Fashion Bytes — Andrej Pejic & Gender Roles

Andrej Pejic has been making fashion news for several years, but an NPR article two weeks ago shows that he has now come to national attention in America. The article relates how Pejic became fashion’s latest “It Girl” and boy, and briefly discusses the idea of gender roles. But only briefly. The article ends by discussing the prejudice against young men who defy their “assigned” gender roles that remains so prevalent outside of fashion.

Worn Through has discussed cross-dressing and androgyny before. From Monica’s teaching post on addressing the subject of gender identity in the classroom, to Tove’s posts on the history of cross-dressing, and its criminalisation, to the Anarchist of Fashion column on Claude Cahun. Fashion Bytes usually looks at some of the more negative attitudes and actions within fashion, such as racial stereotyping. But this is one place where fashion gets it right. In terms of gender and sexuality, the fashion world seems to be the only commercial industry where those who stretch and even cross the typical gender and sexual boundaries are accepted and often praised. In the NPR interview, Pejic recounts being pressured to stop dressing up and to take on the proscribed social role for boys, but that fashion has given him the opportunity to be himself.

Why is fashion more accepting of those who cross gender boundaries, and of homosexuality than society in general? Will the acceptance of Pejic by the fashion community lead to greater tolerance of those who defy their assigned gender roles in the general public? Has Pejic changed fashion’s own ideas about male models, making room for men who are not muscular and “macho”? Is Pejic the first of potentially many, or is he an anomaly? Why is it more acceptable for women to defy assigned gender roles in terms of clothing than for men? Do you think that fashion’s acceptance of the gay community led to a greater acceptance by society in general, or did it have no impact whatsoever? What other ways has fashion led society in general to better understanding and acceptance?

Please share your thoughts.

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  • Rosa April 17, 2012 08.46 pm

    Nowhere in the world is prepared to accept people who feel good about your body and think of clothing as clothing, simple pieces to cover the nakedness and feel good inside.
    This is how I see Andrej Pejic, a man who values ​​human beings and put in effect that society imposes, “is shameful walk around naked.”
    Simply dressed contrary to their natural identity already imposes a label: gay, but gays themselves do not accept those who do not take that label. acceptance of people like Andrej is difficult within the society and he it is not an anomaly.

  • Lola April 20, 2012 03.05 pm

    Such a boring model. Gender Roles in fashion was MUCH MORE interesting a couple of decades ago. This “model” fits into the Perez Hilton/Chris Crocker/Jeffree Starr etc idea of gender roles and fashion.

    What a Crock of Shit.

  • Claudia April 24, 2012 11.58 am

    Of course he is an anomality, what he practices will never be for every man. The reason is his absolutely riveting beauty which has little or no masculinity in it. I think our unconscious reaction is to accept what he does because of his very feminine face, but it would have a totally different result if a men with a more traditionally male appearance did it: Our esthetic concepts would clash, we would perceive the result as something weird and imperfect. So I do not think that Pejic has changed ideas, he simply is something like a honorary girl.
    I wish people like him could shave off some of our culture’s hypermasculinity, but this is not (yet) going to happen. Partly because what he does is nothing but a “Look, I can do that, too!”
    Women dressing with some masculine style elements have about 90 years head start. Men have lost it somewhere during the Roccoco. There was a time when men’s clothing was much more elaborate, colorful, ornate than that of women.


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