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It is the era of body positivity and gender fluid

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It is the era of body positivity and gender fluid

Our body, our shell, constantly undergoes changes and never as in this period, where everything runs very quickly, the changes have been sudden and in the future there will be unimaginable scenarios. The Report “The Future of the Body” produced by the FutureBrand Observatory explores the human body and what is changing, involving prominent figures in the world of marketing, business, philosophy and medicine. Five scenarios have been identified with different perspectives that allow us to understand how the relationship with our body will change; scenarios that we will have to take into account, especially the brands in order not to lose the link with their interlocutors. Trends range from inclusivity to a new sexuality, passing through gender fluid, beauty and technology.

Non-compliant bodies

The change we are witnessing today goes far beyond the perception of the body, a perception that has changed dramatically from that of 20 years ago. “In particular, in the last 5 years the body and beauty have taken on a new social meaning thanks to issues such as: diversity, inclusiveness and equality”, says Anthony Mathé, semiologist and brand consultant. “Social media play a fundamental role, today we no longer simply have a body, ours is a social body that allows us to have multiple possibilities in the abstract that we did not have before. Today there is the acceptance of non-conforming bodies, a new frontier that frees the body from the slavery of aesthetics. Each community recognizes itself and represents itself through its ideal body: there is a model for the fat body, for the thin one, for the black one and so on ». Yet a third of adults have felt shame and dissatisfaction with their bodies and 96% are women. Not only that, 61% of teenagers around the world have an aversion to their physical appearance. This means that there is still a lot to do, but change is taking place, like an unstoppable wave. Just like individuals, brands are also moving in this direction. An example on tgutti concerns the Underargument brand that chooses its models based on their stories and without meeting them first, without photo books or auditions, a sort of “anti-casting”.

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Free bodies from gender

Over time, the concept of identity has become increasingly complex and problematic. Identity is no longer an acquired dimension, but the product of a conscious and individual choice. Identities multiply and change according to time and space, most people in the present are not the same as they were in the past. As sociologist Judith Butler states, “identity is fluid and fragmented, rather than uniform, fixed and coherent and – if it exists – is close to a theatrical performance”. Traditionally, brands continue to offer products with offers dedicated to men and women, differentiated in packaging, shapes and colors: pink for women, blue for men. A dichotomy fueled by decades of gender marketing which, however, is giving way to proposals in which anyone can identify. The Swedish brand Acne, for example, has launched a line of gender neutral underwear that opens up to an androgynous aesthetic already experienced by Calvin Klein in the nineties. The beauty world has been moving in this direction for some time. International brands choose male ambassadors, such as boy bloggers, or transgender as Armani Beauty did by choosing top model Valentina Sampaio. After all, the global market for men’s skin care products, estimated at $ 12 billion in 2020, will reach a volume of $ 16.3 billion by 2026. In Italy, the average monthly expenditure for beauty products in 2021 was around 30 euros for both sexes.

The new sexuality

Sex and body are often used synonymously. Cinema and advertising have accustomed us to representations that have little to do with a complex sphere like sex. And today? Sexuality is still evolving: contentment and pleasure are the main reasons around which everything revolves and the approach to sex moves further and further away from bonds and monogamy. It is evident that the ethics linked to sex and sexuality evolve faster than society does, which will adapt to things done. Despite the progress made, there are still many stereotypes and clichés in narratives. Depending on the communication channel, its representation is contradictory: on the one hand television, advertising and cinema offer sexual relations justified by passion and love; on the other hand, pornography reduces everything to mechanical and aseptic acts. Yet sexuality is one of the most important areas that determine an individual’s identity and her well-being. Freely experimenting with one’s sexuality, without preconceptions and conditioning, is a way to get to know each other better that should be regardless of gender and sexual orientation. There is therefore a need for examples and brands that encourage the exploration of one’s sexuality. Canadian brand Consonant Skin + Care proposes sexual satisfaction as an integral part of a healthy beauty routine, with a kit that also includes a vibrator. After all, a report by Nielsen showed that during the post-Covid period, purchases of sexual wellness products increased by 18.4 percent.

Expand the concept of beauty

Each era has had its model of perfection to strive for, today beauty is heterogeneous and is declined in countless different examples that coexist, contaminating each other. A radical change in the concept of beauty and a return to the authentic meaning of this term. Enough, therefore, with the ideal of female beauty which represents only 5% of the population: today beauty is considered as such if the individual feels comfortable (44%), confident (42%) or proud of who is (32%). So much so that we talk about the beauty of defects, as uniqueness, characterizing, to be shown with confidence. Accepting who we are allows us to rewrite the social rules, regaining control over our body without comparing it to anyone else. And brands adapt, choosing testimonials that do not meet the canons of “perfect” beauty or shifting attention to “true” beauty: what everyone perceives as such. An example? Winnie Harlow, the model with vitiligo increasingly requested by stylists and Alessandro Michele for Gucci who often chooses unconventional models, such as the Armenian model Armine with very particular features. The relationship with beauty brands has also evolved: from distributors of “miraculous”, last minute and quick-fix solutions, they now offer themselves as sincere and honest allies, realistic in proposing formulas that act over time and constancy. We talk about inner beauty, a holistic concept that focuses on beauty that starts from the inside: from the reduction of oxidative stress of the cell phones for a young and long-lasting beautiful appearance, to cellular hydration to gradually achieve an age-defying result.

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