Most of us probably know David Bowie for his music, fashion statements, and flamboyant appearance. There is no doubt that he was a one of a kind artist who elevated his music to a true art form. Apart from that, he was also a born activist. His first television interview was held by the BBC in 1964, about the society he founded called “The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men.”
Nowadays, that sounds a bit funny doesn’t it. But in those days, it wasn’t as normal for men to choose to wear long hair. David Bowie can be considered an icon who stood up against labeling personalities. By bringing the right of men to wear long hair to the attention of the public, he stood up for equality and the right to be yourself. Whether or not intentional, he shows the true meaning of feminism. Being equal as individual person’s without being measured by labels.
We all know how David Jones later became David Bowie. The man with many appearances. The Dutch television called him a reversed chameleon. Someone who always stood out from his surroundings. He wasn’t afraid to show the world his individuality and didn’t back away from adding in a little controversy and kicking some stereotypes.
Just like with other forms of art, Bowie used his appearance to confront people. To shock them even. It’s not seldom that the extremities used in art get people to think. It’s the extremities that eventually create acceptance for the not so strange, but maybe not so well-known things in life. He was an infamous gender-bender who inspired people to question their ideas about gender roles, sexuality, and stereotypes. Dare I say, he paved the way for other well-known gender-benders such as Annie Lennox, Boy George, Prince and Lady Gaga.
He inspired people to live by their own tunes, by being a role model on self-empowerment and by showing the world that being yourself can go hand in hand with being successful. He proved that being ‘odd’ is a quality worth having.
“I suppose for me as an artist it wasn’t always just about expressing my work; I really wanted, more than anything else, to contribute in some way to the culture I was living in.” – David Bowie, GQ, 2002