Youtuber Ari Fitz is a Black, queer, masculine woman who is a trailblazer in curating platforms that celebrate style challenging gender binaries. Ari’s work has been an inspiration for those of us in the queer style media vertical, someone who lifts others up as we all find a way to live our most authentic selves beyond the binary and beyond both queer-normative and hetero-normative expectations. For almost a decade, I have been writing about masculine style, and watching queer style evolve to include the voices of femmes and to celebrate other forms of dress not defined by the suit and bow-tie, including swimwear and underwear. One thing that I have yet to come across is masculine pregnancy attire. And, this does not surprise me because our society, including our own LGBTQ+ communities, often do not associate masculinity with pregnancy. I am a femme in a relationship with someone who presents more androgynous. Most people arbitrarily assign hetero-normative feminine gender roles to me – my partner must make more money (incorrect), must be more decisive (incorrect), must be better at driving directions (incorrect), must like sports (we both do), and of course, if one of us were to ever want children, I must be the one who would get pregnant because I am more feminine (incorrect).
To dismantle some of these myths, Fitz joined another Youtuber, Frankie Smith, to explore the intersections of masculinity and pregnancy in a short documentary My Mama Wears Timbs, which examines Smith’s experiences as a pregnant, butch woman of color.
When discussing pregnancy fashion, Fitz told Refinery29, “The images are not anyone who would look like myself or my friends. They’re all of a girl in a flowy dress with her boyfriend or husband and she’s in nature and she has a flower crown.”
The fact that there exists a market for fashionable pregnancy attire exemplifies the importance of wearing clothing that makes people feel good. Yet, there is a serious dearth of any fashionable clothing for pregnant people who dress more masculine, androgynous, or anywhere outside the binary. Fitz and Smith continue to blaze the trail with important conversations around the intersections of fashion, race, and gender.
Feature photo by @christingaling christingaling