Vogue Forced To Apologize For Offending The Gender-Fluid Community

Hannah Bleau

It sucks to be Vogue today! (And every day, if we’re being honest here).

Vogue recently featured celeb couple Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik on its cover.

Yes. The two are dating. In the story, Vogue suggests that the couple is “gender-fluid” because they borrow each other’s clothes. They’re totes trendy like that. The title of the story is “Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik Are Part of a New Generation Who Don’t See Fashion as Gendered.” It talks about how millennials are increasingly finding themselves confused over what boys typically wear and what girls typically wear don’t see clothes as gendered.

This new blasé attitude toward gender codes marks a radical break. Consider the scene one recent morning out in Montauk, New York, where the photos accompanying this story were shot: Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik snuggle in interchangeable tracksuits as, nearby, Hadid’s younger brother, Anwar, rocks back and forth on a tire swing, his sheer lace top exposing scattered tattoos. For these millennials, at least, descriptives like boy or girl rank pretty low on the list of important qualities—and the way they dress reflects that.


“I shop in your closet all the time, don’t I?” Hadid, 22, flicks a lock of dyed-green hair out of her boyfriend’s eyes as she poses the question.


“Yeah, but same,” replies Malik, 24. “What was that T-shirt I borrowed the other day?”

“The Anna Sui?” asks Hadid.


“Yeah,” Malik says. “I like that shirt. And if it’s tight on me, so what? It doesn’t matter if it was made for a girl.”


Hadid nods vigorously. “Totally. It’s not about gender. It’s about, like, shapes. And what feels good on you that day. And anyway, it’s fun to experiment. . . .”

Back to Hadid’s comment. It’s about shapes. Women’s clothing is tailored to the shape of women. Same goes for men’s clothes. I know that may come as a shock to you.

Anyway, the entire article is a bore, because it basically just gushes over Gigi and Zayne because they refuse to cave to fashion gender stereotypes. This was supposed to be a BIG win for Vogue. They’re totally trendy! They’re so pro-gender fluidity!

It backfired big time. The LGBT community was super offended that Vogue basically defined gender-fluidity as cross-dressing. It’s not that simple! I mean– DUH. You have to also FEEL like you’re the opposite gender too. Vogue totally didn’t take feelings into account!

Even Cosmo’s annoyed.

But Gigi and Zayn are not the faces of the nonbinary or genderqueer movement as Vogue would have its readers think — strictly speaking, Zayn isn’t really wearing any clothing you’d view as “women’s” in his shots. (I mean, Vogue, if you’re going to make Zayn a new face of the genderqueer community, the least you could do is give us a solid, smoldering portrait of him in a ballgown with a bold lip. That would have likely overwhelmed me to the point that you’d get a pass.) While they may be “part of a new generation embracing gender fluidity,” they certainly aren’t at the forefront of that change; rather, they are the beneficiaries of activism that transgender and gender-nonconforming people have been leading for generations — plural. And in the context of this shoot, they’re appropriating those efforts.

Because of the intense backlash, Vogue issued an apology. Here’s the statement a spokesperson provided to BuzzFeed:

“The story was intended to highlight the impact the gender-fluid, non-binary communities have had on fashion and culture,” she said. “We are very sorry the story did not correctly reflect that spirit – we missed the mark. We do look forward to continuing the conversation with greater sensitivity.”

Better luck next time, Vogue. So much for staying trendy.