Androgyny throughout Harper’s Bazar: What Mode of Consumption is Implied?

Recently my landlord stopped by to have some forms signed and while she was at my house, decided her huge copy of the March edition of Harper’s Bazar was incidentally too heavy for her to continue to carry around. The thing’s huge. 446 pages of high fashion advertisements, spreads, and articles. Concerning our discussions on androgyny in high fashion recently in class, I decided to take a flip through the massive mag to see if I spotted any androgyny within its pages.

Unsurprisingly, androgyny was a main component of the representations of fashion found through this edition of Harper’s Bazar. The balance, however, of masculine to feminine characteristics applied to the subject modeling the androgynous fashions was quite skewed. I suppose, my knowledge of androgyny has always allowed for equal amounts of both masculine and feminine components, but in these representations of androgyny, femininity took the lead.

In my previous analysis of androgyny, I was not well versed in the idea of realist, or fantastic modes of consumption. It seems that the images of androgynous fashion found throughout this magazine were based in a fantastic mode of consumption, in that the attainability, setting, and clothing itself was quite unrealistic and simply created to be consumed artistically.

While a fantastic mode of consumption was the initial brand of consumption these fashions were molded upon, a dose of a realist mode of consumption was also applied, in that those consuming this magazine and its androgyny will be able see that it is women who are modeling the fashions. This blatant skewing of androgyny toward the feminine implies it is women who will be observing the fashions, therefore highlighting a mix of both realistic and fantastic modes of consumption.

-Sally Stempler