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"BOYS DONT CRY" | Challenging the Social Constructs of Masculinity

“Boys Don’t Cry” is an ode to men of colour who are subjected to societal pressures that hinder them from engaging with their softer and emotional expressions. In this series I highlight the beautiful, fragile dichotomy of the male form and expression. Summed up, “Boys Don’t Cry” is a series about the burdening weight that men face in a world where vulnerability is seen as a disservice to said men.

Men are raised in such a way that they need to be strong, both physically and emotionally to constantly keep up with appearances of masculinity and in turn puts them in strange place of trying to fight off their deeper and more true selves . I wanted to depict this struggle in the medium of styling by giving men a feminine, softer feel to illustrate the vulnerability that men also experience. Moreover, I wanted to demonstrate that it is okay too for men to show emotion by dismantling the notion of “Boys Don’t Cry.”

I used female clothing quite purposefully and the reason is twofold:

1) As a means to show that, even in feminine clothing a man is still a man. In other words, even if he wears his emotions on his sleeves, it does not disqualify his masculinity.

2) To perpetuate men embracing their more intimate selves

As a society we need to encourage our boys to tap into their emotions, so as to grow into a generation of men that knows how to connect, how to empathise, how to love. We box boys up in a construct that prescribes how boys are meant to be, and how they are not meant to be. Instead of truly letting them be in a world where there are no prescriptions attached to gender. If this series, makes men who are brought up with a traditional school of thought, feel uncomfortable and question why they feel this way. It will have done its job. If this series makes men feel understood and accepted for their inner “femininity”, again, it will have done its job.


Photography: Simzphoto

Concept and Creative direction: Lindiwe Mayisela

Models: Julian Tamuka and Chris Mafuka

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