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21 May, 2022
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gender-fluidity

The Journey of India’s First Androgynous Model Amit Bittoo Dey

Nowadays, gender fluidity has become a common term for everyone. This is because more non-binary and gender-queer celebrities are coming out in the public eye, with more  acceptance among the common masses.

The fashion industry has always been open about its representatives. Due to such culture, individuals in this industry work with an open-minded approach to accept models away from the normal race. 

Following the advancements in the fashion industry, the new term “Androgynous modelling” is growing popular everywhere.

Who Are Androgynous Models?

Androgynous models are people who can model in both traits, viz. male and female. Amit Bittoo Dey is a great example of an Androgynous model. Amit wears female-oriented clothing and keeps his hairstyle like a male to show masculinity. The combination of such styles makes Amit a famous and the first Androgynous model in India.

Androgynous models are those who can switch between female and male dressings, accessories, and styles. Men wear a wig, paint their nails, wear make-up, and show off smaller waists to represent themselves like a female model. Similarly, women wear suits, sport short hairstyles, and pose masculinity to represent themselves as male models.

When Did Gender Fluidity In Modeling Started?

The trend of Androgynous modelling was started in the early part of the twentieth century. In 1910, Chanel designed traditional menswear clothing (trousers) for women. The 1940s era represented models of the post-suffragette age. These sought to shake off the conventional feminizing features of fashion for an independent and aggressive style. 

In the 1960s, the first tuxedo for women was designed by Yves Saint Laurent. This era saw numerous icons like Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, and many more. These models broke all of their boundaries by experimenting with their attire. In that era, homosexuality was also legitimized in most countries that helped people to come out in public and experiment with themselves without worrying about gender boundaries. 

After the 1960s, gender fluidity became a normal trend in the modelling world, and people started to appear out in public freely. Numerous feminist movements also assisted this trend.

Androgynous Modeling In India

Though the world has progressed incessantly in the modelling world, India is yet to witness progressions in such modelling practices. It is because people are still biased with the traditional mindsets that resist them to recognize such models and practices as legal. Kolkata-based Amit Bittoo Dey is an Androgynous model cum chameleon among such models. It might be difficult for people who see Amit donning an ultra-glam look wearing choreographic hair wigs to recognize him without one. The modelling pictures explicitly speaks of his childhood passion for modelling. 

“Presenting creative and unostentatious ideas through photo shoots is my passion, something I always wanted to do. Dress up and convey my thinking patterns,” said Amit, who confidently expressed his love and dedication for his work.

Challenges And Issues With The Modeling World

While working, Amit faced many remarks like “mardon ke naam pe kalank”. However, he didn’t shatter from his work. He mentioned: “My life is clear. I am very comfortable with femininity, and I love the aesthetics of a woman’s appearance. But this doesn’t indicate that I’m a woman. Instead, I enjoy dressing up as a man equally,”

Amit, in his early days, was a stage phobic. However, now, he is a confident person with a clear focus on his career. The dedication is depicted in Amit’s own words.

How Is Amit’s Life Inside And Outside The Closet?

“As a kid, I always loved dressing like a girl dancing on Bollywood songs, and because I grew up as a younger son of my family, followed by two elder sisters, I followed my sister’s footsteps. During my childhood, my sisters dressed me like a Dulhan while the neighbour wala ladka used to be my Dulha. It was pretty well that my family never judged or criticized me for that. So, I used to dream that the future is only going to be better. Fir main bada ho gaya and reality was totally different,”

“After learning about my Androgynous appearance and open sexuality, there was a bit of reluctance in my family towards it. But with the series going viral and gaining popularity, I gradually received acceptance and support- in and outside the family,” added Amit.

Amit’s Journey After The Exploration Of His Open Sexuality

“Finding Androgynous modelling is similar to the exploration of my solace. The creative and unconventional ideas that I put forward through my photo shoots is my passion, something that I always wanted to do. However, my journey was not so simple because I met many judgemental and single-sighted people throughout my career,” 

“I received numerous derogatory and cheap comments when I came out in public wearing a wig and lipstick. Some people took my appearance as an open invitation during shows and approached me by giving signals like licking ears, touching, and twisting waist,” said Amit. 

What Is Amit’s Relationship Status?

When Amit was asked about his relationship status, he said after being in unsuccessful relationships with a girl and a boy; he is now working only on his career.

Amit’s Fears 

“After being open about gender, sexuality, adopting an unconventional life, I fear being attacked for the unconventional lifestyle that I opted for myself,” said Amit. 

He added: “I had received derogatory remarks like ‘mardon ke naam pe kalank’ from people.  When a big movie got protested, and popular actors/actresses got threat calls, the fear in me grew more because I am working with a profession that is away from the league. I can be attacked too. And there will be nobody to protect me,”

“What I really desire at the moment is ki main openly reh sakoon, where I don’t have to explain what and why I am doing what I do,”

Who Is The Fashion Inspiration Of Amit Bittoo Dey?

“The truth is I have never followed anyone, so I have no role model as such. I always believed in self-competition. I wish to create trends, though. The next shoot that I want to work on will be something around a peacock. A bird, who as a male, is so beautiful that even a girl’s beauty is compared to his,”

Disclaimer: The interview excerpts have been taken from the Indian Women Blog.

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