'OITNB' Star Ruby Rose Directed An Eye-Opening Video About Gender Fluidity, But It's Missing Something Important — VIDEO
Orange Is the New Black's newest cast member, Ruby Rose, isn't just shaking things up between Alex and Piper this season, she is also intent on rocking the world's ideas about gender — and it's just what the doctor ordered. The Australian supermodel, actress, and DJ identifies as gay and gender fluid, telling Elle magazine,
Gender fluidity is not really feeling like you're at one end of the spectrum or the other. For the most part, I definitely don't identify as any gender. I'm not a guy; I don't really feel like a woman, but obviously I was born one. So, I'm somewhere in the middle, which – in my perfect imagination – is like having the best of both sexes.
While Rose feels like a mix of both genders and doesn't limit her identity to just one, the pronoun "she" is used in interviews with the star.
The actress is fortunate enough to find fame at almost the exact moment Caitlyn Jenner has become synonymous with bravery and self-acceptance. And her OITNB character, Stella, is open about being gender fluid, as well — now she just has to explain what that means to millions of people who are still trying to wrap their minds around what it means to be transgender.
About a year ago, Rose made an important short film called Break Free that shows her morphing from a blonde supermodel with an ample bosom into a tough-talking, cigarette-smoking guy wearing a suit jacket and rocking a half-shaved head. The message is simple: those who identify as gender fluid are neither female nor male — they feel free to explore both genders because they feel both masculine and feminine.
As far as whether this video actually gives the most accurate and honest account of how it must feel to be gender fluid, well, I'm guessing it's a start. I'm not gender fluid, so obviously take my opinion with a grain of salt, but there's something about this gorgeously shot video that reminds me of the criticism Jenner faced after her Vanity Fair interview was released. On the one hand, many people need to see something — literally, see it with their own two eyes — to begin to understand it, so I get why it's powerful and important to show Jenner in lingerie or Rose transforming from presenting as a woman to presenting as a man.
But while the video gorgeously shows off the physical, it doesn’t necessarily show off the emotions and feelings that go along with being gender fluid. As Laverne Cox said in a piece she wrote on her Tumblr after Jenner's Vanity Fair article came out,
I love working a photo shoot and creating inspiring images for my fans, for the world and above all for myself. But I also hope that it is my talent, my intelligence, my heart and spirit that most captivate, inspire, move and encourage folks to think more critically about the world around them. Yes, Caitlyn looks amazing and is beautiful but what I think is most beautiful about her is her heart and soul, the ways she has allowed the world into her vulnerabilities.
No two women are the same and not everyone who identifies as a woman will relate to the first half of Rose's video. And I can't speak for men, but my educated guess is that each and every one of them also has myriad thoughts, emotions, and urges swimming inside of a body that sometimes wears suit jackets, smokes cigs like Marlon Brando, and says, "What the f--k are you looking at?" But, gosh, I know plenty of men who also mix chia seeds into their morning juice and say "heck" instead of the F-word. There's so much more to masculinity and femininity than caricatures of men and women suggest.
The video is undoubtedly an important piece of art, and if Rose would be kind enough to keep educating the world about gender fluidity and take it beyond the physical, the world will be a better place for her contribution.