Adam Lambert delighted (and shocked) millions of fans in season nine of American Idol when he sang earth-shattering high notes while wearing tight leather pants and glittery "guyliner." His debut album For Your Entertainment features a very androgynous looking Lambert on the cover and tracks in which he moves fluidly across the spectrum from the sexually commanding adrenaline rush of "Fever" to the tender and expressive "Whatya Want From Me."
For many glam rock fans and bohemian artists, androgyny is the sine qua non of creativity. Think Annie Lennox from the hit, '80s glam rock band the Eurythmics, or "Ziggy Stardust," David Bowie's androgynous alter ego, or Andy Warhol, who would often show up at parties dressed in drag and even commissioned an entire exhibit displaying his androgyny. Don't forget Prince, Michael Jackson, and even Marilyn Manson. But why is there such an intimate tie between androgyny and artistic expression? Does defying conventional gender norms confer benefits to the creative process?
There has been no shortage of speculation on the answer. Freud argued that creative people possess greater cross-sex identification than others, citing Leonardo da Vinci. In A Room of One's Own, Virginia Woolf muses that to be a successful writer, "Some collaboration has to take place in the mind between the woman and the man before the art of creation can be accomplished. Some marriage of opposites has to be consummated."