By Shayna Garcia
Gender norms have been a pivotal role in society and it has always been reinforced on us that there is a way men should dress and a way women should dress. However, those rules are broken once you step into a festival or rave. You see carefully curated outfits perfectly adorned with glitter and meticulously placed jewels.
The festival and rave scene has always been a safe space for people to be different and bending the rules of gender norms have been completely broken and nobody passes judgment. Empowerment through clothing has reached its peak, allowing people to express themselves in a way which they never have before. Alec Evans describes this euphoric feeling saying, "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else or look any other way". For some people, getting ready for a festival is more than just putting an outfit on; it's about having freedom and control over the way you look and feel.
(Image via @ryane820 on Instagram)
This feeling is such a force of empowerment, that it is something you are able to take with you. As Ryan explains it, "I realized a couple of years back that no matter what someone wears, it does not define who they are inside. Being in the festival scene showed me that no matter who you are or what you prefer, you can always be yourself with no judgments."
(Image via @alfredhightower on Instagram, pictured with his boyfriend)
The ability to be able to experience people defying the norm can be incredibly crucial to those who have difficulty breaking out of their shell, who are too afraid to experiment with a certain look or even define what their own look is. This experience is taken beyond the festival setting and incorporated into daily life. Vast limitations exist for people beyond what they wish they could wear. Communities as a whole can work on unbuilding a gender binary. AJ recalls his first EDC and realization regarding clothing options, "Seeing the wild and extravagant costumes people and entertainers wear at my first festival (EDCLV 2018), really opened my options as to what I can wear! Unconventional clothes, revealing or not, helped me realize I didn’t have to follow a cookie cutter method."
The biggest takeaway from festival experiences is confidence, self-love, and being able to project who you are through clothing. Working together to maintain safe spaces and judgment-free environments is part of being able to defy false limitations that were created based on gender. Create your own identity and inspire others.