Brighton-based companies Gender Free World (GFW) and Lightning Like Scissors are pleased to announce their collaborative project challenging the dominant notions of gender and identity.
The theme is Gender Evolution – honouring the life-changing protest that has given us freedom and paved the way for us to express ourselves openly in our daily lives. Whether it be through the broad spectrum of gender identities or our sexuality, we wanted to acknowledge how far we have come by resisting centuries old norms, and how far we have still to go by continuing to push the evolution and elevation of a truly inclusive culture and community for ourselves and future generations.
The shoot is grouped into six ‘montages’ depicting the strength which is found when one's inner self and outward expression combine in harmony. Each model has been cut, coloured and styled by Buck Lightning Rumstache (he/they/she), owner of Brighton and Hove’s first non-binary and gender neutral barbershop, Lightning Like Scissors. Gender free shirts and unisex boxer shorts featured are designed and made by GFW Clothing. Each collection of images playfully echoes "The March of Progress", a reductive image and concept of ape to man, which was once used as a representation of our own evolution. Gender as it is presented today is a social construct and we are here to show with undeniable humanity: it is time to evolve.
GFW Director Lisa Honan (she/ her) explains why limited gender roles need to be challenged. She says:
"Gender roles are really harmful because you're limiting your own sense of self. It's not great for your mental health - people want to be who they are and your clothing, your hairstyle, your choices all reflect that. Why should society tell you what you're allowed to do?”
Rumstache elaborates further: "For me, providing a service and a place for people to come and express themselves and find out about their own gender identity through their aesthetic is not as superficial as it may appear. It's about the outside matching what's on the inside. For me, my service and what I can provide is my experience in these areas, helping to bring this authentic inner person to the outside and then for people to look into a mirror and see the reflection of something they actually want to see, that hasn't been defined by someone else's rules but defined by their own rules."
Each montage features a slogan; some have been around for a while and some are new, but all are still relevant today. Clothing does not have a gender, and neither do hair cuts. We aspire to and fight for a world where your gender does not limit your choices. Full stop.
They them are valid pronouns.
Smash the Patriarchy.
My body my business.