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Eight Magazine Covers That Challenge Gender Norms

High-waisted pants and colored denim might be trends in fall 2011, but the rise of provocative androgyny-themed covers on top-selling fashion magazines tells another story: gender subversion is so hot right now. From New York’s portrait of prettiest boy in the world Andrej Pejic to W magazine’s stunning Bowie-esque shot of Tilda Swinton to Love’s transsexual cover model Lea T, femimen, menswear-clad women, and women who once were men are heralding a sea change toward greater gender fluidity in fashion—and perhaps the culture at large—and they’re looking mighty fine doing it. Related stories: Why Are We So Fascinated with Androgyny? Women’s Magazines: Who’s Evolving, Us or Them? Androgynous A-Listers: Seven Notable Gender Benders
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"W," Fall 2011
"Candy," Fall 2010
"Vogue Hommes Japan," Fall 2011
"Industrie," Winter 2010
"Love," Spring 2011
"Vogue Hommes Japan," Fall 2010
"Love," Spring 2011
"Dossier," Spring 2011

"Dossier," Spring 2011

Andrej Pejic’s bare chest ignited a firestorm of controversy last spring when Barnes and Noble and Borders allegedly attempted to censor this Dossier cover by requesting it be wrapped in opaque poly bags before hitting their shelves. The perpetually shirtless Matthew McConaughey must drive them crazy.

"Candy," Fall 2010

James Franco, also known as the guy who feels compelled to do everything that has ever existed ever, was bound to show up in drag on the cover of something eventually. Candy got the honors last fall with Franco’s dominatrix-meets-socialite alter ego.

"Vogue Hommes Japan," Fall 2011

Songbird Florence Welch, who’s usually draped in long skirts and bohemian garb and belting out tunes with Florence and the Machine, finds her edge in tailored menswear and a red pompadour that gives Conan’s a run for its money.

"Industrie," Winter 2010

Designer Marc Jacobs, pictured here wearing thigh-highs and heels, is no stranger to gender bending. He hired femimodel Andrej Pejic for his spring campaign and posed in cherry-red lips and nail polish for a NARS beauty book in 2009.

"Love," Spring 2011

Transsexual model Lea T set off a media feeding frenzy when she appeared in Givenchy’s fall ad campaign last year. When the ads launched, Lea’s modeling agency was inundated with four hundred interview requests, and since then she has appeared twice in Vogue Paris, was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and landed two of three covers for Love’s androgyny issue.

"Vogue Hommes Japan," Fall 2010

Recognize this guy? His name is Joe Calderone, sometimes known as Lady Gaga, and you may have seen him on the VMAs performing the Fame Monster’s latest hit, “Yoü and I.” Apparently, he and Gaga dated.

"Love," Spring 2011

No pancake makeup or fake eyelashes here; the editors of Love magazine figured the Biebs conjured their theme—androgyny—best as he is. Justin graced one of three covers for the androgyny issue. No word on whether he gets it …

"Dossier," Spring 2011

Andrej Pejic’s bare chest ignited a firestorm of controversy last spring when Barnes and Noble and Borders allegedly attempted to censor this Dossier cover by requesting it be wrapped in opaque poly bags before hitting their shelves. The perpetually shirtless Matthew McConaughey must drive them crazy.

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