Manson's cover is pretty much your run-of-the-mill Manson image — if not stripped down and, dare we say it, tame. Aside from a boatload of eye makeup, his gender-bending aesthetic has been limited to a Courtney Love dress and some bondage-strapped platforms. For a magazine as progressive and influential as Candy, which has featured the likes of James Franco, Jared Leto, and Tilda Swinton in drag, Manson's "drag" is unexpected — refreshing, even. It's progressive in the sense that it's reductive; here is a man in a dress — that's it.
At the other end of the spectrum, and after the jump, is Lady Gaga: mustached and naked (consider this your NSFW warning). She challenges what it means to "do drag" beneath a heavily exaggerated visage of Pierrot makeup and Dali 'stache. A fur jacket strategically covers one breast while a scorpion pasty, most likely symbolizing something incredibly lofty, covers the other. She is literally stripping back the theatrics of trans-culture; exposing a half-done-up face and the "gender" beneath it all. Interestingly, and something worth noting, is the outright exposure of her genitals. It's one thing that naked female genitalia made the cover of a magazine; it's another that said genitalia is, for lack of a better phrase, (relatively) au natural. Typically, everything down there is shaved, waxed, and stripped; having an artist of Gaga's caliber go against the status quo — especially for a publication like Candy — toys with our perceptions of what's considered normal. Is her nudity drag or is it impersonating drag? The easily removable mustache suggests the latter, but this is Gaga we're talking about here — one meaning, even in its most naked state, never suffices.