what he was doing as he and his work morphed over a lifetime? Michael has affirmed so many times that his work was Divinely inspired art. If so, then Michael might have been more genius and spiritual warrior in favor of the human family and evolution than previously recognized.

Look no further than the fashion runway to see the trend changing. The “look” is a blend of soft and strong, yin and yang, swish and slash, and sexy asexual. The yin and yang blend is neither overtly masculine nor feminine but features both in modern style. The new urban “Metrosexual” is a more blended, progressive and androgynous style for men.

If you remember Boy George or David Bowie, they exemplified the androgynous male as does Prince. It’s no longer fashionable to be exclusively the aggressive, hard and dominating male figure. It’s no longer cool to be sexually threatening. It’s even acceptable now to have five gay men give you fashion and domestic advice from a “Queer Eye” perspective. How modern culture has relaxed! Rigid male and females roles must have been exhausting to maintain.

Androgyny is not new. Ancient Greece and Rome were more relaxed about sexuality and sexual identity. Men often had homosexual and well as heterosexual relationships. The rise of Christianity buried the androgynous principle and drove same sex relations underground and made it taboo and an abomination. Other cultures have been more liberal about sexuality and gender: Hindu gods and goddesses which depict the various aspects of God include androgynous characters like Shiva; Hapi of Egypt, Dionysus of Greece and Obatala of South America and the Caribbean are androgynous deities. There are numerous characters in history whom did not fit into specific gender roles of their culture. Strong women like Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, St. Joan and others were not “feminine” in the traditional sense. Male saints, mystics, artist and poets like Hafiz and Rumi did not fit the modern definition of “masculinity.”

A culture can be stern about its expectations and rules about gender characteristics and the norms can be strictly enforced. There are punishments for those who dare to deviate from the “norms” of a society when it comes to sexuality, gender and expression of human sensuality. Punishments range from banishment and ostracism, to harassment and even death.

Nothing seems to stir the lower emotions more than human sexuality and sexual identity issues. Sexuality and anger are processed in adjoining regions in the human body—the genitals and solar plexus so it is no surprise when they are confused or fused. Many men are still threatened by any deviation from the culturally embedded “male image” and will attack representations of that threat. Actually, the human fetus has characteristics of both sexes and is born with both male and female sets of hormones. Androgyny is natural.

The feminist and gay rights movements, the rise of glam rockers like Bowie and Prince, the cinematic rise of “tough females” like Angelina Jolie and Uma Thurman, the revealed sensuality of Madonna, Beyonce and shocker Adam Lambert have helped to reshape culture from exclusionary and harsh into a more inclusive, tolerant and democratic form. It is a message to value all people.

But even before all of the movements and the direct assaults on social norms and conscience by daring modern entertainers, there was Michael Jackson. His ever-changing but androgynous look, his boyish manner, use of makeup and flamboyant dress was a cutting edge androgynous message. Michael’s androgynous “look” was often interpreted as asexual and was impetus for much speculation, sarcasm and joking about his sexuality and gender identity. His “You are Not Alone” music video is the perfect picture of androgyny. His solo piece in that short film combines a sense of boyish and non-threatening innocence with sensual physicality that can’t quite be characterized as “machismo” or even “male.” The later appearance of his wife, Lisa Marie Presley and Michael partially disrobed conveys a Greco-Roman beauty and romance yet makes clear the sensuality and sexual sparks between them, confirmed by Lisa Marie in later interviews.

Why was Michael Jackson’s “identity” under so much scrutiny in his lifetime? His gender, sexuality, looks, face, sensual dance, relationships and private life seemed “up for grabs” by and in the public. A frenzied media speculated about everything in regard to Michael’s sexuality and gender identity. Both sexes found Michael attractive. Perhaps it was Michael alone who was not confused but clear about himself, his role and his message?

Androgyny is not related to homosexuality. However, the public assumed the two were related. The androgynous look may have been more a mocking of cultural norms. While sexuality and orientation are clear in the individual embracing and displaying androgyny. In the eyes of the public, the two were assumed intermingled. They’re not.


  1. Cassie said . . .

    Michael Jackson was the best or the better of both worlds. He meshed and it was beautiful. People who love him, love him forever unlike many loved today, forgotten tomorrow. Once you latched onto his energy, you were attached from the heart and nothing could sway you. Just as the song’s lyrics go, “you’re just another part of me” we became vital parts of him. We existed in the same vibrational energy level and would not be separated away from that source. It received us, welcomed us, nurtured us, and kept us going. It was a give and take, a sharing, a “knowing”. Yes Michael was adrogynous and that made it easy to love him. He was like a child you wanted to protect, a lover you wanted to embrace, a friend you genuinely endeared, and a remarkable human being whose light lifted your spirits and allowed you to thrive. He was all that and more not Michael Jackson the super nova, but Michael Jackson, the human being. Michael is simply all the little things, all the great things, and every measure in between, that when combined equals “love”. He was love. Love never dies.

    Posted August 4, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink
  2. VG Clark said . . .

    I have been thinking about Michael’s androgyny for a long time, finally assuming it to be spirituallly-based, and either evolutionary, or straight-up celestial, in nature. Glad to find this site and realize that there are others paying attention! They say that in heaven souls are genderless, or rather — that we encompass the totality of both genders. Likewise, he was completely intolerant of racial distinctions, and having vitiligo in this lifetime gave him a platform to embody the dissolution of the importance and meaning of racial distinction, right before our very eyes on this Earth!

    I truly think that Michael was the appearance and unfolding on Earth of a heavenly being and I feel SO lucky to have been alive at this time. Witnessing Michael Jackson’s embodiment in my lifetime has been akin for me to having seen Jesus talk on the Mount.

    Posted April 29, 2012 at 3:44 am | Permalink
  3. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    It appears, from the research and testemonials of people who knew him, that Michael was aware of his place in culture and history. He was definitely evolutionary. We know he was spiritually oriented. We know he was an inspired artist who claimed that his material was already there in the ethers, invented by God and all his did was pluck it and duplicate it best he could.

    Yes, he blurred racial boundaries. He also blurred gender boundaries. In fact I never found him to leave a single boundary intact! He truly embraced all peoples of the earth.

    There are some who agree with you that he was sent to earth with a mission. Yes, that’s true. But it’s also true that we all come with a mission. Some find theirs; some don’t. It’s in their bliss and some prefer their (and our) misery so much, they share it with us. Jackson was ahead of his time. Those who stir the pot so to speak, are usually resented and vilified; radical genius is rarely recognized in its own time. He does seem to lived as an ambassador of human evolution. There are those who begin to squirm, however, when he gets deified. However, here was a man who claimed everybody was sent by God and that all are divine offspring.

    Not only did Jackson threaten the boundaries of race, gender, sexuality, privilege, art, and music; he threatened religious teachings in some quarters. A renaissance man, to be sure.

    Posted April 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

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