James Charles and the Idea of Gender Roles

Both sources,  the “Gender” essay, and the youtube channel and social media influencer  “James Charles” focuses on the keyword “Gender” which shows how the definition of gender can be performative and shift depending on culture, race, class, and more. However, the dictionary definition of gender is vastly different than what James Charles represents as a brand.

In the keyword essay “Gender,” it states how “There seems to be no doubt that in the Stratemeyer universe that male bodies should exhibit masculine traits and female bodies experience feminine traits” (Hatley) This is so significant because it highlights how the definition is so one-sided and how it has just recently become more fluid. This rigid idea that women act feminine and subordinate and males should be powerful is a concept that does not always ring true in the world we live in today.

Having said this, James Charles and his brand on social media and youtube has proven how someone can be a biological male but embody and embrace the feminine stereotypes. Just like James Charles, the story of “His Heart’s Desire” shows how a male can want more feminine things. The story focuses on Andy longs for a doll and wants to play with one. Despite this being seen as “girly,” it doesn’t stop him from wanting one when he grows up. Adding on to this, James wears makeup and dresses more fluid than a real “man” that we see in society today. His gender is intersectional with his culture around him, and because he has such a big following, over sixteen million on Instagram alone, it allows him to embrace his gender identity more and more. He doesn’t let the genders of the performative roles are supposed to represent in our world shy him away from who he is.

1 thought on “James Charles and the Idea of Gender Roles”

  1. Hey Claire!
    These were some really interesting points! James Charles really is the embodiment of the evolution of gender roles within modern society. What I find really interesting about him, and his lack of adherence to traditional gender roles, is that he embodies both of the stereotypical gender roles. He embraces feminine qualities such as beauty and fashion, but also embraces his masculine side. He really seems to be, from my perspective, a good image for the evolution of the stereotypical gender roles, and his millions of followers show the acceptance behind these changing norms. Great Job!

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