Bad Bunny dishes on breaking gender norms through fashion: ‘To me, a dress is a dress’

Bad Bunny dishes on breaking gender norms through fashion: ‘To me, a dress is a dress’

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In Bad Bunny’s world, fashion is fluid, free and genderless.

The Grammy-winning reggaeton star opened up to GQ about his ever-evolving style in an interview published Tuesday. Bad Bunny, born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, said he doesn’t follow a rulebook when it comes to his fashion sense, and this includes dismissing traditional gender norms.

“It depends on my state of mind,” Bad Bunny said of his style. “Everybody has to feel comfortable with what they are and how they feel. Like, what defines a man, what defines being masculine, what defines being feminine? I really can’t give clothes gender.”

He continued: “To me, a dress is a dress. If I wear a dress, would it stop being a woman’s dress? Or vice versa? Like, no. It’s a dress, and that’s it. It’s not a man’s, it’s not a woman’s. It’s a dress.”

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The Puerto Rican emcee has become known for incorporating androgyny into his presentation as an artist, sporting acrylic nails on the cover of Playboy magazine in July 2020 and even wearing full drag in his music video for “Yo Perrero Sola,” released earlier that same year. Bad Bunny also donned a skirt during a performance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in February 2020.

Because of the overemphasis on masculinity within Latin culture, Bad Bunny says his defiance of gender norms as a Latin music artist has created a polarizing public reception. 

“Latino culture is very machista,” Bad Bunny told GQ. “That’s why I think everything that I’ve done has been even more shocking. … Urban Latin music, reggaeton, is a genre where you have to be the manliest, the baddest. That’s why it’s the most shocking too.”

The 28-year-old said he questions the nature of these gender-based limitations in the reggaeton genre. “If I dress this way, I can’t sing this way? Or if I dress like this, I can’t listen to this type of music?” he said. 

Bad Bunny has also tackled issues of gender within his music, with the lyrics of “Yo Perreo Sola” broaching the subject of violence and sexual harassment against women.

But ultimately, the “Dakiti” rapper says he’s offering a different perspective in his music, rather than forcing a message.

“It’s not like I’m making a sermon. I’m going to a club or being with friends. It’s natural,” Bad Bunny said. “So, when somebody listens to it … and it changes their mind a bit, it’s not like they’re going to be a new person, but they acquire something. They might start accepting things that they hadn’t.”

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