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28 February 2011 @ 08:59 pm
Andrej Pejic, gender, etc. DISCUSS.  
Okay, for those of you who don't know, this is Serbian model Andrej Pejic. Also this. And (possibly slightly NSFW) this. And THIS! Join andrej_pejic for more info and pics about Andrej, who obviously ~werks~ both men's and women's fashions. You know you want to!

Er, anyway. More seriously, pseudoblu and I were talking the other day about some of the Andrej articles and posts we've read, and the way a lot of journalists and fans identify Andrej as transgender, transsexual, or genderqueer.

I can understand the inclination. There's still relatively few people out there who are breaking gender boundaries in meaningful ways. Andrej's definitely pushing the gender envelope with his modeling career, so it's easy to fit him in with others who do the same. I'd go so far as to say that he fits the concept of genderqueer...ness. He wears dresses with as much ease as suits, and vice versa. He's said that he's both masculine and feminine, and that designers get a two for one deal when they hire him. But I feel weird about identifying him as trans or genderqueer, because he's never explicitly stated that he identifies that way. At the same time, I don't know if it's any better or worse to identify him automatically as a man, just because he's male-bodied. (Disclaimer on that one: he's said that he's fine with being called a guy and being referred to with male pronouns. So that much, at least, I feel comfortable with.

The point of this post: thoughts? Can somebody be called genderqueer just because they fit the definition? Could, say, Bill be called genderqueer, just because he wears some women's clothing? Is the unstoppable tide of "Dude looks like a lady" articles making anyone else want to tear their hair out?! (Okay, that was semi-unrelated, but still.)
 
 
steinsgrrl on March 1st, 2011 03:09 am (UTC)
I guess I thought that genderqueer was an identification you make for yourself. Like, you're the only one who knows if you really fit the definition of genderqueer, because I think it's not necessarily the same for every GQ person. So I agree; I think he fits the concept of GQ but until he says himself that he truly is, I don't feel comfortable identifying him as such.

Interesting question!
when the gales of November come early: butterfly in teeth [Andrej]kishmet on March 1st, 2011 03:20 am (UTC)
Definitely, definitely. Self-identification is the way to go, whether it's gender or sexuality or whatever. I've been a little perplexed by all the articles calling him trans or genderqueer, but maybe most of the writers don't have a lot of experience with GQ folks or the concept of individuals choosing their own identifying terms?
steinsgrrl on March 1st, 2011 03:30 am (UTC)
Maybe it's just like with Bill; they have to have that box to put him in, just to understand him a little more. People like labels; it helps compare something unknown to something known, lump them together and make them palatable, especially when it's something like androgyny, which can make some people uncomfortable.
when the gales of November come early: b+w lean [Andrej]kishmet on March 1st, 2011 04:46 am (UTC)
That does make sense. From my own experience, people even like to have a label for themselves - it was nifty when I stumbled on the terms genderqueer and pansexual because hey, works for me.

On that note, it's interesting that Andrej hasn't really categorized himself! I'm hoping that's a trend that'll catch on, where people who want to be a certain way just are, instead of being this or that in particular.
steinsgrrl on March 1st, 2011 04:52 am (UTC)
I was relieved to find a label, because it meant that there were enough other people who felt the same way as I did that it warranted a name. For the longest time, I just felt like there was something wrong with me, because no one else I knew (at least outwardly) seemed to feel the same ways I did. But I do see what you mean, and perhaps for Andrej (and who knows how many others), labels don't mean anything and serve no purpose. I think it's a very strong position to stand in and have to give him props for that. :)
vanillalatte88vanillalatte88 on March 1st, 2011 03:43 am (UTC)
I agree with Steinsgrrl - I think it's a designation or determination one makes for oneself - it can't be imposed from someone on the outside. And yes, while he may have some of the qualities genderqueer people have (heavy on the may, since I have no idea) I can see how people could mis-label him as such.

I do like the fact that he's very comfortable being identified as both male and female. He doesn't seem to be overtly saying "I'm a feminine guy" - he seems to have his masculine and feminine aspects very equally balanced. If I'm making any sense at all.

I don't see him as transgendered, but again, that's his identity, not make to make of him.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't like the work "genderqueer" - is that weird of me? It just sounds odd, and maybe it's because I have so many negative associations with people being called "queer" which was used derogatorily where I grew up. I think I like bi-gender. Equal, both, and perfectly ok with that.

I think Andrej is just Andrej, and that is so cool. <3 I think he's awesome, in whatever gender he wants to be.
when the gales of November come early: catwalk [Andrej]kishmet on March 1st, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
He doesn't seem to be overtly saying "I'm a feminine guy" - he seems to have his masculine and feminine aspects very equally balanced. If I'm making any sense at all. Yep, that makes sense. I love the balance he strikes and how comfortable he is with both his masculinity and femininity. And I love that Andrej is just Andrej, too. <3 He seems really aware of gender politics, and so his failure to fit himself into a neat category seems to say a lot.

