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Hanging Out with Michael Jackson

Michael wasn't just "The Man in The Mirror;" Michael was the mirror. You won't see the light in Michael, if you don't recognize it in yourself. You won't decode the message unless you know what you are looking for or understand what you're looking at. You have to resonate. You won't get Michael's invitation unless you understand that "we are the world" and "you're the chosen one." You have to be in touch with your Inner Michael.



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Monday

Michael and Androgyny

Is androgyny a phase or is it the evolutionary impulse of humankind? What is androgyny? It is the embracing and blending of both male and female characteristics in the human being. Androgyny is reflected in a look, in dress, in esthetics such as makeup and jewelry as it relates to human sexuality and gender.

Look no further than the fashion runway to see the trend changing. The “look” is a blend of soft and strong, yin and yang, swish and slash, and sexy asexual. The yin and yang blend is neither overtly masculine nor feminine but features both in modern style. The new urban “Metrosexual” is a more blended, progressive and androgynous style for men.

If you remember Boy George or David Bowie, they exemplified the androgynous male as does Prince. It’s no longer fashionable to be exclusively the aggressive, hard and dominating male figure. It’s no longer cool to be sexually threatening. It’s even acceptable now to have five gay men give you fashion and domestic advice from a “Queer Eye” perspective. How modern culture has relaxed! Rigid male and females roles must have been exhausting to maintain.

Androgyny is not new. Ancient Greece and Rome were more relaxed about sexuality and sexual identity. Men often had homosexual and well as heterosexual relationships. The rise of Christianity buried the androgynous principle and drove same sex relations underground and made it taboo and an abomination. Other cultures have been more liberal about sexuality and gender: Hindu gods and goddesses which depict the various aspects of God include androgynous characters like Shiva; Hapi of Egypt, Dionysus of Greece and Obatala of South America and the Caribbean are androgynous deities. There are numerous characters in history whom did not fit into specific gender roles of their culture. Strong women like Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, St. Joan and others were not “feminine” in the traditional sense. Male saints, mystics, artist and poets like Hafiz and Rumi did not fit the modern definition of “masculinity.”

A culture can be stern about its expectations and rules about gender characteristics and the norms can be strictly enforced. There are punishments for those who dare to deviate from the “norms” of a society when it comes to sexuality, gender and expression of human sensuality. Punishments range from banishment and ostracism, to harassment and even death.

Nothing seems to stir the lower emotions more than human sexuality and sexual identity issues. Sexuality and anger are processed in adjoining regions in the human body—the genitals and solar plexus so it is no surprise when they are confused or fused. Many men are still threatened by any deviation from the culturally embedded “male image” and will attack representations of that threat. Actually, the human fetus has characteristics of both sexes and is born with both male and female sets of hormones. Androgyny is natural.

The feminist and gay rights movements, the rise of glam rockers like Bowie and Prince, the cinematic rise of “tough females” like Angelina Jolie and Uma Thurman, the revealed sensuality of Madonna, Beyonce and shocker Adam Lambert have helped to reshape culture from exclusionary and harsh into a more inclusive, tolerant and democratic form. It is a message to value all people.

But even before all of the movements and the direct assaults on social norms and conscience by daring modern entertainers, there was Michael Jackson. His ever-changing but androgynous look, his boyish manner, use of makeup and flamboyant dress was a cutting edge androgynous message. Michael’s androgynous “look” was often interpreted as asexual and was impetus for much speculation, sarcasm and joking about his sexuality and gender identity. His “You are Not Alone” music video is the perfect picture of androgyny. His solo piece in that short film combines a sense of boyish and non-threatening innocence with sensual physicality that can’t quite be characterized as “machismo” or even “male.” The later appearance of his wife, Lisa Marie Presley and Michael partially disrobed conveys a Greco-Roman beauty and romance yet makes clear the sensuality and sexual sparks between them, confirmed by Lisa Marie in later interviews.

Why was Michael Jackson’s “identity” under so much scrutiny in his lifetime? His gender, sexuality, looks, face, sensual dance, relationships and private life seemed “up for grabs” by and in the public. A frenzied media speculated about everything in regard to Michael’s sexuality and gender identity. Both sexes found Michael attractive. Perhaps it was Michael alone who was not confused but clear about himself, his role and his message?


Did Michael purposely challenge cultural norms and gender roles? Michael was ahead of his time in the thrust past prejudice and ignorance and toward an evolution into unity and acceptance of all human beings as equal members of the human family. Did a brilliant and cunning Michael Jackson deliberately challenge Puritanical and harsh cultural law about gender as well as race? Did Michael Jackson know exactly what he was doing as he and his work morphed over a lifetime? Michael has affirmed so many times that his work was Divinely inspired art. If so, then Michael might have been more genius and spiritual warrior in favor of the human family and evolution than previously recognized.

3 comments:

MJ said...

Thank you for your most interesting article. No doubt that Michael had always been ahead of his time and challenged the norm. The rest of us needed time to catch up with him.

Regardless of his sexual orientation or preferences, Michael Jackson should not have had to explain himself to the rest of us. His sexuality is his own personal business. Whatever he was never diminished his extraordinary contributions to humanity.

I also think that the constant evolution of his style made excellent business sense since it kept the world curious and talking about him. Besides, really talented artists seem to have a greater sense of freedom of expression, and a lot more depth to express in their work. Michael's chosen ways of expressing himself were so embracing of both male and female; hence, he was able to touch both genders (and all else) with extraordinary passion and compassion.

God bless this genius!

isabeau said...

As I wrote in my article in now far '88, Nature uses special people to express changes in conciousness.
Yes, MJ he was a good businesman, but he was also an instrument of Nature driven to tell us something wihout words and his carisma attracted and still attract both genders and a particular kind of people, the ones who tend not to concentrate on differences but on unity. It is a question of 'tuning', a level of conciousness

BeGodsGlow said...

I've thought of this before as well and come to the conclusion that Michael has been an amazing reflection of the soul (the soul that is both aspects of our universe's duality, yet neither at the same time). Among others, the aspects of male and female (in both appearance and voice), of black and white, of sexuality and non-sexuality, of the completely non-threatening and the threatening (Thriller, etc), shy and yet uninhibited on stage, identified with a country & culture and yet universal, a child yet an adult, the essence of innocence yet accused of... well, you know. What an amazing being who walked among us. I could write an entire blog just listing the things I respect him for (maybe I should, hmmm), but for this topic I'll say I respect him greatly for just being himself, for walking out there with his mom's sparkly jacket on and just giving it to us! ;) In all the changes he went through (both of his choice and not) he was just Michael Jackson and couldn't not be. Unique and beautiful through and through. And I will love him always. Always.