"Masculinity" is a work who tends to question our notion of masculinity through the intimate stories of men who try, in their own way, to deconstruct their gender or, on the contrary, to follow societal norms in order to "be real men". Through its approach, this work attempts to establish a dialogue between our different perceptions of masculinity.
Our masculinity is the result of a social, educational and cultural construction. The behavioral psychologist, Nancy Chodorow, describes a process of "differentiation" which, since childhood, leads boys to build themselves in opposition to femininity. They will follow a masculine model that values virility, independence, and strength while depreciating values perceived as "feminine" related to feelings, compassion, and vulnerability.
Drawing on work in the humanities and philosophy, we take the normative, conception of masculinity through gender stereotypes as a benchmark to unpack. This starting point is essential to understand our photo-documentary approach which approaches gender as a social and not biological construction. To this end, the project is structured around four axes: virility, fatherhood, sexuality and violence.
The work undertaken expresses the idea that a change in male perception is not only possible, but necessary. The approach taken in this project is based on the premise that we live in a patriarchal organization, our society being symbolically, economically and culturally dominated by men. By combining photography and testimonies, "Masculinity" focuses on the injunctions followed or undergone by men themselves.
By leaving the door open to testimonies, this work, which is meant to be inclusive, welcomes men's words in a listening and non-judgmental way. In this desire to explore a new narrative of masculinity, there is as much room for a bodybuilder who defines himself as a "real guy" as there is for KAy, a transgender man who has transitioned from a perceived female identity to a male one and defines himself as non-binary.
Our subject is part of a process of "desempowerment", which feminist writer Francis Dupuis-Déri defines as an individual and collective exercise. It is time for men to turn to their inner boundaries.
While retaining the methodology of documentary and the artistic possibilities of the photographic medium, "Masculinity" seeks to initiate a shift in perception and question our common narrative of masculinity in the hopes of creating a new one.
"I underwent like many men this weight of the representation. I had to correspond to a masculinity which did not correspond to me. You had to hang out with other men, show that you were manly and friendship between a girl and a boy seemed impossible. It seems to be different for my son generation."
"Sexuality is the space where the two sexes intimately meet, it is also a place of reproduction of inequalities. The representation of heterosexual sexuality is that of penetration. Other practices are relegated to the rank of taboo or foreplay."
Martin Page, sociologist