The Androgyny Appeal

Before we get started, check out this video clip from The L Word. Watch as the ladies on the show try to ascertain the sexuality of the chef by sending in their secret weapon: Shane.

While The L Word was on the air, the character of Shane McCutcheon captured the rapt attention of nearly anyone who watched – gay or straight, male or female. With her attractive features, lithe frame, and laissez-faire attitude, the character of Shane oozes sex appeal. However, I think the Shane phenomenon points to more than just the skill of actress Kate Moennig and a well-written script – it exemplifies the allure of the androgyne.

I can’t speak beyond my own experience, but I will share with you my thoughts on what exactly is so appealing about androgyny. I hope you will join the conversation because I certainly do not have all the answers!

So one time over dinner, my mom asked me what kind of women I was attracted to.


I was caught off guard by her candid question, and more than a little uncomfortable discussing sexual appeal with my mother. The brief answer I gave her was this: “I like masculine energy in a female form.” I left it at that because honestly I didn’t want to get too detailed with the woman who birthed me, but here’s the truth: I am drawn to the conflation of the masculine and feminine in almost every way – in appearance, in energy, in manner of speaking, moving, behaving, etc. etc.

Pinning down why this is so attractive to me is a little complicated. Who’s to say how much of this attraction is an innate part of my sexual orientation? However, I think there is more to the androgyny appeal than genetics, as evidenced by the worldwide frenzy Shane started on The L Word. (Want to see 100 pictures of Shane? Click here.)

a few more androgynous women for your viewing pleasure

So what is it about androgyny that is so alluring? I think much of it has to do with the defiant way androgyny ignores and resists gender norms. Androgynous people can’t hide or slip into the background, and that courage to combat social convention screams sexy. It’s dangerous, and danger can be very alluring, as anyone with a motorcycle and a daredevil streak will tell you. Most of all, androgyny conveys an independence of mind that is very attractive.

Are you attracted to androgyny, either as a role you embrace yourself or as a trait in others? Why or why not? And, most importantly, how hot is Shane?

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7 Comments on “The Androgyny Appeal”

  1. scoomes
    April 24, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    Shane is so so hot but, oddly, I’m not that attracted to androgyny. For me the appeal of androgyny is internal, it’s the surprising and refreshing contrast to my super feminine days. I feel powerful in a very different way from days when I wear lipstick and short skirts. It brings out different parts of my personality, I like that dynamism.

    Note: I don’t think Shane’s sexiest quality is her gender play, I think it’s her laid back approach to life and the way she looks at women. Two things that anyone, gay/straight/man/woman can appreciate.

  2. M
    August 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    I am just like attracted to androgyny in general… male or female.

    I also sometimes like to look rather androgynous myself… other times I like to look very feminine, but I dunno…

    Yes Shane is hot. Haha.

  3. Emily
    October 24, 2012 at 2:09 am #

    Ok I have to respond to this because I COMPLETELY relate to everything you just said…I rarely read blogs nor have I ever responded to one but this not only comforted me with my attraction to androgynous women but also made me laugh out loud!! You’re wonderful, whoever you are and I think we’d be great friends haha. I stumbled upon this article because of a somewhat pathetic google search that was something like “why are boy-girls so hot” hahaha don’t judge. I’ve been really struggling with my “sexuality” (what the hell does that even mean?) lately and this article definitely aligned with some of my deepest feelings. Thank you whoever you are!! :)

  4. Mae
    October 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Personally, I find that my favorite types of androgyny are both very feminine and very masculine. A combination of both extremes. But I also find that what I consider androgyny is more commonly called by the term gender queer. The look that many people consider androgyny, I would describe as soft butch. Many of the more androgynous identified people seem to be on the more masculine side of the spectrum and it’s more of a neutral removal of gender rather than intentional combination of gender. But these are just my observations and experiences.

  5. October 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    I have noticed that the concept of androgyny seems to have changed over time. What many people currently describe as androgyny, I would consider “soft butch”. It seems to be more of a masculine side of neutral or a removal of gender completely. My previous concepts of androgyny have been more of an exaggerated performance of both genders, now known as gender queer. I think androgyny (and also butch/femme) is inherently genderqueer but I also think there is a spectrum of androgyny that can be more masculine or more feminine. Of course, every one defines their own identity. These are only my observations and experiences.

  6. Xime
    March 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    I think when you don´t know for sure if the person who you are attracted to is male or female, your brain suffers a “short circuit” that leads to confussion. You don´t know if you are attracted to a man or a woman which feels weird, but appealing in a certain way. It´s what I feel when I see David Bowie when he was young in his glam rock look. I look at him and it´s shocking but mostly so hot for me. I consider myself a straight woman attacted to men, but there´s people like David whose are so hot and sexy that they are able to attract everybody, just as the girl on this video.

  7. July 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    I like the facial features and the attitude / energy of androgynous individuals. Perhaps I see a bit of myself in them. I had never considered myself androgynous until lately. I have a pixie hair cut and generally don’t wear make up. I wear tee shirts, jeans, and sneakers. It was pointed out to me that I look like a teenage boy, even though I’m an adult female. I don’t go out of my way to defy gender roles, I just don’t go out of my way to please others.

    Great topic! :)

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