What is masculinity? As a woman who’s only experience with masculinity has been destructive and narcissistic, this project discusses what it is to be a man and whether that masculinity must always be toxic.
As soon as I mention masculinity men run, we are predisposed to try and conform to society’s normal, that’s what I’m trying to illuminate with this project, society’s norm is not your regular man, what makes men masculine, strong if you like, is all their little quirks, the side you can’t see, that the media strives to keep hidden.
“I got involved with this project because I think it’s important that people feel good about themselves however they look. Society can appear quite brutal towards untraditional looking people that don’t make ‘clothes catalogue’ model grade. I feel times are changing gradually and we are as a whole becoming a little more accepting of people of all shapes and sizes, rightly so.I’ve never been traditional. My mum was born 1950 in East London and so was in what seemed the centre of the universe in 1964. She knew all the best shops and markets and her Rover ticket allowed her to frequent all of them from Carnaby Street to Roman Road Market.So when I came along in 1971 in leafy Suffolk my mum used to nip back to London to buy some of my clothes because she was used to more varieties.” Ed
When we are asked to think of a stereotypically strong man, the mind often wanders to ancient Greece to the likes of Greek warriors, throughout history men have created objects decorated with imagery designed to represent themselves in the image of Gods, fictitious warriors – strong. Why is this? Aside from the obvious muscles and strength, according to Greek mythology, it was not only the males that were in charge, it was their female counterparts, that despite the allusion to patriarchy, there are deep undertones of women being the real puppet masters. There were clearly two sides to men in ancient Greece.
If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how very different our ideals of masculinity would be.
Does masculinity have to mean perfect? Strong? Flawed? What does it mean to you?
“One comes across moments when, if we still used it, the word “virility” might be useful. Watching Donald Trump intimidate his way through the Republican Presidential debates, I’ve often wondered about the meaning of his mine-is-bigger-than-yours masculinity. Is this what masculinity is? How can we distinguish between Trump’s pathological manliness and the healthier kind? This is hard to do when you have just one word, “masculinity,” to describe male identity. Now, theoretically, I could tell myself that, while Trump is undeniably masculine, he lacks virilitas. He is the Emperor Commodus of the 2016 election.” Rothman, J. 2016. I find this really interesting
what does it mean to be masculine in the modern world? Does the tradition Greek/Roman stereotype have any bearing on what would call manly today? You would certainly call Mr. Trump masculine, but certainly not in the same way you would call someone you liked masculine or manly, it is not a compliment when applied to Mr. Trump who seems to use his masculinity as a threat.
Who says the body positivity movement is just for women? Well, the media and mass society actually, I want to expose that for that it is, a load of crap! I have taken to asking each of my subjects to write a small piece documenting why they want to be involved with the project, this not only gives them a voice and helps them feel part of something, but also helps me to understand them, their reasons and who they are aside from their physical appearance, in turn, I can use this to put their images in context for the viewer, it is my intention for these images to promote understanding, awareness and educate, understanding their reasoning puts me in a much better position to be able to do this.
“Vulnerability; the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.I did the shoot in order to expose my vulnerability, to promote the fact there are not just two body types of men that we see in the media (Super Buff or Super Skinny). People see me and think, brute, fat, scary when in reality I feel strength through emotional maturity. I believe people should have a open perception and wider understanding of themselves, who they effect and how they are affected.While strong in appearance, my awareness of self is constantly hypocritical and fragile, I am rarely the person you perceive me to be.”Orlando
I truly believe that you should never hide who you are and that we should all remember that what we see, is not all there is. What do you guys think?
Together let’s create a society of acceptance and understanding. If you’re interested in joinig the project, message me and lets have a chat.