Part of the reason that women were so enamored with the Beatles was their pageboy haircuts. Their longer locks challenged conservative gender norms, and women couldn’t get enough. The gender-bending look was subtle, but it was daring enough to draw the attention of women who were also asserting their independence and looking to upend convention.
It wasn’t just the Beatles embracing androgyny; as the decade progressed, more and more men were choosing gender neutral styles over the standard suit and tie look. David Bowie, another 1960s icon, helped gender neutral clothing gain popularity, and the singer is still remembered for his diverse — and sometimes flamboyant — costumes. Androgynous looks also caught on with women, blurring the line between male and female stereotypes.
“It’s not just the way we look; the whole male-female relationship is confused,” wrote Everett Mattlin in the Chicago Tribune in 1968 (via PBS). “In novels, plays, movies, TV — all, presumably, reflecting life itself — men are weak, fumbling, impotent, while women are strong, decisive, domineering… All is topsy-turvy in a neuter world.”