Zoolander was released in 2001, and starred Ben Stiller as a retiring high fashion model, ousted by the up and coming rising star. The movie was a box-office success, and received mostly good reviews. Fast forward to 2015, and we await the February 2016 release of the sequel, 2oolander, again starring Stiller and his costar Owen Wilson. Another satirical comedy, Zoo 2 has elements which focus on the current trend of androgyny in high-fashion.
Cast as a gender fluid top model named “All,” Benedict Cumberbatch, has a scene with the two comedians where they meet, and their uncertainty of “All’s” gender is introduced with a joke to which some are taking offense. Owen’s Hansel tries to clarify Zoolander’s confusion by stating “What he’s asking, do you have a hot dog or a bun?” This scene made it into the current trailer.
Although this joke is controversial and thought to be brash and insensitive by some, the movie’s management have must not had the same sentiment. The scene is 10 seconds long, and in the trailer, almost paying homage to its distaste. In LA Magazine, Jessica Ogilvie writes “Making jokes about women and LGBT people and…well, basically anyone other than straight white dudes is lazy, it’s boring, and it’s also, like, not funny. Also, it’s bigoted, so there’s that. “
Jezebel, the feminist website, had an article written that slammed the movie, stating it gives us “some not very chic jokes about androgyny in modeling and a f@#*d up line about whether said androgynous model (Benedict Cumberbatch) has a dick, showing that the writer (Justin Theroux?!?!?!) is familiar enough with the industry to know it’s becoming more open to models of all genders but not familiar enough to know that a cheap joke about an ostensibly trans or gender fluid person’s genitalia is retrograde b@#chassness. Not funny, you cishet f@#kboys.”
Some viewers of the site had an alternate interpretation, stating that the scene mocked the main characters and draws attention to the fact that they are totally out of touch with changes in the modelling world. Others thought it was a simply a dig at the main characters intelligence, but that will remain to be seen. In the brevity of the trailer, it could very well be a cheap shot at the trans community for a laugh.
What lies beneath all of this is an amazing trend in fashion that is real and cutting edge. Women are now modelling men’s fashions, and yes, the transgender persons who may be equally beautiful or handsome, are starting to be more visible on the runway. After all, modelling is about the look, not the gender.
Andreja Pejic, the real world supermodel who came out as transgendered last year, is at the forefront of this change in fashion. She is the first trans model to beautifully grace the cover of Vogue, and is representing some very famous designers’ wears.
She is one we should look to for representation of positive change in our world, and perhaps not satirical comedy.