This month’s posterboy has been bending gender rules all over fashion since his break at the menswear Paris Fashion Week in June last year, but recent scrapes with the media, including the Dossier Magazine controversy, make him a hero in our eyes. Landing runway spots for Jean Paul Gaultier, Raf Simons, John Galliano and Paul Smith, he this year starred in womenswear shows as well as the boys’ version thanks to his size zero frame, high cheekbones and full lips. 2011 also saw Andrej Pejic being voted 98th Sexiest Woman in the World by readers of lad’s mag FHM, yet backlash against him from the magazine itself opened a Pandora’s box of complex and damaging attitudes . In an article withdrawing Pejic from the list, FHM made out that he had somehow maliciously decieved voters, and scoffed at his dreams to walk for Victoria’s Secret: “pass the sick bucket”. The article was spiteful and barbaric. Not only deeply intolerant of the transgender identity and a gross insult to Pejic himself, it denies (rather hysterically) the possibility that male readers would fancy Pejic knowing he was a man. Luckily, FHM had clearly fucked up and the article was swiftly wiped from the website; find a print-screen below.
Most worryingly, it shows just how much male sexuality of the testosterone and tits-gawking variety is in fact media-controlled. Only in instances like this, when the cracks show, do we ask ourselves how homophobic and misogynist are real men versus the blueprint set out for them by tacky magazines such as these? Heterosexual men deserve better representation than the press give them as it’s the lad’s mag culture that validates sexist and homophobic behaviour. Andrej Pejic is beautiful and shows there isn’t one mould of how to live your life; he doesn’t just play with androgyny like our icons Agyness Deyn or Freja Beha Erichsen, he almost escapes definition altogether, inhabiting a space between man and woman. The Serbian Australian was not even sure his agent knew he was a dude when he was spotted at 17 while working in McDonald’s as he had been playing with his gender identity from the age of fourteen. Yet clearly, this kind of gender0guessing beauty should be celebrated, along with the sheer balls it takes to resist mainstream stereotyping. As, apparently, he tweeted on the announcement, “only 98?”.