Above is an image of David Bowie in 1981, the year my daughter Liz Gipson was fourteen. Lipstick. Eyeliner. Very gender-bending, very pansexual. And very attractive.
Below is a photo of Lizzie in 1983 that shows a corner of her David Bowie collection, which I remember as covering the four walls and ceiling of her room.
Lizzie, I think it is safe to say, was into David Bowie. And this did make her mother (me) a tad bit uncomfortable, even though I liked to think I was as free-thinking as my generation got. Looking back, Lizzie’s embrace of David Bowie probably made me uncomfortable because he didn’t just cross the accepted boundaries of healthy sexuality — he built a bridge over them.
Yes, my mother’s generation brought women wearing pants into mainstream culture.
And my generation embraced Mick Jagger. Who certainly experimented with gender-bending.
But I think Lizzie’s generations was the first to truly relax about gender-bending; to get that its perfectly acceptable for our personal style to be an extension of our sexuality; to figure out that being a sexual animal is fun instead of a cause for closeted angst.
It occurred to me recently that the late, great David Bowie was a huge part of this grand sexual relaxation.
And please note that I said “relaxation” and did not say “revolution.” Revolution implies great change; relaxation means we’re finally getting comfortable with the way we’ve been all long.