Fear of an Androgynous Model: Andrej Pejic Brings Out the Hyenas

Andrej Pejic – photo by Sabine Villiard

Andrej Pejic, the beautiful, androgynous Australian model, has had an amazing degree of success for one so young (19). He’s graced the covers of Vogue‘s international editions and worked with such names as Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul-Gaultier.

However, FHM, when choosing to place the Bosnian-born stunner on their list of “100 sexiest women,” was apparently determined to show the world that whatever Pejic’s success, they were determined to keep him from blurring their neat boundaries.

With transphobia thrown in for good measure

While the magazine later yanked the text, it’s revealing. Macho as they try to be, it apparently only takes the slightest visceral proof that gender is a cultural aesthetic — and an enjoyably malleable one at that — for the lads of FHM to be beside themselves with, well, fear. Heaven forefend they might one day recline into their tangled sheets, reach for a copy of Victoria’s Secret, and realize the glamorous angel on the cover is (gasp), a man.

Sadly, FHM is hardly alone. While men appear shirtless on magazine covers all the time, Barnes and Noble saw fit to wrap an issue of Dossier featuring Pejic, on the grounds that “it could be deemed as a naked female.” And that would be terrible.

Pejic for Vanity Fair Italy

Fortunately, it’s doubtful either bit of phobic wibbling will stop Pejic’s rise. His very presence in so many high-profile fashion venues is hopefully evidence that some things are changing for the better. The delightful pictures above and below show that radiant style cuts across the sexes, and Pejic has it in spades, with confidence to match. After humorously rebuffing a reporter who asked if he’d “consider a complete sex change,” Pejic simply said “I’m comfortable with the way I am.” Amen, and yum.

Photo by Michelle Du Xuan

Photo by Emily Abay

Photo by Jez Smith



25 Responses to “Fear of an Androgynous Model: Andrej Pejic Brings Out the Hyenas”

  1. Heather Says:

    oooooooh he’s preeeetty. Boys like him drove me wild as a teenager.

  2. thegroundedvagabond Says:

    So well written and refreshing, thanks, David!

  3. JoAsakura Says:

    man, that excerpt from FHM is appalling. X(

  4. rickie Says:

    if anything, the sheer beauty this person has transcends gender in any way…[heart pitter pattering[

  5. Damien Says:

    Wow. Very very nice.

  6. apolacheck Says:

    Thanks for this, David! Andrej is my hero, my heroine, and my current hyper-androgyne crush-object. What a courageous, gorgeous, perfectly perfect creature he is. My goodness! Androgyny is so unnerving to our binary-locked society – it’s refreshing and beautiful to see the fashion industry embracing it more and more. It’s gotta start somewhere!

  7. Tertiary Says:

    He is indeed very beautiful. As far as the bagged magazine goes, I will share my thoughts from when this first came up.

    “Just think about the cognitive dissonance B&N is trying to save its costumers from!
    They’ll be all like “Man, that chick is hot”, and then they’ll look inside, and discover that she is a he!
    And they’ll be so angry! They’ll storm the counter, demanding that this homo filth be covered up.
    Because pseudo-titties gave them a boner! And they never saw The Crying Game.

    Then, filled with self righteousness, they’ll go whack it in the bathroom.

    And all of this could be avoided with some black plastic.
    Won’t you think of the middle aged white male republican?”

  8. Jont Says:

    Always hated that attitude, I think most people can tell overcompensation when they see it. On the bright side, it was a reader’s poll, so even if their editorial staff aren’t man enough to admit it, enough of their readers don’t give a shit, well at least on paper.


  9. Jont Says:

    It seems that FHM have repented and by way of apology nuked his entry, like it never happened…


  10. Shay Says:

    Here’s also the Social Images article about the Dossier thing: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/05/18/what-makes-a-body-obscene/

    Thanks David!

  11. Edward Carney Says:

    There will always be regressive elements in society, but I believe that Pejic’s success and widespread acceptance is indicative of a changing cultural aesthetic that has been in the works for years. Androgyny is being viewed as beautiful by wider and wider segments of society, and Andrej Pejic may be the finest exemplar of this new standard.

    I’ve given a little more analysis of the trend in my personal blog, in case you’re interested.

  12. Madeline Ashby Says:

    Good Lord. I can forgive FHM for ignoring the success of Camui Gackt, who has rocked a similar look to great acclaim and profit, but did they forget how androgyny worked for David Bowie? This isn’t a new aesthetic, it’s an established one.

    Although, seriously: Andrej is living proof that bishounen exist.

  13. Natasha Says:

    You wouldn’t even have to “go gay” for him either!
    I also agree with Madeline’s comment above.
    It’s saddening how jealous people become over something successful. He’s unique, he’s successful and he’s gorgeous. Who cares that he doesn’t LOOK his gender!

