This week in the current issue of Candy magazine (who deems itself a “transversal style magazine”) actor James Franco once again shows his fans and critics that he’s not afraid to push the envelope. On the front cover, Franco is shown with slicked back hair, slouchy leather gloves, a gold choker, red lipstick, and blue eye shadow. “From playing Harvey Milk’s lover in Milk to portraying the gay activist and poet Allen Ginsberg in Howl,” James Franco is known for playing some controversial and out-of-the box characters. Thus, his decision to appear in a form of drag isn’t that far of a stretch for the open-minded actor. However, the website she knows entertainment.com, one place where I found this story seemed confused on why the actor made a decision to pose in such a way. The website isn’t convinced that this isn’t just another publicity stunt to promote his upcoming movie, and perhaps it has something to do with that. However, I applaud the actor for being secure enough with himself to show that all people from all walks of life should be proud to express who they are.
Franco was quoted in the magazine as saying, “Everyone thinks I’m a stoner, and some people think I’m gay because I’ve played these gay roles. That’s what people think, but it’s not true. I don’t smoke pot. I’m not gay. But on another level, there’s something in me that is able to play roles like that in a way that’s convincing.” He also goes on to say mention that he doesn’t like being stereotyped and by posing in drag, he is definitely showing another side to his personality. I think his message of not wanting to be stereotyped fits in perfectly with what Candy stands for. On its website it states that it is, “the first fashion magazine ever completely dedicated to celebrating transvestism, transsexuality, cross dressing and androgyny, in all its manifestations….Candy is a magazine for everybody. A space for individual freedom, and a publication that pushes people to take on the persona of what they always wanted to be.” By dressing a heterosexual man who happens to be a famous actor up in drag, the magazine is trying to stick by its mission statement of celebrating human beings in whatever form they feel comfortable.
So is this cover helpful to the trans population or hurtful? Well, I definitely think that it helps by giving publicity to trans issues and showing that even heterosexuals can embrace different sides of themselves; thus, that being different can be beautiful. Yet, I feel that the magazine could try to use actual members of the trans community in order to help make all audiences understand that being transsexual or transgendered isn’t a thing to fear or hate. However, I just hope that the Franco cover won’t turn into a circus and make a mockery out of the message that Candy wants to portray to the world: inclusion for all.