Portraying a shirtless image of male model Andrej Pejic, the latest Dossier magazine cover will be censored in America. It is not that a shirtless male which is causing the controversy, but that the Australian model is androgynous, identifying with both masculine and feminine aesthetics. As Aerosmith would eloquently say, dude looks like a lady.
In the black and white gender-bending cover shot in question, Pejic is wearing his peroxide hair in pin curls, shirt unbuttoned. This begs the question: did major US retailers Borders and Barnes & Noble seriously mistake this flat-chested teenage boy for a woman or is the ‘inappropriateness’ around the image based in the fact that he is transgender? Dossier’s Editor-In-Chief, Katherine Krause, says she has notified both bookstores of Pejic’s gender however they confirmed they will carry-on with the censorship. The retailers have also ordered Dossier to pay for the black poly bags used to censor the covers on the newsstands:
Considering the abundance of shirtless men on body building and health magazine covers (which is coincidentally leading to a worldwide baby oil shortage), it can be assumed that if Pejic’s appearance fell into this category of overt masculinity the Dossier cover would not be controversial. If Pejic was female, this image would be beautiful or sexy. Because he is androgynous, this image has been framed by Borders and Barnes & Noble as taboo, an object of fetish. Absurd.
Words by Ingrid Kesa