Off the Beat w/ Marc Lacy: The Thin Line Between Self-Expression & Femininity


Depending on who you are and where you stand in life you may either get offended by this article and/or find it insightful. Now let’s be clear, this article in no way, shape, form, or fashion is intended to focus on or criticize anyone’s sexual preference. What you do and who you may do is strictly your business. Also it is also not a chastisement/judgement on femininity or feminism. However many feel that as time goes on, the boundaries that define what masculinity is are shifting. But others argue that throughout history, styles and fashion have come and gone at a rapid pace thus indirectly establishing what’s acceptable and what is not (from a societal norm standpoint).

Of course older generations may be less compelled to accept and adapt to new styles than the younger ones. This happens all of the time. And as a result, the generations seem more inclined to repel one another just because. But in getting to the crux of the matter here, the infusion of skinny pants, bright color clothing, multi-colored jewelry, pastel hair highlights, etc. has many people trying to figure out if men are currently going through an identity crisis. Mind you, EVERYONE is at liberty to express themselves according to how they feel. It is not a crime to veer from norms regarding your garb, ensembles, and accessories. But, when mamas start asking questions about what is going on, you have to listen…all the while and trying not to wrongly couple fashion trends with sexual preference without really knowing the individual.

Over the years, people have associated hip hop with the streets, hood life, toughness, consciousness, and immense masculinity…right, wrong, or indifferent. With that said, the younger generations have their eyeball right on hip hop. See, back in the day (not saying that back in the day was right, correct, or better), the hip hop community, fashion wise was represented by baggy clothing, sports jerseys/hats, Timberlands, fat gold chains, custom made sweat suits, and high-end sneakers.

Now, over the years, that aforementioned has evolved into a more subtle appearance (but still with name brand recognition); but nonetheless, you knew what they were representing…for what it’s worth. Now, before I go further, I know that we as a society will gravitate more closely to that with which we are familiar, and repel the unfamiliar (sometimes with good reason, and other times, not so much).

With the new trends nowadays with rappers appearing to sport an emo-esque look which in the minds of some, it appears on the not so masculine side. It may be because of the hardcore comparison to how “it used to be.” Yes, things change, trends evolve, people go through phases…it’s a fact of life. However, if someone or something (that is supposed to be masculine) appears to be opposite of that, people are going to ask questions whether it’s right or wrong for them to do so.

What can you say? Trends are trends right? But the different trends have a different set of implications as well. Whenever new trends kick in, they are taken differently by the different consumers. And now, if there were powers with a genuine intent to feminize society, they’d have an excellent platform from which to broadcast their campaign. Mind you, some people can look at trends and just call them trends.

Others look at trends and attempt to siphon out some sort of conspiracy theory. But then you have those who take an unbiased, in depth, and analytical approach. They look at the trend and analyze the residual impact. Then they ask themselves questions like: What defines femininity? Who decides what a feminizing conspiracy is as opposed to men in a masculine arena dressing flamboyantly? How much is too much with regards to apparel that officially moves the needle from masculine to feminine?

Whose job is it to regulate what is what? Do the fashion gurus flash cash in front of the big names in hip hop for them to be a “carrier” of a hidden agenda? Or are the fashion gurus aware of trends and merely want to capitalize off of what the biggest craze is? Either way, who decides if the gurus are right or wrong morally?

Bottom line, at the end of the day, it’s all subjective. Everything begins and ends in the eyes and mind of the beholder. None of us are in a position to judge anyone else right? However, we must all possess a level of situational awareness whereby we can at least have a nominal understanding of what is going on around us.

People will very easily say there’s some sort of “agenda” being carried out if/when they see/hear things with which they’re not familiar happening at epic proportions. However you’re not really going to know the true impact until you witness the multitudes “acting” a certain type of way. Otherwise, you’ll just be another person who directly/indirectly cites certain signs and symbols to mean more than they actually do, in order to support a narrative.

And if you factor in the power of social media, this issue is amplified times one-thousand. Some conspiracy theorists have gone so far to say that the current “Me Too” movement has spawned an air of femininity that has saturated the ranks of hip hop. However, even if they could prove it to be true, ALL YOU CAN DO is be the most positive example for the youth that you can be, in order to counter it.

I mean who knows if there’s an agenda or not? But based on what’s happening, regardless of your point of view, you’ve got to see that there is a thin line between self-expression and femininity…let society tell it.



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