7 digital photographic prints,
80 x 102 cm (per photograph).
In a world where men are told to ‘man up’, ‘grow a pair’, and ‘don’t be a pussy’, young men have to fight to express themselves. In my series of photographs, Boys Do(n’t) Cry, I explore the nature of toxic masculinity in various countries around the world, (Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Scotland to name a few) through conversations and a photographic process that discusses the way in which young men are raised. The men photographed discussed growing up in an environment where they were taught that being a man meant that you couldn’t show emotions. Every young man spoke of defining moments in their upbringing where they were taught and learnt that it was safer not to express how they were feeling: “I grew up mainly with a group of friends that were guys. I would never cry in front of them”, “Almost all of the issues that I had with my ex came from the fact that I couldn’t express myself”, “I began to cry so my dad slapped me and said ‘don’t do that”. This process of learnt avoidance and dismissal creates a tension between how young men feel and the inability to fully express themselves, which is clearly depicted in my photographic series Boys Do(n’t) Cry.