  14. Pris Says:

    Everytime I see Andrej, it makes me think of Bowie’s “Lady Stardust”. As for FHM’s comment, they said exactly what I expected them to say, the poor paranoid monotones that they are.

  15. hng23 Says:

    I’d do him.

  16. sakara Says:

    He is beautiful….bone structure is divine.

    One thing that does worry me though is how the fashion industry clamour for this look..the tall lean flat chested look. Before they just wanted starving girls, now they dont need to bother with that.
    They already set unreachable standards for most women..now they just remove them from the equation.

  17. Charlotte Says:

    Sakara, do you really think that? Do you really think they’d just do away with female models? Really?

    Speaking as someone who has hung out with models (not like close friends, exactly…more like drunkenly tried to chat them up), I can tell you for a fact that there really are insanely-thin gazelle-people walking around. They really do look like that and they really do drink beer and/or eat normally. I mean, I used to think I could runway model, but after seeing some of them close up…wow. They have bone structures like birds.

    Of course some of these women might be starving themselves, to fake their way into the “gazelle-thin” category, but just like we no longer insist that every porn star must have been raped by her uncle, you can’t paint the whole group with such a broad brush.

    Is it right that they’re held as some sort of ideal standard, when they’re so very-very rare? No, but as long as straight lines are easier to sew than curvy lines, and as long as it’s cheaper (because it uses less fabric) to make a tiny mock-up, then it will likely always be the case.

    (And before I get a reply to that, I am not suggesting that “thin models” are all down to practicality: there also seems to be some correlation between food abundance and idealized size. Times of plenty = thin women are idealized, times of famine = fat women are idealized).

  18. User Says:

    Let me explain. I am a straight man, and I want to have a right to remain straight, i. e. not to have anything sexual with anybody who has male sexual organs or ever had them. I just don’t want to feel anything sexual to any male on earth! And I buy a magazine for straight men because I know all sexually attractive photos in that zine do belong to women. I don’t buy gay or trans magazines because I don’t want to be aroused by any male body, period. What have they done? They have cheated me, and millions of straight men. They published inappropriate images in inapropriate place.

    Listen, I don’t claim gays are bad, or transes are bad, etc. Let them be! But let them not to cheat my sexuality. I claim I have a right to ensure my penis will erect only to stimulus of 100% female origin. No cheating. I don’t want the whole world to be gay-free, I just want to have a place where there would be no gayhood so there I can live a 100% straight life. A magazine for straight men claims to be such a place, and cheats its readers. I think they deserve a serious moral compensation for such a violation.

  19. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    “User”, I almost didn’t publish your comment, because it reeks of troll. But just in case it’s NOT? Wow. I… Just…

    No, “wow”, is about all I’ve got in response.

    Good luck, friend!

  20. R. Says:

    He’s a beautiful young man. FHM is just…they’re a sad magazine. I just hope that androgyny does not become as exploited as feminity or masculinity. It’s not a novelty and I hope that’s not what the new found “craze” for androgynous models will dissolve into.

  21. Syd Says:

    I can’t help but be a little irritable about someone more or less passing as a woman being called androgynous. If this was androgyny then there would be doubt, confusion—not angry straight males. It only becomes “androgyny” to the reader once you know he’s a man, and isn’t that just cross dressing then? This is of course if you are keeping all the standard gender boxes that say he shouldn’t be dressing and looking that way if he has a penis, which you need if you want to say he is being transgressive.

    but aaaanyway, beautiful stuff, and maybe if he keeps it up everyone can wear pretty dresses and still claim whatever identity they choose.

  22. Io Says:

    I’ve always had a weakness for the genderqueer, regardless of genital configuration. Le sigh…

  23. Ben Says:

    -sigh- If I could pull off those outfits I would, but I’m basically a lumberjack crossed with a viking, and I’m not terribly interested in portraying the comical side of crossdress.

    And while I don’t agree with “User,” I feel a little sympathy in that FHM is a formulaic magazine for straight men who just want to stay in their comfort zone. Not like those cultural bon-vivants over at Maxim.

  24. Hyphen de Plume Says:

    I can’t help but wonder if some men feel threatened by him because women fancy him. Is there an extrordinarily beautiful man in the media who doesn’t make straight men feel a bit threatened?

  25. Angela Says:

    What I’m about to type sounds really weird and obtuse, but I’ve never been gladder to be bisexual after seeing Andrej Pejic and the complete fuss made over his gender presentation. Do people seriously live like this, in fear of someone WRONG gaining psycho-sexual engorging powerz over their private parts?

    Also, I love Andrej even more after seeing this interview where he’s quite deliberately toying with the interviewer’s banal attempts to pigeonhole him: http://youtu.be/AkMmYPbbOd4