Soft Men

I created this project to reflect upon how men are traditionally captured in art. In all mediums, cis men are mainly portrayed as hypermasculine while cis women are portrayed more consistently as delicate objects of pleasure. While I hope to challenge this representation in my artwork, I find it necessary to take into consideration this context and the reality of societal gender roles. I photographed these two friends and tried to display the affection and vulnerability that goes into friendship but is hardly ever displayed in male relationships. I feel strongly that men (and all people) should be able to display affection for one another without being labeled as "gay", because this notion perpetuates homosexuality as wrong and gross. The stigma against soft men and vulnerable relationships between men is caused by homophobia. I believe that artists and all people have the duty of not playing into gender roles that promote this stigma which feeds into the cycle of toxic masculinity.

By Kaya Nieves

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