Sexuality and personal expression has been a topic full of debate for centuries now. Whether it is being a part of the LGBTQ+ community or expressing yourself differently to the norms of society, a small minority of people always have something to say. While there has been great work done over the years for equal rights of the LGBTQ+ community, there is still abundant room for change and for people to be more accepting of the culture. Throughout this article, I will focus on how some celebrities use their platform positively to advocate a change in the world - whether it is by defying the social norms by personal expression or by being honest about sexuality.
Technology and social media have been triumphant in helping our generation express themselves. Regardless of race or gender, social media expands the pathways for personal expression and gives people the power to show others exactly how they want to be portrayed. It has become the ultimate tool for true expression and allows people to campaign for a change in the law relating to sexuality. Social media ultimately opens the door for much needed conversations which we should all be discussing!
You can tell a lot about a person just by looking at how they dress themselves, especially at public events like a red carpet. Whether we are aware of it or not, it is the most accessible art form we have as human beings. We are putting together an expressive costume that will not only suit us but also enlighten the world about our interests and preferences.
One of the most memorable looks on a red carpet was Harry Styles’ feminine suit at The Met Gala in 2019. He challenged the male mould of fashion and broke the boundaries which people thought existed between masculine and feminine clothes. This was really one of the first times this type of dressing had been seen at such a large event and seemed to be the first time Styles had expressed himself in this way. From then on, we have seen Harry dress himself in the same manner as the gala and wear colourful bold suits which have long been stereotypically female.
'LGBTQ people have had a big impact on fashion for a long time, and it’s not just by chance’- Valerie Steele.
Although he is known for his fluid fashion sense, Harry is yet to label himself and avoids defining his own identity by remaining quite sexually ambiguous. Harry is an influential figure in showing how personal identity develops and manifests itself in different forms. He is barely recognisable from when we first met him in the One Direction era and his ‘new’ ambiguous self has been welcomed by the public as well as the industry.
Why you need to calm down
It is no secret that Taylor Swifts’ songs are littered with political messages but when she wrote the hit song ‘You Need to Calm Down,’ the LGBTQ+ community went wild for it and what the song stands for.
The catchy song takes a stand against the haters of the LGBTQ+ community. It is as if Taylor, through her emotive lyrics and power of storytelling, is criticising homophobic people and haters of this community. Taylor is effectively yelling at haters to calm down and support one another - no matter who you are. The song ends with a plea for her loyal fan base to sign the petition for the Equality Act- something she strongly believes and advocates for.
Swift believes ‘rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male.’
The most obvious lyric in this song relating to queer culture is ‘Why are you mad when you could be GLAAD?.’ This stands for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a media organisation which works to promote LGBTQ+ acceptance in marketing and advertising. It was also found out she made a generous donation to this charity which overall shows she supports those with different sexual ties and personalities to her own.
Siwa and her sexuality
JoJo Siwa is a name recognisable to many of the younger generation. She first became a household name when on the reality TV show Dance Moms where she swiftly followed suit with an amazing solo career focussing on performing and being an entertainer to children. JoJo is recognisable to many children and the brand she has built up around her is estimated to be worth $14 million.
In 2020, JoJo confirmed she was part of the LGBTQ+ community via social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. This was a huge risk in the career she had made for herself, but she has since become an influential role model for her fans and of course young children. It is not just the fact that she is so open to displaying her sexuality across her own social media, it is that she is not afraid to be her true self in the mainstream media also. This was done by her partnering with female pro dancer Jenna Johnson on the US version of ‘Dancing with the Stars’, becoming the shows first same sex partnering.
Siwa knows who she is as a person and very much expresses herself differently to other people her age. It is JoJo’s uniqueness that has helped her cultivate the massive fan base she has and over the years, she has certainly expressed her sexuality increasingly.
From reading this, I hope you can have a sense of appreciation for the celebrities discussed. It’s not easy for anyone to truly express themselves and be open about their sexuality, never mind people who could have a career hanging on the line because of it.