The Evolution of Androgyny in Music Videos


There’s something very compelling about androgyny, as we all know. But the theme resonates particularly, it seems, for those fashion-forward expressionists known as popular musicians. Architecture in Helsinki’s new video, featuring an ambiguous protagonist being groped by body-less limbs, got us thinking about the trajectory of androgyny in music videos — we tend to associate the trope with the ’80s, but in truth, the look seems to cycle in and out of fashion and it never quite loses its grip on our imagination. Though, let’s not lie, 1983 was a really big year for androgyny. We’ve also noticed that something about androgyny works especially well for redheads. Click through for a brief and incomplete look at the evolution of androgyny in music videos, and let us know what we’ve missed!

David Bowie – “Life On Mars?” (1973)

And basically all that Ziggy Stardust entailed.

Culture Club – “Karma Chameleon” (1983)

Boy George’s rainbow ’80s hobo clown look in this video is incredible.

Eurythmics – “Sweet Dreams” (1983)

The classic – man, she looked hot in that hair.

Belle Stars – “Sign of the Times” (1983)

Androgyny in a cowboy hat.

Garbage – “Androgyny” (2001)

So this is cheating a little, since the song is actually about androgyny, but that doesn’t mean Shirley Manson looks any less awesome with short hair on a revolving platform.

Janelle Monáe – “Many Moons” (2008)

Man, we love Janelle Monáe. She’s basically André 3000 in this gorgeous music video, with a thousand screaming girls reaching for her. And this chick can moonwalk!

La Roux – “I’m Not Your Toy” (2009)

Elly Jackson manages to look like a 12-year-old boy and an incredibly sexy woman all at once.

Hurts – “Better Than Love” (2010)

Even the ballerinas in tutus kind of look like boys.

Architecture in Helsinki – “Contact High” (2011)

Just check out those blue eyes.