killing denouement

“I am masculine because I abandon women after taking their love. Because when you study Freud, you don’t let him study you. Because I study philosophy, not literature.”

Greg: “I feel most masculine when I am lying in bed naked.”

Men at their most masculine? There’s so much that could be said here, but artist Chad States, and then the men’s own narratives work so so well. Some of the answers are incredibly revealing (psycho-somatically and some perhaps unsafe for work). Admittedly they’re all constructions of ‘normative’ masculinity – I think that kind of makes them all the more interesting. I am unsure if the rooms were doctored by either the photographer or the subject, but what they choose to surround themselves with is fascinating too. In an interview, the artist does note that “The subjects have made specific decisions about the way they are posing. I am never catching them off-guard or unaware”, and that his only request is that they look directly at the camera”.

(above) Mike: “I want to show that, despite stereotypes, gay men can be masculine too.”

(centre) Dex: “First off, I’d say I’m masculine because of how I feel inside, who I am, and how I carry myself. In a lot of ways my masculinity is tied to my male gender role and how I want to project that and be perceived by others.”

(below) Michael: “In my mind I am masculine. I feel I don’t have to prove it to anyone who might think otherwise (I don’t care what others think).”

Where did you find your subjects? Are they all men?

I found all my subjects through Craigslist. I began by asking the question “Are you masculine?” in the heading. In the body of the posting I talked briefly about the project. Much to the effect of: “I am doing a photography project on masculinity. If you identify as being masculine, please get back to me.” I intentionally leave it gender-neutral so males, females and transpeople feel free to respond. Most of the respondents are men, but a few are female and a few are trans. I posted to a bunch of different categories to cast as wide a net as possible.

Liz: “When I wear men’s clothes I feel comfortable and confident in how I look on the outside which now matches the inside.”

Bill: “I am strong emotionally, have always stood up for myself, and fear nothing. I happen to be physically strong but that isn’t where I derive my masculinity.” Dennis: “I feel masculine when I am home, I can take care of myself. I often feel emasculated when I leave my apartment though, with everyone asking me if I need help. I don’t need any help.”

How is a personal conception of femininity different from masculinity?

I don’t know. One thing I did notice through the project was that masculinity was mostly seen as an innate characteristic, something the subject possessed regardless of outward appearance. Like Dwight says, “it is an attitude.” I imagine that femininity is seen as more of an outward construct (long hair, clothes).

Parker: “I have been called a SNAG (sensitive new age guy), a renaissance man, a man in touch with his feminine side, etc. I think that I am masculine in the sense of self-reliance.”

And whoa, very best of all, Luke.

“I am masculine because I abandon women after taking their love. Because when you study Freud, you don’t let him study you. Because I study philosophy, not literature.”

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