I can definitely understand your issues with the word "genderqueer." I'm still a little leery about using just plain "queer" because it's still used as a derogatory term sometimes. Personally, I also like bigender - because that's more or less what I am! - but I think "genderqueer" can be useful because it's kind of a broader umbrella term. There's people who identify as neutrois (neither male nor female) or boi or androgyne (which I gather is like bigender, more or less?), so genderqueer's sort of a catch-all for any gender outside of the binary male/female. I'd rather have an umbrella term more removed from the root "queer," though.
(Deleted comment)
vanillalatte88vanillalatte88 on March 1st, 2011 03:57 am (UTC)
(what is cisgender?)
(Deleted comment)
vanillalatte88vanillalatte88 on March 1st, 2011 04:13 am (UTC)
Thanks - I had never heard that term. I agree with you about Bill. I feel his androgyny is more of his packaging and I definitely see him as male all the time.
when the gales of November come early: couply lean [Bill and Tom]kishmet on March 1st, 2011 05:14 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think individuals should always be able to choose their pronouns, whether male, female, neutral, or other, just as they ought to be able to choose whether they're referred to as genderqueer, androgyne, male, female, whatever. That's why it's been weirding me out, that journalists and bloggers feel free to apply certain terms that Andrej's never adopted for himself, at least not publicly!

Aha, see, I think you understand what I mean by the concept of genderqueer/transgender as opposed to the self-adopted label. I think there's a distinction between the academic definition (where genderqueer or transgender can mean, basically, anything or anyone that defies current gender conventions) and the personal one, and I think you hit the nail on the head with your explanation. Because he does fall more or less under the umbrella, in that he could be included in an essay about trans-type phenomena in pop culture or whatever, but at the same time it's not fair to label him as trans unless he explicitly states he is.

...uh, if that makes sense. In short, I agree with you! And agree 100% on Bill, too. He likes a certain type of clothing and he likes to wear makeup, but he's always struck me as, well, entirely male, as much as Tom but in a different way. I could be wrong, but to me the evidence shows exactly that, so unless/until Bill says differently, that'll be my way of looking at it too!
Zephyrustwig_tea on March 1st, 2011 04:27 am (UTC)
I think you're definitely right that it's all about self-identification. In particular, since all of your examples are of him *working*, I find it problematic to draw conclusions about his personal identity from them (and if he does so in his personal life you can strike that sentence from my reply, it still stands XD). I think there's a difference between categorizing what a person does and categorizing them as an identity. He crossdresses (sometimes). That doesn't necessarily make him transvestite, a drag queen, transgender, or genderqueer. He plays with gender/queers gender, but describing a behaviour is not the same as assigning an identity.
when the gales of November come early: nude shoot [Andrej + 1]kishmet on March 1st, 2011 05:23 am (UTC)
You make a really good point! I hadn't thought about it from that angle. I've only ever seen him in dresses for shows or professional photographs; not sure whether he even crossdresses in his private life. Huh!

Obviously I agree with your other points, also. XD Your last sentence is a great summation that I want to remember. He does play with gender concepts/presentation, but you're exactly right, that's not an identity unless he explicitly states it is. Which is why all these journalists slapping him with particular IDs irks me, I think.
lizz_66lizz_66 on March 1st, 2011 05:22 am (UTC)
Personally I'm uncomforable that articles keep associating those terms with Andrej, because, to my knowledge, and as you said, he's never said that he identifies as transgender. Yes, he wears girls clothes, but that doesn't make him a girl or mean that he wants to be one. Being trans is about who you are on the inside, not just what you wear on the outside. Fashion is exactly that, no matter what extremes it reaches. I don't believe anyone can, or should, conclude a person's gender or sexuality, based only on their appearance. And yet it happens so often. Of course, if he actually does consider himself to fall under that label, then fair enough. But it should be down to him to make that definition, not the people who interview him.

Once again, I just hate that everything has to come down to labels, and that the media feel they have the right to push this onto him. In fact, usually they do it in so that they get a conclusive comment, and I love that Andrej handles the questions so well, and never actually gives them one ;) Perhaps he doesn't even have one! For some people, all things are possible and change frequently.

when the gales of November come early: little smile [Andrej]kishmet on March 1st, 2011 05:36 am (UTC)
Being trans is about who you are on the inside, not just what you wear on the outside. Yes, this! And I think it's misunderstanding this concept that makes most men so hesitant to wear feminine clothing, makeup, etc. Personal identification should be the deciding factor, not style or presentation or whatever. And as the comment above mentioned, also, fashion is Andrej's job, so it's hard to pick up on a personal life ID from just that.

I hate labels myself, and I'm hoping Andrej sets a trend with his refusal to label himself! :D I said to someone else, it'd be a lot easier if people were just allowed to be, instead of being something in particular.
Matchy西matchynishi on March 2nd, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
HI KISH!!!! it's been a while, ne. :D BUT THEN I SAW ANDREJ PEJIC AND I HAD TO COMMENT lskdjfa i saw him first in the wedding dress and he insstantly turned me into an eternal fangirl.

also, i'm sorry i have no useful thoughts to share on the other questions in your post, since i basically am still on the "OMG *_____________* SO AWESOME AAAAH" reaction when i think about him.