Boycott Called for 'Zoolander 2'

Its representation of transpeople is under fire.
Image: @voguemagazine

Unsurprisingly, the fashion industry has been chomping at the bit to get a glimpse at Zoolander 2, the second installment in the cult classic comedy series following Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson's modelling alter-egosThe film parodies the fashion industry and makes satire out of snobby editors and the stereotypical lavish lives of the fashion elite, but after the release of the sequel's trailer last week, their taunting may have gone a step too far.

Members of the LGBTQ community are calling for a boycott of the film after its offensive depiction of "All" - a fictional non-binary model portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.  In the trailer, "All" is taunted by Zoolander and Hansel for their androgyny, and according to the creators of a petition protesting the film, is "clearly portrayed as an over-the-top, cartoonish mockery of androgyne/trans/non-binary individuals."  Furthermore, they write that hiring a cis-actor to play a non-cis-gendered character "is the modern equivalent of using blackface to represent a minority."  As of November 23rd, the petition currently stands at 9800 signatures, just shy of its goal of 10,000.

The depiction of non-binary models in the film's trailer mirrors the rise in visibility of transpeople in the fashion industry; model Andreja Pejic recently underwent sex reassignment surgery and emerged as an editorial favourite, having been the face of Marc Jacobs, Kenneth Cole, and Makeup Forever, while H&M derivative & Other Stories features exclusively trans models in their current season campaign.  The fashion industry has been a strong vessel for non-cis-gendered visibility, but this hasn't been without its struggles, including lawsuits and controversy at major fashion houses, and recently, insensitive comments about gay designers from Kanye West.  At a time when trans rights are a hot topic, it's not surprising to see them depicted in media, but the satirical approach does seem insensitive given the considerably poor conditions of transgender rights and high rates of violence endured by members of the LGBTQ community in general.  Trans visibility in modelling has been a monumental movement, and so it is unfortunate to see it typified in a somewhat regressive way by the film.

What do you think about the response to the trailer?

WHO: Tia Elisabeth Glista, Editor at Couturesque magazine
WHERE: Toronto
OBSESSED WITH: Made in the A.M. (guilty...!)
CAN BE FOUND AT: @tia.elisabeth

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I founded Couturesque Magazine when I was 15 years old because like many of my peers, I felt ignored and talked down to by all of the other teen fashion publications out there. I figured that at the end of the day, the people who knew the most about my generation, were the people who belonged to it. The fashion industry is becoming increasingly dependent on the creativity of younger voices who challenge the status quo and make us rethink what we wear and why we wear it. And that is exactly what Couturesque set out to celebrate - authenticity, intelligence, originality, and diversity... in other words, what makes Gen-Z tick. Fast-forward to 2016 and we now have a staff of more than a dozen fashion distruptors contributing to our daily content from all around the globe, 100K+ readers following us from Toronto to New York, to London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Tokyo, and Tel Aviv, and a plethora of big-wig industry fans and collaborators. But what matters to us the most is the responsibility that our publication has to make a positive impact in the lives of those who come across it - we stand against retouching our photoshoots and we stand for sharing the beautiful, individual, complex voices of everyone, especially those who feel marginalized by mainstream fashion media. We hope that you love our site as much as we do and that you take the time to follow us (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Snapchat / YouTube) throughout our journey to make fashion accessible to the powerful young adults of today.

Tia Elisabeth Glista
Editor in Chief