David Bowie for Gender Expression

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 at the age of 49, Bowie was most widely known for his strange yet talented performances and highly grossing career as a singer, songwriter, and overall famous musician, that being said he was so much more than that. Throughout the earliest years of his musical career he was seen in outrageous and complex costumes both in photoshoots, album covers, and live shows. Given as this was in 1969 when “American morals and values” were the most important facet of day to day life there was a huge culture shock surrounding the man in tights and a full face of makeup.

David Bowie was definitely the pioneer for outwardly queer men and the concept of androgyny in American culture. Given as he would go out into the world appearing to be stereotypically feminine or just not masculine donning his alien alter ego and stage persona Ziggy Stardust, during a time when gender roles and stereotypes were a huge deal. Now thankfully for timing women were at this time around the early 70’s starting to fight for equality and the concept of not being straight and not fitting into the heteronormative boxes laid out at birth based off sex was easy to run with.

Bowie meant so much to so many, but for a number of people who have fought to subvert gender binaries and resist labels in a world that demands them, he made self-acceptance fashionable.” After the original culture shock of his appearance and persona Bowie’s very presence influenced many people to be comfortable in their skin, regardless of how you express yourself and whatever you decided to wear. Arguably paving the way for modern style icons like Jeffree Star, a makeup and style icon who gained popularity on the internet, openly gay and proud of his androgyny, openly praised Bowie in a tribute, for allowing people to be fearless and be themselves, “...thinking of how many doors this one man had opened for people like me. THANK YOU David Bowie for being the definition of "fearless" and making it OK for people like me to express themselves, and be happy”.


Biography.com Editors. "David Bowie." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.


Segal, Corrine. "David Bowie Made Androgyny Cool, and It Was about Time." PBS. PBS, 11 Jan. 2016. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.


Jeffree, Star. "David Bowie “ZIGGY STARDUST" Makeup Tutorial." YouTube. YouTube, 13 Jan. 2016. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.


Timeline of David Bowie’s Life Events

  • Jan. 8, 1947 Birth. Originally named David Robert Hayward-Jones

  • 1962 David Robert Hayward-Jones starts his musical carrer with his first band, the Konrads.


  • 1966 David Robert Hayward-Jones officially and legally changes his name to David Bowie.

  • June 1967 Bowie releases his first album. Self titled, David Bowie.


  • July 1969 Space Oddity Is released, soon to reach the top 5 most played in the United Kingdom.  

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  • March 1970, Bowie marries actress and model Angela Barnett, his first wife.

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  • November 1970, The Man Who Sold the World is released, Bowie’s first fully realized album. Also, begin the first appearances of his Androgynous pop/rock persona Ziggy Stardust.

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  • May 30 1971, Bowie’s son Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones is born.


  • June 1972 The Rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is released. This album was known as being a full concept album, leaning more towards a glam rock sound and image (Ziggy Stardust).

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  • May 1974 Release of Diamond Dogs, another concept album based off a George Orwell novel.


  • March 1975 Young Americans, an album featuring John Lennon on the single, Fame. This single would soon be his first number 1 single in the United States.


  • May 1976 Bowie stars in a sci-fi movie, The Man who fell to Earth and releases his album Station to Station.

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  • November 1975 Guest star appearance on the television show, Soul Train.

  • September 1980 Bowie moves into the Broadway scene, working on the production of The Elephant Man.

  • 1981 Bowie collaborates with Freddy Mercury and accompanying band Queen to produce the single, Under Pressure soon to be recognized as number one in the U.K (Bowie’s third recognition on the top charts of the United Kingdom.)


  • 1984, David Bowie receives his first ever Grammy for his short film Jazzin for Blue Jean, which is actually a music video, not a film.

  • June 1986 Bowie stars in a leading role in the movie Labyrinth.

  • 1996 Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

  • February 2006, Awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

  • January 8 2013, The release of Bowie’s first studio decade in years, The Next Day.


  • January 8 2016, Bowie releases Blackstar, his 25th album.


  • January 10 2016, Death.

















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