“Eyebrow Slits Meaning LGBTQ+” – Substance or Stereotype?

Eyebrow Slits Meaning LGBTQ+ - Title Image

Many fashion trends have resurfaced after fading away into oblivion for a long time. One such trend that originated in the 1980s, gained popularity through the 1990s, and became obsolete at the turn of the millennium is the Eyebrow Slit. This trend was identified with fashion models and hip-hop artists back in the 1990s. 

Eyebrow slits fell out of favor for more than a decade before they reemerged in 2010. Since then, it has developed into an immensely popular symbol of the fearless expression of unconventional gender identities. Eyebrow slits are commonly worn by people from the LGBTQ+ community, which has led to this ‘Eyebrow slits meaning LGBTQ+perception. 

However, the issue with this belief is that it is based on certain assumptions that may not hold true every time. Therefore, while this may be true on several occasions, on others, it may be another stereotype that has developed around the LGBTQ+ community. Let us examine the issue.

What is an Eyebrow Slit?

An eyebrow slit is a diagonal or vertical slit made into one or both eyebrows by shaving off a thin portion of hair. It is also known as an eyebrow cut. There are multiple styles of wearing the eyebrow slit, which include single, double, or multiple slits on one or both eyebrows, pairing the eyebrow cuts with slits on head hair, and so on.

Shaving cuts in one’s eyebrows and rocking the look requires more courage than you may imagine. It rings alarm bells in the minds of parents when their teenage children express a desire to get an eyebrow slit. Many people see it as taboo. The eyebrow slit is perceived as uber-trendy and a symbol of rebelliousness, which appeals to the youth. It is little wonder that youngsters have been using it as a way of expressing themselves.

How did Eyebrow Slit become a fashion trend?

Fashion has a way of evolving serendipitously. People who had cuts or injuries on their eyebrows lost a thin line of hair from the spot, creating a slit that looked interesting. 

Sometime in the 1980s and 1990s, models and hip-hop artists started wearing eyebrow slits, giving birth to a new fashion trend.

At first, the cut was designed to look organic, as if it had been formed by a sharp object.

Slowly, people started experimenting with the cuts and came up with many variations, including multiple slits and patterns like hearts, etc.

The credit for reviving the eyebrow slit goes to the youth, who usher in most fashion trends with their insatiable appetite for experimenting with their appearance to set themselves apart from the crowd.

Many people from pop culture have rocked the eyebrow slit look, including Big Daddy Kane, Vanilla Ice, Jason Momoa, David Beckham, Nick Kyrgios, Cristiano Ronaldo, Charlie Puth, and Tom Hardy.

Charlie Puth
LG전자, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Is it always a deliberate fashion statement?

Not really. Eyebrow slits are not always a deliberate fashion style. In fact, it may also be caused by the following:

Loss of hair in the eyebrow may result from an injury that leaves the hair tissues scarred, on which there is no hair growth. The most famous example is Jason Momoa, whose face got slashed with broken glass in a freak attack inside a club in California, which left a permanent scar that formed a perfect eyebrow slit naturally.

Jason Momoa
Paula  R. Lively from Zanesville, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

A bald streak on the eyebrow may also be caused by eyebrow piercing. A piercing gone wrong or a particular type of jewelry worn on the eyebrow for a long time can damage the hair follicles and result in a cut in the eyebrow.

Reasons for wearing Eyebrow Slits

Style Statement

People primarily wear eyebrow slits as a trendy thing to look rugged and even intimidating at times. In other words, it is an attempt to give a unique accent to your personality.

When done right, the eyebrow cut indeed accentuates your personality and makes you look much more interesting. The style has become a part of pop culture.

Expression of distinctive gender identities

Many people utilize the eyebrow slit style to express their gender neutrality or their lack of gender. Its popularity as an instrument of gender expression can be attributed to its subtlety.

Fashion trends such as eyebrow cuts give people of diverse gender identities a tool to express themselves without being too overt. It adequately highlights their individuality and also makes them look and feel more confident about their identity.

People have divulged through videos uploaded on social media platforms that they intend to use the eyebrow slit to proclaim their sexual orientation to the world.

Affiliation with a Gang or a Clique

Young Woman using Eyebrow Slit for Gang Affiliation
Made with Canva

Secret societies and gangs are known to invent ingenious identification methods for their members. With its myriad variations, the eyebrow slit is said to be a popular identification method for gang members. The slit is so designed to make the identity obvious only to the members of the clique.


