Imagery via Richard Avedon



In these times when skirts, dresses, skincare and cosmetic products for men are on popular demand, it is hard to forget one of the legendary icons that paved the way for this revolution!

Without a doubt, one of the most vocal issues today is the breaking of gender norms and the fact that not only women, but also men, can freely express themselves in the world of fashion and style. The legendary rock artist Prince – born in 1958, known for his success in his career and for expressing himself without the fear of going beyond the boundaries, didn’t let obstacles and criticism he faced in his career and his life stop him, he dropped one of the most successful songs and albums of rock music and went down in history. Prince has produced experimental and innovative pieces using not only rock, but also many genres such as R&B, Latin, Soul, Synth-pop and jazz. Although the album Dirty Mind, which he released in the early 80s, did not get the hype it deserved in time due to the sexual elements it contained, it was declared by critics to be one of the best albums of all time in the following years.

As can be seen from the lyrics he wrote, Prince was never afraid to experience and give voice to his sexuality and feelings, perhaps because he grew up in an artist family. Unfortunately, even during this period, when sex, drugs and Rock and Roll began to peak, critics did not understand Prince, and did not hesitate to attack him about his appearance and sexual preferences.

Ironically, Prince never made a public statement about his sexual preferences, which means that critics and writers of the era were much more interested in the high heels, boots, tight-cut clothes and makeup he wore than in Prince’s songs. But if that’s the case, why hasn’t KISS, who performed concerts in 6-inch platform boots and black and white face paint, been the target of such criticism? Or the members of Twisted Sister who came on stage disguised as women?

Imagery via Music Box Films

The only difference here is that KISS and Twisted Sister use these feminine elements as a form of comedy and ‘performance’; on the other hand, Prince used them to express his inner world and sensuality.

In 1993, he went on to end the controversy by changing his stage name to the “Love Symbol”, which is actually a mixture of male (♂) and female (♀) symbols. Because for him, love and lust were far more than just two separate gender. As reflected in the 1984 film Purple Rain, he wanted to be understood by his songs and music, and no matter how much criticism he was subjected to, he didn’t let it stop him from expressing himself. As a result, the song Purple Rain has been engraved as an irreplaceable classic all over the world.

Prince and legends like him paved the way for this, and none of their efforts and dedication were in vain because nowadays freedom of opinion and expression is more important than anything else. Every individual, regardless of their gender, enjoys the pleasure of dressing up and expressing themselves as they wish and feel. We can see very clearly that Harry Styles, the trailblazer of gender-fluidity, was personally influenced by Prince and took him as an example and showed how much he respected him with the song Sign of the Times -holding the same name as one of Prince’s best-selling albums – he released in 2017. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to call him present-day Prince because he reflects Prince’s ideology and character so well. Thank Prince for Mr. Styles!