Androgynous – Challenging the Gender Norms in the 80’s

Androgynous, is a song by The Replacements, and part of their album Let it Be, first released in 1984. The song was written by Paul Westerberg, the band’s guitarist...

Androgynous, is a song by The Replacements, and part of their album Let it Be, first released in 1984. The song was written by Paul Westerberg, the band’s guitarist and lead singer.

Androgynous is a song about love. Love between two people who challenge the cisgender societal norms. It is a song that portrays a genderless relationship where “They both look the same”, and it doesn’t matter because “they love each other so”. Additionally, Androgynous also draws upon the evolution of gender, and how it is redefined through time, as it can be understood in the lyrics “Same hair, revolution / Same build, evolution”.

What is also interesting about this song is that it was released in an era where gender stereotypes were exaggerated in society, and where punk and rock music were characterized by hyper masculinities.  One could say that in the pop world, at the time, gender non-conforming identities, such as the one of Boy George, was not atypical. However, in the rock sphere gender bending topics were not the most popular. But The Replacements was not a band that made music with the intent of pleasing an audience. It was a band that represented the unrestrained generation from the 80’s that spoke from the heart.

Androgynous has been covered by several artists, including the Crash Test Dummies. Most recently, it was covered by Miley Cyrus, Joan Jett and Laura Jane Grace from Against Me! for a series to support Miley’s Happy Hippie Foundation which helps fighting injustices perpetrated against vulnerable groups, such as LGBT+.

Personally, I find especially important to revive this song that so perfectly portrays how gender is not only about the traditional “man” and “woman”. Gender is constructed everyday by each one of us. WE define our identity, and WE define our gender.

So just be who you are! And as the song says: “Tomorrow who’s gonna fuss”.

Lyrics:

Here comes Dick, he’s wearing a skirt

Here comes Jane, y’know she’s sporting a chain

Same hair, revolution

Same build, evolution

Tomorrow who’s gonna fuss

And they love each other so

Androgynous

Closer than you know, love each other so

Androgynous

Don’t get him wrong and don’t get him mad

He might be a father, but he sure ain’t a dad

And she don’t need advice that’s sent at her

She’s happy with the way she looks

She’s happy with her gender

Mirror image, see no damage

See no evil at all

Kewpie dolls and urine stalls

Will be laughed at

The way you’re laughed at now

Now, something meets boy, and something meets girl

They both look the same

They’re overjoyed in this world

Same hair, revolution

Unisex, evolution

Tomorrow who’s gonna fuss

And tomorrow Dick is wearing pants

And tomorrow Janie’s wearing a dress

Future outcasts and they don’t last

And today, the people dress the way that they please

The way they tried to do in the last centuries

Androgynous – Challenging the Gender Norms in the 80’s
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Sounds from the Bucket
Silvie Vale

Passionate about LGBT issues and human rights, Silvie Vale has recently graduated in Development and International Relations from Aalborg University, Denmark. She is specialized in Global Gender Studies and is particularly interested in creating awareness about matters of social justice. She loves travelling, researching and learning new things.
    One Comment
  • Victoria Walls
    30 October 2015 at 12:49 pm
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    and they love each other so

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