Gender-neutral and unisex are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they can have slightly different meanings.

Gender-Neutral Vs. Unisex

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Gender-neutral vs. unisex, or when did unisex make way for gender-neutral, and is there a difference between them? People use both terms, but they have different meanings. Unisex refers to clothing, products, or spaces designed to be used by people of any gender. Gender-neutral associates to language, apparel, products, or facilities that do not make assumptions about a person’s gender. Gender-neutral is more about language and representation. When used as an adjective, gender-neutral implies applicable or accessible to all genders, while unisex implies appropriate for any gender or sex. The concept of gender neutrality refers to the traditional designation of the sexes as female and male. According to a growing view, the binary gender division—i.e., the division into male and female—is discriminatory to those minorities who are (or believe they are) of other genders.

Gender-Neutral Facilities

All-gender or inclusive restrooms are places that people of any gender can use. They have private stalls with toilets and sinks but not urinals, and may also have a shared area with a sink and mirror. These facilities provide a safe and inclusive space for people who may not feel comfortable using gendered ones, such as transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals. Such facilities can also be beneficial for people with disabilities or for those who need to assist someone of a different gender. A sign with a universal symbol or the words All-Gender Restroom or Gender-Inclusive Restroom identifies these restrooms.

Feeling Comfortable In

People are looking for more versatile and comfortable clothing options anyone can wear. But many are becoming more accepting of gender fluidity as well. Unisex clothing is a popular trend, often characterized by its simplistic and neutral designs. This type of apparel should accommodate every gender and is free of gendered cuts, styles, and embellishments. Anyone can wear it as it is available in a wide range of sizes. The flexible tailoring of unisex clothing flatters most body types.

Brands often market this type of clothing as gender-neutral or non-binary and sell it in average stores. Unisex apparel is suitable for people who do not conform to traditional gender norms. Also, it can be a good option for those who want to avoid the social expectations and stereotypes often associated with gendered clothing.

Scents Beyond Gender

Unisex perfumes, also known as gender-neutral perfumes, are fragrances suitable for people of any gender. They blend masculine and feminine notes to appeal to a wide range of people. Unlike traditional perfumes for men or women, unisex perfumes do not associate with a specific gender. They often make unisex perfumes with mixtures of scents, such as woody, spicy, floral, and fruity, considered neutral or androgynous. Some popular unisex perfume ingredients include lavender, vanilla, musk, and sandalwood, which appeal to many preferences.

Calvin Klein launched the first unisex fragrance in the 90s, stirring up the perfume industry. CK One was the first cosmetic product marketed as unisex for young customers with gender gravity. It was—and still is—for everyone. Some well-known brands that are famous for their unisex perfumes are Le Labo, Jo Malone, Byredo, and Comme des Garçons. Anyone can wear these scents, including people looking for a fragrance that they can wear on different occasions and that can adapt to their style and mood.

Regarding Names As Labels, Not Personality Traits

Gender-neutral names are names given to a child without regard to his or that child’s gender. Usually, they do not associate with a particular gender and can suit both boys and girls. They can be traditional names for either gender throughout history or recently emerging as gender-neutral names. Other gender-neutral names are those traditionally used for men but are now used for women too. Or names not tied to a specific gender across cultures.

It is worth mentioning that some names that may be considered gender-neutral in one culture or language may not be neutral in another culture or language. The name is ultimately just a label, and the individual can determine their gender identity regardless of it. Gender-neutral names are becoming increasingly popular as people recognize that gender boundaries are breaking. We are also seeing this trend in fashion and accessories as more gender-neutral options become available.

Minding Our Language

The goal of using gender-neutral language is to be inclusive and respectful of all people, regardless of their gender identity. Here are a few examples of how to use gender-neutral language:

Instead of using he or she when referring to someone, use they or their as a singular pronoun

Instead of using an actress or actor, use a performer or artist

Instead of using a man or woman to refer to a profession, use a person or individual

It’s important to note that language is constantly developing, and gender-neutral language can change over the time. Yet, some people may prefer to use gender-specific language to refer to themselves, and others should respect their preferences. Also, some languages have gendered grammar, and it may not be possible to use gender-neutral language.

Using a gender-neutral attitude can be a crucial step towards a more inclusive and respectful society for people of all genders. We should be respectful and open to learning and making changes when necessary. However, this is a contentious issue, with supporters and opponents having strong views on the matter. Supporters argue that using gender-specific attitudes reinforces sexist biases. Opponents point out that attempts to alter the language, for example, could be seen as an attack on the language itself. Ultimately, it matters to recognize and respect biological and social factors and to find a balance between the two perspectives.

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