Recently, both Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores decided to censor the cover of Dossier magazine. The cover featured androgynous male model, Andrej Pejic, posing shirtless and with his hair in curlers and was deemed too risque by the stores. Similar to pornographic magazines, this issue of Dossier was placed in a translucent sleeve making it impossible for customers to know what or who was on the cover.
Skye Parrott, Co-founder and Creative director of Dossier, suspects that this move will decrease sales of the magazine, though there is a greater issue at hand. The issue surrounds questions of gender roles and their impact on image.
“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,” Parrott expressed to HuffPost Style that it’s the cover’s play on gender roles that makes it unique.
This left people the lingering question: is there a double-standard when it comes to public displays of men vs women sexuality? If a broad, masculine male is able to appear bare-chested, why not an androgynous male? According to the Barnes & Nobel and Borders, are concerned that people may confuse Pejic with a woman.
On HuffPost Style’s comment box, readers seemed quite divided by the issue. Some brought up the debate of censorship as a whole in relation to the “porn vs. art” debate. Some also commented on Pejic’s figure, raising questions of anorexia and body image for both males and females. One reader seemed to justify the bookstores’ concern with public confusion by expressing that the cover is disturbing “only because she’s flatter than a board”. Another (hereinmiami) aruged that “there’s nothing scary about people whose gender does not happen to fit into our society’s two narrow definitions”.
This issue can be looked at from a multitude of perspectives: one raises the question of masculinity’s role in society – the action of the bookstores can be interpreted as being unaccepting of an image that goes against the typical rugged and muscular male figure. By censoring the cover, they send the message that there is something about Pejic’s image that people should feel uncomfortable about.
On the flip side, it can also be said that censoring a male’s image is a step towards parallel gender standards. Like on a cover with a female that requires censoring, Pejic being censored could also represent the fact that bookstores are choosing to censor an image that may make people feel unsettled, regardless of the model’s gender.
In my opinion, the actions of the bookstores reflect society’s discomfort with those that go against social norms. Even if the bookstores themselves have no personal issue with an androgynous male on the cover, their reasoning was that they felt that it may make their customers unsettled. This implies that they thought that their customers would be unaccepting of this counter-gendered photo. While I understand their justifications, I hope that people can grow to accept changes such as this in the way genders are viewed. Personally, I’m a huge fan of androgynous models because of their versatility to fit into whatever situation they’re put in; not just one typical role.
What’s your opinion? Are the actions of these bookstores justified? Should they be able to censor a male who may resemble a female? Or are they too caught up with the concept of ‘masculinity’ and gender roles? Leave us a comment!
Image via cocoperez.com
Source: HuffPost Style