This image of the male model Andrej Pejic was censored by the bookstore chain Barnes and Noble, because it could be mistaken for a picture of a topless woman
As the Jezebel article states, other magazines featuring covers of shirtless men have been stocked by Barnes and Noble, but the men in question have been muscle-bound metrosexuals.
What does this tell us about gender anxiety and attitudes to ‘obscenity’ and nudity in the 21st century?
I think it is interesting, in the light of that recent photoshoot for Abercrombie and Fitch in Paris, where over one hundred male models got their tits out for the whole of Paris to enjoy. Because in some ways, muscled up pecs look more like women’s breasts than a skinny androgyne’s ones.
I also think this serves as a reminder that the feminist campaigns in the UK by organisations such as OBJECT, to cover up lads mags and to put them back on the ‘top shelf’, may lead to similar incidents of censorship here.
Jezebel decides that the thorny issue of how feminists simultaneously bemoan ‘double standards’ of how men and women’s bodies are perceived in our culture, and also campaign for the censorship of images which ‘objectify’ women but not men, should be left for ‘another day’:
‘Why it is exactly that women’s toplessness is considered inappropriate for magazine covers in this country is a question for another day, but this debacle does call into question the general ridiculousness of these standards’
Very wise, Jezebel, very wise. But on this or any other day, I could point out how contradictory and full of its own double standards, feminist dogma about gendered bodies is. I’m not going anywhere…