Before your outrage commences, calm down:
This is not a woman.
This is a man in curlers.
It is Andrej Pejic, to be more precise -- an androgynous model who looks and often dresses like a woman, but has all the, ahem, necessary parts of a man.
Andrej is quite the fashion darling these days, walking down runways and turning up on magazine covers -- and obviously, the intent of this particular magazine cover was to shock.
But that's a woman! you're supposed to think to yourself. Or ... is it?!
Yeah. I get it.
But how am I supposed to explain this cover to my kids?
And why should I have to?
When this magazine was released a couple of weeks ago, some bookstores and newsstands apparently asked for the magazines to be bagged so that the general public could not see the cover.
According to the Huffington Post:
We spoke with Dossier Co-Founder and Creative Director Skye Parrott who explained that the bookstores asked for all copies of the magazine to be placed in "opaque poly bags because even though they knew Andrej was a man, he looked too much like a woman, basically," a move that she suspects will limit sales, but that's not really the issue here."
The tone of the HuffPo post, as well as another on Elle.com titled "Some Bookstores Are Censoring Shirtless Men Now," was that some Americans are still so narrow-minded that they find this man-who-just-happens-to-look-exactly-like-a-woman offensive. HOW DARE THEY.
But I would argue that they're missing the real point here.
I would appreciate if this kind of magazine cover were not visible in places where kids might see it, simply because this particular cover is incredibly difficult to explain to a child, no matter what you think about Andrej Pejic and whether he should be dressing like a she.
I'm having a hard enough time already trying to explain to my 7-year-old daughter why she needs to keep her chest covered in public, even though her brother doesn't have to. If she were to see this magazine cover, I'd have to answer a hundred more questions, and I don't think she'd even understand my answers -- because it goes WAY deeper than "That's actually a man. He just looks like a woman."
We'd have to get into the meaning of transgender and transsexual, which is fine, but then we'd have to get into why magazine editors shoot provocative covers like this one, clearly designed to elicit a strong reaction and then act offended and eye-rolly when there's a strong reaction. And we'd also have to talk about whether it's exploitative that a man who happens to look like a woman is continually photographed baring his chest. And I'm sure she'd come up with a half-dozen other issues and questions about this photo, like where is his chest hair? And what are moobs? And, and, and ...?
And um. COULD YOU JUST COVER UP THE MAGAZINE, PLEASE? My kid is 7. I'd like to stick with conversations about whether Pluto is a planet right now, if you don't mind, thankyouverymuch.
But that's just me.
Rest assured, beyond the issue of my kids seeing the cover, I couldn't care less if it's shown on newsstands or not. If Andrej Pejic wants to dress as a woman, let him. If people want to photograph it for magazines, fine.
But I'd love to know what you think about the matter. Should this magazine be covered at newsstands? Are booksellers being overly Puritanical just for requesting it?
Image via Dossier