Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube and other social media giants are notorious for consuming millennials, attention and time, but in the right hands they are marvelous teaching tools. One recent lesson is that gender is a fluid spectrum that should not be restricted to archaic gender roles.
With the rise of social media and their stars, gender as society knows it is bound to become something of the past.
Instagram and YouTube stars like Jeffree Star and MannyMua are showing millennials how to do their makeup, while smashing the gender norm. With the rise of these stars and other men in makeup millennials have access to gender-bending role models. They are no longer limited to seeing glimpses of drag queen pioneers like RuPaul on LGBT magazine covers and movies. These new stars are easily available on phones, computers and in the pages of mainstream magazines like Allure.
RuPaul is bigger than ever. During his RuPaul’s DragCon in March, the convention was given its own Snapchat story to liveblog the event to 100 million daily users. More than 22,000 attended the convention.
Though these stars may each identify their gender as one way or another, their message is the same. Gender is a subjective spectrum.
Blogging and sharing websites like Tumblr have introduced more users to what it means to identify as non-binary. A non-binary or genderqueer person is someone who does not identify strictly with the feminine or masculine genders.
Information about genderqueer has spread so quickly in the last ten years that a Massive Millennials Poll by Fusion reported that 57 percent of millennials believe that gender is not limited to female or male, but falls on a spectrum.
While some of their parents may be fighting to put a stop to gender-neutral bathrooms, people who are college age are more likely to see non-binary bathrooms, ID cards and campus housing.
As the gender-neutral generation grows and moves into positions of power, gender norms and restrictive policies are sure to fade away like whites-only drinking fountains and bans on gay teachers.