Towleroad reports on how androgynous model Andrej Pejic’s picture on the cover of Dossier magazine was apparently too gender-bending for Barnes & Noble’s sensitive megastore eyes — so much, in fact, that they contacted Dossier telling them they were afraid customers would mistake the model for a topless woman. How to remedy that? They said it required them to put the magazine in opaque poly bags.
Lisa at Sociological Images has a good analysis of how this stems from a history of fearing and censoring female bodies (in this case, Pejic’s potentially-perceived-as-breasts chest) but more importantly notes that, “if a man looks feminine enough, he becomes, by default, obscene.”
And if the actual gender of the owner with that bare chest is questioned? Pshhh, bust out the poly bags! Jezebel notes some remarks that Pejic made earlier this year:
Pejic himself seems very unconcerned by the reactions that his appearance can inspire. “Sometimes I feel like more of a woman, other times I feel male,” he said. “I’m sure most people think of me as a woman. It doesn’t bother me anymore and I feel fine about it…I don’t consider my looks unusual.”
This isn’t just about fear of the female body, but also a fear of and attempt to white-out bodies that defy gender norms.