Clutch your pearls, ladies! It's time to talk about a nekkid torso on the cover of a magazine that's right out where little children can see it! Dossier magazine chose model Andrej Pejic for the cover of its latest issue, prompting Barnes & Noble and Borders both to demand the magazine cover it up with an opaque plastic.
Phewww. At least SOMEONE is thinking of the children. But wait, isn't Andrej a man's name? Why, yes, yes it is. And wouldn't you know it ... Andrej IS a man, just not the kind that bookstore executives are comfortable with. Turns out their decision to censor the magazine is sexism masquerading as a save the children campaign.
Proof of that won't be found on the Dossier cover that's prompted this sturm and drang but on the shelves at the bookstores. The fact that the slightly built Pejic is wearing curlers in his hair and doesn't sport a six-pack is really the only thing setting him apart from the typical cover model on a Men's Health magazine, typically seen on the shelves at the local Barnes and Noble and Borders both. So what, then, is the problem?
The message coming out of the stores is that "the model is young and it could be deemed as a naked female." But this isn't about the store-goers at all. Shoppers and parents need only take a second look to realize it isn't a woman -- in particular, there are no breasts on display. I'm a mother; if that's the hardest question my 5-year-old poses all day, I'll do a jig in the streets. "The children" is a non-issue.
The issue is that Pejic is not the bookstore exec's idea of a man. He's not a beefcake, touting six quick ways to get fit. He's not Robert Pattinson with a 5 o'clock shadow, that bit of scruff sullying an otherwise flawless face. Of course, neither is the average American shopper (they have heard about this obesity epidemic, haven't they?), but if the Photoshopping scandals of recent years have taught us anything, magazines aren't about shoppers. They're about ideals.
Pejic's androgyny is not the bookstore executives' ideal, so they're casting about for a scapegoat for their discomfort. In this case, it's the children, the little ones who may be confused by a thin man with curlers in his hair in place of the standard stud. In this, they fail the children most of all. Next to libraries, next to the Internet, bookstores are supposed to open the doors to information for Americans, to be the place where preconceived notions don't matter, where even our kids can begin an adventure into an open mind.
Do you support the bookstores' decision here or are you on Dossier's side?
Image via Dossier