Oftentimes, some people may wear an eyebrow slit as a provocation to attract the attention of potential partners. The problem is that the person or people it is intended for may not see the kinkiness in this visual identifier as such. Therefore, barring a few exceptions, you will appreciate that the provocation is successful only in the mind of the person employing an eyebrow slit for the purpose.

Expressing solidarity with a cause

People may even use the rainbow slit trend to express solidarity with a cause. It can be done individually or even as a group of like-minded people who are working together for a cause. It is quite similar to wearing accessories, such as armbands and ribbons, by football teams or supporters of a political party to express solidarity with a movement.

Peer Pressure

Young people often feel compelled to embrace certain fashion trends due to peer pressure. Eyebrow slits are one of the many such trends that they adopt with a desire to feel accepted and valued in their social groups.

Eyebrow Slits Meaning

An eyebrow slit doesn’t necessarily mean that the wearer belongs to the LGBTQ+ community. It can have several possible meanings, including a style statement, affiliation to a gang, expression of a particular gender or sexual identity, an injury, etc., as discussed in the previous section.

From the above, it can be seen that there are two primary uses of eyebrow slits: as a means of non-verbal communication and as a fashion trend. But if you think more deeply, you would agree that fashion is also a means of communication.

Therefore, it can be deduced that the eyebrow slit is an ingenious way of communication used by people from all sorts of backgrounds, identities, and affiliations.

How did the ‘Eyebrow Slits meaning LGBTQ+’ perception come about?

LGBTQ+ have been a historically marginalized community and continue to remain so to a great extent. Though many people from the LGBTQ+ community have achieved great success individually, the community as a whole has been prevented from partaking in mainstream political, socio-cultural, and economic activities.

The pain and resentment of each individual in the community caused by the denial of equal rights have manifested themselves in the form of an incessant, collective rebellious spirit.

Eyebrow slit as a fashion style also has an underlying rebellious connotation to it, which appeals to those who are up against any kind of persecution.

It can be inferred that because of its likeness with the community itself, the eyebrow slit has become such a popular fashion trend with LGBTQ+ people and led to the ‘eyebrow slits meaning LGBTQ+’ perception.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community adopted the eyebrow-slit fashion early. They have employed the eyebrow slit as one of the many visual signs to assert their identity.

The LGBTQ+ community has successfully transformed fashion into a symbol of unflinching determination and rebellion against its marginalization.

Some people think that the eyebrow slit is used as a symbol by people from the LGBTQ+ community who have not yet come out in the open about their sexuality due to the non-conducive environment and the threat of persecution and harassment.

In such circumstances, symbols like the eyebrow slit are indeed useful for LGBTQ+ people to communicate with fellow members without being conspicuous to others.

It would also explain the multitude of variations of the eyebrow slit that keep coming up, which could possibly represent one identity or another.

Another view is that the eyebrow slit is more attributable to the sapphic community than any other sub-communities within the LGBTQ+ fold, as if wearing the eyebrow slit were akin to waving a lesbian pride flag or a butch lesbian flag. Let us try to examine the reason behind this intriguing premise.

The eyebrow slit as a fashion trend has been relatively more popular with men, and most of the imagery associated with the trend consists of male artists and models. So, when a woman chooses to wear it, the pre-programmed minds of people trick them into presuming that something must be amiss. The most convenient explanation that appeals to them is that the woman must be lesbian. 

Many women have shared their experience of being asked if they were lesbians because they were wearing an eyebrow slit. Obviously, it has a lot to do with the views floating around in our societies that have a bad and contagious habit of jumping to conclusions.

Interestingly, for the very same reason, lesbians may have started sporting eyebrow slits as an ingenious way of getting recognized as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Therefore, it becomes a cycle that feeds itself.

In this manner, society, with its ever-archaic methods, has come to associate eyebrow slits exclusively with LGBTQ+ people. Stereotypes of this kind have become so common and obvious that their natural demise seems imminent.

Is it cultural appropriation of the Eyebrow Slit by the LGBTQ+ Community?

All this discussion above leads us to a natural question: whether there has been an attempt at cultural appropriation of the eyebrow slit by the LGBTQ+ community. This view is also misplaced and baseless.

The origin of the eyebrow cut or eyebrow slit is said to have been from the hip-hop scene and fashion industry. But many such trends originate from pop culture.

