The Future Is ‘Female’

If “The Future Is Female,” as those ubiquitous T-shirts tell us, director Spike Jonze, in his visionary ad for Kenzo perfume, suggests that what “female” is is #TBD (to be determined).

The Kenzo ad starts out at an awards banquet, as a conventionally beautiful young woman is in the audience listening to her husband receive an award. We hear him mention her briefly in his requisite thank you speech and watch her expression go from uncomfortable to alienated to “I’m outta here.”

As she walks out of the ceremony and into the empty hotel space, tears in her eyes, her body and face begin to contort into strange and wild expressions. She jerks to and fro, dances by the hotel mirror like a wild animal, leaps, convulses, and generally seems to be turning into another being altogether, as if escaping from her corporeal shell — and the shell of conventional femininity.

In these past couple gender revolution years, we’ve seen so many instances of what we call Blurred ID, the deconstruction or shattering of gender and sexuality boundaries that force us into constricting roles and morphologies.

As the genderqueer revolution continues, and the possibility of a first woman president of the United States looms — the Kenzo perfume ad could be seen as the questioning of what “female” will look like unbound to biology, history, or a woman’s conventional role as wife. The answer: Joyous, dangerous, and unpredictable. Brands, take note: Fierce and powerful is the new beautiful.