Like so many others, I’m a bit baffled by Andrej Pejic. The twenty-year old male model was ranked 98th in FHM’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World 2011”. This week he has made headlines as the chest for a push-up bra advertising campaign in the Netherlands.
See, I obviously detest the fashion industry shaping norms of female beauty that are unattainable for the vast majority of women and so have created an epidemic of self-loathing. I’m definitely furious with H&M for their computer generated models. Or model, rather, since they seem to have just replicated the same body with several different ethnicities. Do the Pejic ads have a similar effect? I mean, I definitely have a girl crush on those arms. However, given the little issues of female bone construction and muscle to fat ratio those arms are definitely unattainable. And I probably shouldn’t feel that I want a dude’s arms in the first place…right?
Or should I? Obviously the other end of this lollipop is that there’s very little I love more than transgression of gender boundaries. When it’s going in the other direction, as with Gaga/Jo Calderone I admire androgyny as a social
statement. I love the androgyny of the female tuxedo, particularly as pioneered by Yves Saint Lauren and Helmut Newton.
Should the rules change when we’re talking about the arguably greater restrictions that gender places upon men’s appearances? Is this a valuable exploration of norms by the fashion industry? Is it art? Is it just a publicity statement? Or is it just, as H&M would say, about showing off the clothes as effectively as possible? And is that okay?
As I say, I’m baffled.