Shirtless male models regularly cover magazines like Men’s Fitness and Flex without criticism but androgynous model Andrej Pejic’s cover for Dossier Journal has come under scrutiny.
The Serbian Australian model is featured on the magazine in an open white shirt baring his chest which would be pretty commonplace except for his feminine bone structure, blonde curls, sultry pout and lithe frame. His features complicate gender identity—which is part of his international appeal—and resultantly, bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Borders are opting to censor the photo.
The companies are asking that the issues be covered in black bags, a censoring procedure retailers use for magazines like Playboy. But is it fair?
Dossier Co-Founder and Creative Director, Skye Parrott doesn’t think so. She told The Huffington Post: “It’s a naked man on the cover of a magazine, which is done all of the time without being covered up, so I definitely don’t think it merits this, but I understand what it is. It’s not a coincidence that it’s only the giant U.S. chain stores that are asking us to do this….It’s only the American copies that are being censored. It seems that it probably made people uncomfortable. But that’s part of what’s interesting about the cover, I think, is that it’s playing with those ideas of gender roles. He’s topless, you can see that he’s a man, but if you look at his face, he looks like a woman and he’s so beautiful, he’s both in that picture, in a way. I think that’s what’s interesting about it.”
What do you think about the cover? Should it be censored since Andrej has feminine features? Is it discrimination to censor Andrej’s shirtless cover but not that of men who look more masculine?