What is it about cross-dressing men that creates such a fuss?
Alex Reid’s photo in drag (dressed up for a Fetish party) was front page news in the UK tabloids. He was called a “freaky gay… doing sick things” by his ex’s new boyfriend Leonardo Penna. He is now and forever referred to as a cross dresser, nudge, nudge, wink, wink – as if that discredits him for any professional achievements (in the oh so macho world of cage fighting) or sexual relationships with women. In chat rooms he is called “disgusting” and women tweet that “they like their men to look like men”.
But what does a real man look like? Do we really want to limit acceptable looks of the male gender to muscle mass and body hair? What is wrong with a guy who enjoys cross-dressing, wearing make-up or generally embracing his femininity?
In the mainstream media gender-bending women are considered “cool” and “sexy”. Lady Gaga’s alter ego Joe Calderone made positive headlines. But the androgynous model Andrej Pejic who walked in both men’s and women’s fashion shows for Jean Paul Gaultier, has been called “a thing” in FHM magazine. It is not surprising that a lad’s mag, firmly rooted in a world where “real men” rule and women are the only accepted objects of desire, can not handle a person with a male birth certificate and a feminine look. Pejic is strong and proud and refuses to be labelled in any shape or form.
In a recent interview with the New York Magazine he said: “I choose to leave my gender open to artistic interpretation. I just want to look like me. It just so happens that some of the things I like are feminine.”
Andrej also refuses to define his sexuality but confirms that straight men always hit on him (assuming he is female) and that a lot of “wild girls” who are bi-curious like him. He leaves it up to our imagination what turns him on.
The golden rule that men need to be “real men” or super macho is never more obvious than in straight porn. Men have to be tough and rough and always in control. They want to fuck her up the ass but will not even take a finger, let alone a strap-on up their bum on camera. The prostate is one of the biggest erogenous zone for men, yet in straight porn it is largely taboo. Male bisexuality is another massive taboo in mainstream porn. We see usually how two men “do a woman” and shake hands with their mate when the “spit roast” her but they make dam sure that they don’t touch each other anywhere in a sensual way. Not just penetration but also oral sex or just kissing and stroking are strictly forbidden.
In the world of mainstream porn it is as if sexuality is always clear-cut: there are the hetero pumpers and grinders or the gay porn studs. You have to choose. There is nothing in between. This does not just limit male but also female experimentation and pleasure. Guys are not allowed to play and women are not supposed to get off on a guy in a skirt or two guys getting it on. In reality many of my female friends and I find nothing hotter. Cue Buck Angel (The man with a pussy) who as is the object or desire for loads of women and men who mostly refuse to label or limit their sexual orientation or gender definition in any way. Ambiguity is exciting and arousing. If we cannot cross boundaries and strip ourselves of labels in sex and porn, where can we be free and fluid? Hostility towards gender-bending cements out-dated, sexist gender roles and limits our growth and fun.
Andrej Pejic understands that a man who is in touch with femininity and pushes negative buttons actually reveals a lot about underlying gender discrimination – of women. He says: “In this society, if a man is called a woman, that’s the biggest insult he could get.” And then he asks the question that hits the nail on the head: “Is that because women are considered something less?”