Androgyny

Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.  From birth, we are expected to perform a certain type of gender.  For example, most of the society commonly dresses their newborn girl in pink clothing and newborn boy in blue clothing.  Within the concept of gender performativity, a term created by Judith Butler in her novel Gender Trouble, Butler characterizes gender as the effect of reiterated acting, one that produces the effect of a static or normal gender while obscuring the contradiction and instability of any single person’s gender act.  I think it is interesting the way in which androgyny comes into play with this.  Androgyny, among other definitions, is referred to as the state or condition of having a high degree of both feminine and masculine traits.  Furthermore, androgyny blends the virtues of each gender.  It has come to be that this gender identity is prominent in the world of high fashion.  Performativity of gender becomes more apparent with Andrej Pejic’s changing representations in modeling.   

Andrej Pejic has emerged as a poster boy for fashion androgyny.  Pejic is part of the gender-bending trend of fashion campaigns that embrace gender fluidity.  He is notable for his androgyny, while deconstructing the relationship between masculinity and femininity.  Part of his success, I believe, could be attributed to his ability to successfully model both male and female clothing.  In 2011, he ranked number 18 on the Top 50 Male Models list, and he was ranked number 98 in FHM magazine’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2011.  It is fascinating the success of this gender-bending model.  Pejic’s androgynous look gives the male model an advantage in his field, being that he can walk the runway as a man or a woman.

Although some individuals who identify themselves as androgynous have to endure the risks of being so, it is fascinating the way in which Andrej fits into the hegemony of high fashion, which has added to his success as a model and almost has shielded him from the possible ridicule of his gender identity.  He is 6″”2, blonde hair, blue eyes, and has a 28 waist, which fits the typical model profile.  At a first glance, I would not guess that this model, Andrej Pejic, is a male.  The curiosity that is produced makes this model all the more fascinating.

-Nicki Moon

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