Ella Murphy

People Boy Shoes
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I feel as if the youth have always been at a level of sartorial literacy above older generations. Truthfully, it’s no surprise; so many of the looks that come down the runways in Paris, Milan, London and New York are taken directly out of the cracks in society that we so often occupy. Clothing is just as diverse as the people who wear it and, compounded with the cyclical nature of fashion, there’s an ocean of things to wear. Even before becoming an active dresser I was still aware of fashion. I had to be since everyone else was. Streetwear and trends were a part of everyday conversation and if I wanted friends I had to keep up. When I started paying attention to myself and the way way I dressed, I realized that because there was this sea of possibilities, I would be limiting myself by following the labels on the clothes and societal norms. That would be like having 2 cookies and only eating one because a stranger said I wouldn’t like the other. Why should I let someone else dictate my tastes?


If gender and sex were the same thing, then there would only be one term for the both of them. Society dictates that the sex with which one is born with, is in turn the preconceived ideal gender that one

will exhibit in life. This is called
“gender performativity”, a term
coined by American gender
theorist Judith Butler. The idea
is that in life, we are actors
playing the role of gender, and
the way in which we present
ourselves reinforces the ideal
notion of gender. Gender is
considered something that is
just true about us. Its expression
is merely reproduced
through society” How does this relate to me? Well, for starters, I don’t give a fuck about what society chooses to make of me based off of my clothes. If gender is
a performance and society is an audience believing in gender according to sex, then I suppose I would get booed off stage for being such a bad actor. My biological sex is male, I
identify as a man and use he/
him pronouns, but that doesn’t
mean I have to fit the mold that
society has built around those
terms. Ostracizing people for not
agreeing with this will not get
us anywhere. Where there is
ignorance, there is opportunity
for education. However, if your
opinion prohibits other from
having an opinion, or if your
opinion places someone as
lesser to yourself or another
group in society, then it isn’t an
opinion, it’s only hate. The way
I dress does not affect someone
else’s life, so why would
someone else judge me or say
something about it?
I don’t dress like a man – I
dress like me. My fashion is
androgynous, because I wear
what I want without regards to
what societal gender category
it fits in. I speak of this like it’s
an easy task. It is anything but
that. Sometimes I consider a
really cool outfit that I want to
wear, but wake up the next
day, and wonder “do I feel confident enough today to potentially get harassed?”. My style has always been different from the norm. I grew up in a place
where this was not celebrated,
and I was often judged or bullied based off what people thought they had the right to judge me by. In doubt sometimes I’ll ask myself “are these clothes all worth it?” The answer is yes. I see the looks,
and I see the stares. I see the little whispers, and I see the
pointing fingers. But the only
thing that is going to make me
feel better about all of that is
me, and the only version of me
that will do the trick is the one
who dresses unconditionally
and unapologetically, like me


It’s hard for me to describe what my style is; there’s no one word that pinpoints it. I like to dress the way I feel that particular day, am I feeling more femme or more boyish? I’ve been heavily influenced over the past three years by living downtown. I feel like staying in the city has helped me grow and meet people who’ve influenced my style. What I wear is heavily influenced by my mood and the people around me. If it came down to picking my two personalities, I would say I’m either a “super femme, colour loving girl” or an “edgy, oversized all-black fit chic!”

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