The recent controversy surrounding the censorship of Andrej Pejic’s cover on Dossier Journal’s May 2011 edition (Figure A) revolves around the issue of androgyny in America. The surrounding ideas regarding the American censorship of an androgynous male model explore the discomfort around gender bending and reflect on the American gender dichotomy. This essay will explore the ways in which Serbian male model Andrej Pejic and Dossier Journal challenge the American “normative” representations of gender and sexuality while feeding off of racial norms on the Dossier May cover; this challenge has resulted in the covers censorship in the American market.
Featured on Dossier Journal’s May 2011 cover is Andrej Pejic a self identified androgynous male model. Andrej Pejic defies the normative gender roles that hold dominance in America through his androgynous appearance on the Brooklyn based journal cover.
In Pejic’s cover, gender is presented in a nontraditional way for male models in America. A good majority of male cover models scarcely have hair past their ears; on the Dossier cover Pejic’s long blond hair is rolled up in curls. The appearance and length of his hair is reminiscent of Ingrid Banks’ article “Hair Still Matters.” In her work Banks discusses the ways in which hair is important for defining the femininity of black women. While Pejic is a European male his blonde glossy hair embodies the ideal hair Banks describes as the long, flowing locks of white women. As discussed in various lectures from Laury Oaks’ Feminist Studies 20 course hair often plays a large role in gender determination. Dossier and Pejic challenge male gender norms by having an androgynous cover model with lengthy, hegemonically beautiful hair.
Gender is also represented in a non-traditional way through various other modes in this cover. Pejic’s eyelids and brows also have visible shading; Also the male model’s eyebrows follow a style that is generally associated with women.
The most ambiguous display of gender in this shot is Pejic’s body. Important identifiers for most males on American magazine covers are their bodies; mainly their muscles or all over masculine silhouette. Pejic’s thin frame is vastly different compared to other recent male cover models (see attached.)
The traditionally celebrated male body is the hegemonic masculine frame; the ideal is a broad shouldered well muscled man much like the attached recent cover models. Pejic on the other hand has a slim waist, thin arms, and prominently displays the slopping curve of his neck and shoulders.
A noticeable difference in Pejic’s body is the lack of definition in his abdominal and pectoral areas. Where a majority of the male cover models have prominent abdominals Pejic has a soft stomach. Where there are bulging pectorals on the hegemonic male models Pejic has a nearly flat chest which could pass for very small breasts. Pejic’s body rests in an in-between area that leaves the viewer in a moment of...