Alrighty, I’ve been lazy and haven’t posted this past week. I was preparing for Doomsday. But, alas, nearly the entire world made it through the day. So prepare for a quarter-sized hailstorm of posts.
For Doomsday my friends and I went to a small rinky-dink, cash-only bar. The local gay bar closed recently, creating a surprisingly beautiful blend of really white drunken country-singers and some really fun, amazingly good-singing gay men and women. Needless to say, the whole bar was treated to jello shots by the end of the night.
The world did not respond to happily to the recent Dossier cover featuring a shirtless, Serbian androgynous model named Andrej Pejic.
As Adam Polaski from The Good Men Project points out, what’s the big deal? “After all, men appear shirtless all the time on Men’s Health, Esquire, and Men’s Fitness:”
Barnes & Noble and Borders have told Dossier representatives that they wouldn’t shelve the magazine unless all copies were covered with opaque poly bags—the kind typically reserved for Playboy or Maxim. According to Skye Parrott, the co-founder of Dossier, both stores acknowledged that they understood the model, Andrej Pejic, is male. But representatives asserted that the femininity inherent in the image was too confusing to risk putting on the magazine shelf.
Let’s explore this “risk.”
Most everyone fun loves drag. Get a guy with a cute face and some pizzazz and put him in a dress and you’ve got some great Saturday night entertainment. Have that same guy want to wear a dress to work and that’s no longer drag – that guy’s trans and therefore “weird” and to some even “profane.”
Women, obviously, have much more flexibility in wearing men’s clothes, as I can go to work in flats, suits, boxer briefs, and cut my hair short. But can men wear heels or skirts? Not really. Over the past decade, America has barely come to terms with men wearing pink.
But in the case of Pejic, it’s his body that both engages and frightens people. Despite the massive gains we’ve made in moving towards gender equality over the past half-century, the controversy surrounding the issue reveals a nation of gender squareness.
Polaski includes a quote from Jon-Jon Goulian, author of a memoir about his own skirt-wearing, who provides some interesting context about our country’s obsession with labels:
One thing I’ve learned over the course of 24 years of behaving and dressing androgynously is that people hat e to be confronted with indeterminacy. The uncategorizable is unsettling. If I were a man in drag, people would know exactly what I am, or at least they would believe they know exactly what I am, and have fewer problems with me: “Oh, yes yes yes, that man is definitely gay, and he has a very strong identification with women, he probably thinks he is a woman, and that’s why he dresses like one, and a sex change is probably in the offing, in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if his [own] special vagina is being made to order as we speak.”
But gender and sexuality, race, religion, and politics…aren’t so easily definable, despite our continual efforts to turn all of us rainbows into squares.