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Saturday, April 02, 2011

Oh, Gender

When I first saw this spread featuring Andrej Pejic, I bugged out. YES! A man redefining androgyny and showing a blurred gender line as attractive, fashionable and unbelievably hot. WAHOO - who needs gender to relate to sexuality? But then I thought about it some more. Yes, Pejic's appearance and booming popularity in the international fashion scene is an excellent step forward for accepting that sexualities should not be pigeonholed into two camps - I'm pretty certain that some of both men and women of both hetero and homosexualities will find him attractive. However, the method in which his androgyny is projected is no different to the androgyny we have previously experienced in fashion. Androgyny in fashion seems to me to not be about removing the gender from sexuality, but from very much sexualising the female body in a way that is politically and socially acceptable for today's market. It's fine for a model to be basically topless and available for a sexual gaze within 'androgynous' fashion - because she doesn't look stereotypically feminine.

Pejic's spread is hot, don't get me wrong, I think it's beautiful, but what's different here? He's being hailed as the wunderkind of gender indeterminacy and beauty outside of gender confines, but to me, nothing has changed. He's being photographed, dressed and sexualised in exactly the same way that his female contemporaries are - as a woman, but because he is a man this is seen as a step forward. If anything, its telling us that it's OK for a man to be sexualised like this, so long as we think he's a woman, rather than fashion being hunkydory with the idea of a male masculinity available for the female sexual gaze. So, full circle, sexualised masculinity? nothanks. Sexualised femininity? hellyeah - but lets be careful and get a feminine man to do it.

Maybe I'm just reading too much into this... But I think it's something that needs to be thought about. Fashion far too often portrays itself as forward thinking and promoting equality all the while acting through prejudicial lines. The "ethnic" model problem, 'thin' vs 'fat', 'ugly' vs 'pretty'.

Anyhow, even if you don't agree with me, enjoy the pretty pictures from 'Viva Moda' shot by Marcin Tyszka, and daydream about Pejic whisking you off to a land where you can have a beautiful relationship and share clothes.


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