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Androgyny refers to two concepts. The first is the mixing of masculine and feminine characteristics, be it the example of the loud fashion statements of musicians like Ziggy Stardust 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."


Androgyny is the state of indeterminate gender, or characteristics of gender. Androgynous traits are those that either have no gender value, or have some aspects generally attributed to the opposite gender. Physiological androgyny (compare intersex), dealing with physical traits, is distinct from behavioral androgyny which deals with personal and social anomalies in gender, and from psychological androgyny, which is a matter of gender identity. A psychologically androgynous person is commonly known as an androgyne, although there is a politicized version known as genderqueer.

To say that a culture or relationship is androgynous is to say that it lacks rigid gender roles and that the people involved display characteristics or partake in activities traditionally associated with the other gender. The term androgynous is often used to refer to a person whose look or build make determining their gender difficult but is generally not used as a synonym for actual intersexuality or transgender or two-spirit status of people.

Homosexual women who don't belong to either femme or butch type, and take a more neutral approach are known as Chapstick lesbians.

The morpheme andr- means 'man', and the morpheme -gyn- means 'woman', derived from Greek.

Gender roles are the different social roles of men and women, which vary with changes in culture. It's important to understand the difference between social characteristics of gender and separate these from sexual physiology and sexual behaviours.

As people gradually became aware of their facility for self-determination, gender, and the established roles within society, began to be tested with this newfound concept of self.

Some famous people known for their androgynous appearances include Brett Anderson, Gladys Bentley, Gary Numan, David Bowie, Pete Burns, Boy George, Norman Iceberg, k.d. lang, Shirley Manson, Annie Lennox, Jaye Davidson, Marilyn Manson, Marlene Dietrich, Mylène Farmer, Gackt, Michael Jackson, Grace Jones, Kristen McMenamy, Marc Bolan, Brian Molko, Prince, Susan Powter, and Patrick Wolf.

In art, angels are protrayed as androgynous. In modern art, Fantasy Elves are often depicted in an androgynous way

See also


  • Bem, Sandra L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 42, 155-62

External links


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