Artists and models take pride in having contributed to the acceptance of a fashion trend by the public at large. So, when the originators of a trend are happy with the popular spread of the trend, where does the appropriate argument come from?

Also, artists do not belong to one particular community or culture. Artists belong to all their fans and followers, regardless of their race, culture, religion, or gender identity.

Further, by definition, cultural appropriation is the unacknowledged adoption of the customs of a subculture, typically by a more dominant culture. In the instant case, would those accusing the LGBTQ+ community of cultural appropriation accept the latter as the more dominant culture? Therefore, the cultural appropriation argument falls apart.

Pros and Cons of Wearing Eyebrow Slits

If you are considering getting your eyebrow(s) slit, you must be fully aware of its advantages and disadvantages before taking the plunge.

Pros of Wearing Eyebrow Slit

The biggest advantage of the eyebrow slit style is its supremely chic vibe, which will certainly draw attention from people, even in a crowd. The eyebrow cut is not an ordinary fashion trend that every other person on the street would be wearing. It is not a run-of-the-mill style.

Eyebrow slits are temporary, unlike other bold fashion styles, such as tattoos, piercings, etc., which make a permanent impression on your body and are quite difficult to reverse. The hair on the slit area will grow back in 2-3 weeks, and you will get back to your original look.

Eyebrow slits are a very convenient and easy way of expressing one’s gender identity to others without much effort. The LGBTQ+ community has been practically making use of this fashion trend for this purpose.

It is pretty simple to make eyebrow slits and does not require any special equipment or expertise. An ordinary electric trimmer or a razor and a pair of nifty hands should be good enough to get the look. Though an eyebrow cut is a DIY thing, you may visit a salon if you do not feel confident enough to do it yourself or if you wish to pair it with a hairstyle that complements the eyebrow slit.

One can easily fill and fix the eyebrow cut using eyebrow pencils, mascara, etc. in case they feel that it is not working for them. It is also helpful if you are required to be in a formal setting where the eyebrow slit may be seen as disrespectful or offensive.

The eyebrow slit becomes even more desirable as it is a very low-cost and low-maintenance fashion style. In fact, it is practically a zero-cost fashion trend unless you want to go for a specific shape or patterned cut.

The eyebrow slit comes in so many variations that you will be spoilt for choices. You can select the one that suits you the best based on the purpose for which you are planning to get the style.

Cons of Wearing Eyebrow Slit

Though it is just a cut on your eyebrow and easy to create, an eyebrow slit requires a deep sense of aesthetics to make sure that the look suits your face and overall look. Beside the fact that the cut(s) themselves need to be absolutely sharp, the angle, shape, thickness, and number of cuts must be determined, which demands a certain level of artistic expertise, which is rare.

Eyebrow slits are not considered appropriate in certain professions. For instance, if you are a lawyer, it may have a negative impact on your career.

The biggest drawback of having an eyebrow slit is that it may invite unwarranted attention from people, as it is perceived by many as LGBTQ+ fashion. In extreme cases, it may even lead to bullying, depending on the cultural and social setting.

Because gangs may utilize eyebrow cuts as a means of identification, people who casually wear the look run the risk of being mistaken for members of a rival gang.

Eyebrows, being a very sensitive part of our body and very close to the eyes, require more than ordinary care when you are styling them with sharp equipment, such as electric trimmers, razors, etc. So, you need to be careful even when you are getting the eyebrow slit done in a salon.


From the detailed discussion of the issue, it should be evident that eyebrow slits can carry different meanings to different people depending on their age, profession, perception, socio-cultural setting, and so on.

While some people use eyebrow cuts purely as a style statement to enhance their appearance, many others use them to express their individuality, identity, and affiliations. So, it can be an individual style or a group thing.

Those who make categorical statements like, “If you see a woman with her eyebrow(s) slit, she is a lesbian for sure,” are simply wrong and misleading. 

Nevertheless, the eyebrow slit is immensely popular within the LGBTQ+ community, and they carry it with aplomb.

Let them continue their debate about the cultural appropriation of eyebrow slits by the LGBTQ+ while you enjoy the style and make the most of it.

The sane view remains that the use of eyebrow slits as a fashion trend is definitely not confined to one particular community. So, the “eyebrow slits meaning LGBTQ+” expression turns out to be a false maxim.

Fashion is for anyone who can effortlessly carry it.

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