“Gender-Bender Supernova” Sparking Interesting Questions

by Intern Candice

People love androgyny. Admit it, we love those girls who look just as good in suits as they do in dresses. You know who else loves androgyny? The industry; the fashion industry that is. When we think high fashion, I’m sure we can all expect a lady or two sashaying down the runway in something masculine, but, what about a guy? What happens when a man comes down the runway in the latest gown? The fashion world may be in oohs and ahhs and tears of gender-bending joy, but the average person may feel a little…confused.

Take Andrej Prejic, for example. The 19-year-old Australian model is not only attracting attention in the fashion world, but all over the internets too. Many are doing double takes, women may be wallowing in jealousy, and men are probably questioning their sexuality over this one. In the same year, Andrej has been given the title of “Male Model of the Year” by New York magazine and has been featured on FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World list. Loved by both Jean-Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs (he’s walked for both) and seen in both men’s and women’s clothing on the runways and in photo shoots, Andrej is causing a stir and leaving some thought provoking questions behind him.

“Are you man or woman?” is the question dangling on the tips of confuzzled tongues as people are trying their darnedest to stick him in the “boy” or “girl” category. While Andrej is definitely sporting a pair of XY chromosomes, one of the most interesting things about Andrej, in my opinion, is that he doesn’t really care about being identified as male or female. He describes his look as “gender-bender super nova” and that may be the best way to describe it. Now, if only we lived in a society where we could just leave it at that. The general public seems to be either supportive or disgusted. Even FHM had something to say, calling Andrej a “thing” after he was picked by readers to be on their 100 Sexiest Women list:

“Designers are hailing him as the next big thing. We think ‘thing’ is quite accurate…the gender bender has jumped the gun in hoping he might one day be signed as a Victoria’s Secret Model (pass the sick bucket).”

They later issued an apology. But, even with things like this being said, the expletives being given couldn’t even be counted because there aren’t any. It’s not the first time anyone has seen a man in feminine wear, so why is there such a fuss? Could it have something to do with it is still being uncommon in today’s society? It seems that Andrej is well aware that his gender ambiguity is causing a bit of a ruckus and he doesn’t mind. Andrej is doing Andrej and is successful at it too.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt57ED5-5FU 425×344]

But, probably the burning question here, as bought up by DivineCaroline, is “does it matter“? Should the public be trying to stick someone in a category when they don’t necessarily choose to conform to either/or? And my thoughts-are people more accepting towards female masculinity than they are towards male femininity, and why?

Gender-bending has never been a problem for me to fathom. With people openly identifying as transgender or transexual, why is simply dressing as or naturally resembling a different gender an issue? And, if you can rock both looks, then why not? But, like many other issues, I guess this kind of thinking will take some time.

Photos by Collier Schorr.

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