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September 19, 2011 | by  | in Arts Visual Arts |
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Blurring the lines: Andrej Pejic

The aesthetics of gender is a very complex area.

From a very young age we are taught to accept a raft of preconceptions of gender and we accept them as truth. One figure in the last two years who has made a career out of challenging the traditional visual ‘normalities’ of gender is Andrej Pejic. He is an Australian model, born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who has recently blown apart the fashion world with his fresh brand of androgynous style. He made worldwide headlines for the New York Magazine cover when he was shown topless with a traditionally female hairstyle and makeup ensemble. There was a considerable backlash about whether this was appropriate, as it could be interpreted as female nudity on the cover. I do not want to get into the politics of this, but I do think the image itself is startlingly beautiful due to its composition and in its function as a challenge to preconceptions of the masculine aesthetic. The use of makeup and hairstyle is accentuated by just how pale and blemish-less Pejic is. He provides a canvas for designers and artists to create looks which work because they contrast with the blank slate he provides. The image is composed to frame the head and torso which is a familiar technique for fashion magazine covers. However, by showing Pejic’s upper body as nude, the image goes against the way the viewer interprets gender. This image unsettles me because it does go against the way I been programmed to approach gender but I welcome that challenge. Andej Pejic is one symbol of the way that art can be used to alter preconceptions and in the discussion of gender he is doubly important

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