What is gender bender?

He Gender bender Is that person who breaks with the established norms of traditional gender roles. Comes from English Gender ("Gender") and Bender (From the verb Bend ,"Bend"; The noun would literally mean"doubling"), so it is a term commonly used in English-speaking countries that has spread in Latin America and Spain, which is why there is no precise translation into Spanish.

Gender bender At first he was known as Gender-fuck , A term that became popular in the 1970s, in magazines such as Rolling Stone . She was part of a generation of young people in which there were women with men's clothing and men with women's clothing, hence they have been associated with public demonstrations that have fought against discrimination against homosexuals and others in the LGBT collective.
Gender bender

He Gender bender Has been a difficult term to define in its more specific aspects, and for this reason has not been exempt from controversy. Despite this, there are many well-known personalities in the world who are often considered as part of the Gender bender , Which has also had influence in the show.

General notion of the term

Any definition or conceptualization of the Gender bender Is in itself problematic and slippery. One reason is because the gender and the Sexual orientation they are not the same.

Although they seem to be synonyms, both words have different meanings for the simple reason that being a man does not mean that he is heterosexual by definition. Thus, a man dressed in suits can be homosexual and a lesbian can wear a dress.

In relation to the above, the Gender bender Not only obeys natural reasons that touch the sexuality of the person, but has also been a reaction of protest against the system.

In addition, the person Gender bender Tends to be confused with the transvestite and transsexual, and there is no exact line that delimits these three categories, since in practice the first one encompasses many people of all sexual orientations.

What complicates the definition of the Gender bender Lies in their clashes with gender roles. On the one hand, what sex means can depend greatly on the age and, above all, on society; That is, that gender tends to be understood in a relative way, according to the ideas of each culture, which has its own ideas of what is masculine, what is feminine and what are the tasks that must be done by men and women in their environment .

On the other hand, what science says about it is nothing more than a sketch, a scheme that tells us how the human species evolved around gender. A study by two researchers at Princeton University points to general traits that separate men from women.

But since it focuses on Western cultures, it is easy to enter into a complex environment in which often a masculine or feminine trait is only the result of prejudices and stereotypes of others.

Thus, it can not be qualified as Gender bender To any behavior that deviates from masculinity or femininity, since there are no strict rules here that say when you are at one end or another of the balance.

There is therefore no strict rule to follow to say whether a woman or a man breaks the paradigms of her sex. It is only in this sense to examine each particular case to give a more accurate verdict that does not fall into false generalizations.

Celebrities in the gender bender

He Gender bender Has had representatives who are often in the world of entertainment. David Bowie, for example, wore a dress on the cover of his album The Man Who Sold the World (1970), although he also used to wear women's clothes with off-stage makeup, as in his interviews and concerts. Also, the members of the American band New York Dolls Have feminine elements in their wardrobe.

Prince was in fact another representative sample of the Gender bender . This singer, apart from being characterized by his lyrics with an ambiguous sexuality or with an open bisexuality, not infrequently wore costumes that, although they were of man, did not stop hiding a feminine touch. In contrast, the organization of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence dress totally as women, with a fashion of Drag queen .

Others no less important are singers like Marilyn Manson, Lady Gaga and Conchita Wurst. Like Bowie and Prince, Manson has feminine features of costumes and makeup, while Lady Gaga has declared his androgynous inclinations, that is, he is attracted to those men's clothing that he has worn several times in his wardrobe. Wurst (see photo at the beginning of this article), for his part, adds to his beard and mustache the blush on the cheeks, tendrils and eyeliner in the eyes.

Gender bender in popular culture

What is gender bender? Conchita Wurst

The presence of the Gender bender Has been felt in imaginary environments, as in literature and television programs. Although their characters are fictitious, their behavior and personality cause the critics to catalog them within these labels, which are not absolute at all and can be subjected to debate.

See, for example, the novel entitled The left hand of darkness , By Ursula K. Le Guin, in which sexuality is neutral, but can change from male to female through its interaction with heat.

In The secret X files , One of its chapters, entitled Gender Bender , Analyzes several homicides probably linked and motivated by sex. The alleged murderer who is investigated by agents of the American government has the peculiarity of being able to change the gender after having carnal relations with other beings, which indicates that this transformation is, in the opinion of the personages of the series, an evidence of extraterrestrial activity on earth.

See also Wild bender , Which is the eighth chapter of the second season of Futurama . In this series of cartoons, the robot Bender had the imperious duty to participate in a fight, although to achieve success had to radically change his physical appearance.

Bender wore a wig and a ballet dancer dress, and became the artificial intelligence fighter known as The Gender Bender (See image at the beginning of this segment).


  1. Carter, Chris (1994, January 21). The X-Files [TV series]. Season 1, Chapter 14, Gender Bender . U.S. Fox.
  2. Considine, J. D. (1998, September 15). Manson: A cry against nature Review: 'Animals' is a gender-bending, genre-borrowing, creepy mix. Sorry, Mom, it's also quite good [Online article]. Baltimore, United States. The Baltimore Sun. Consulted the 24 of January of 2017, in: Articles.baltimoresun.com.
  3. Groening, Matt (2000, February 27). Futurama [TV cartoon]. Season Two, Chapter 8, Wild bender . U.S. Fox.
  4. Kaufman, Scott Barry (2009). From George and Lennox to Gaga and Lambert: Androgyny, Creativity, and Pop Culture [Online article]. Sussex, United Kingdom. Psychology Today. Consulted the 24 of January of 2017, in: Psychologytoday.com
  5. Lady Gaga:"I Love Androgyny" (2010) [Video]. Interview with Barbara Walters for ABC News. Available in: Abcnews.go.com.
  6. Le Guin, Ursula K. (1969). The left hand of darkness (1st ed., 2009). Barcelona, ​​Spain. Minotaur.
  7. Prentice, Deborah A. and Carranza, Erica (2002). "What Women And Men Should Be, Should not Be, Are Allowed To Be, And Do not Have To Be: The Contents of Prescriptive Gender Stereotypes". Psychology of Women Quarterly , (26), pp. 269-281. The electronic version in PDF is available in: Journals.sagepub.com.
  8. Sheidlower, Jesse (2009). The F-Word . Oxford, United Kingdom. Oxford University Press.
  9. Wilmeth, Don B. (2007). Cambridge Guide to American Theater . Cambridge, UK. Cambridge University Press.

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