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Census masculinity

What masculinity means in 2019, according to Dazed Beauty readers


TextAlex PetersIllustrationCallum Abbott

Here’s what you said...

Welcome to Behind The Masc: Rethinking Masculinity, a campaign dedicated to exploring what ‘masculinity’ means in 2019. With photo stories shot in Tokyo, India, New York, and London and in-depth features exploring mental health, older bodybuilders, and myths around masculinity – we present all the ways people around the world are redefining traditional tropes.

This week at Dazed Beauty, we are turning our focus to masculinity with our photo-led campaign Behind The Masc: Rethinking Masculinity. These days, when we hear about masculinity it is often prefixed by the term ‘toxic.’ And not without reason. The harmful (to everyone) behaviours encompassed by toxic masculinity have long needed to be interrogated and challenged. But in the process of this, masculinity itself – inherently a neutral trait – can be demonised. With our new campaign, we wanted to look beyond the prescribed set of ideas that have surrounded traditional masculinity for so long and celebrate the beauty of the masculine in all its expansive glory. But what are those prescribed ideas? We wanted to know what you, our readers, thought about when you thought about masculinity. What does the word mean to you? What connotations does it have both positive and negative? Here’s what you said.

MASCULINITY IS...

...Whatever you want it to be:

“Nothing and whatever you want it to be. The concept of masculinity and femininity is so ephemeral to me, but it's subjective. To me, it's nothing, if not a popular stereotype, whatever it might be.” – @tranvi0ne

“Modern masculinity is whatever and whoever you are, if you identify as male - it is only biologically opposite to femininity. Masculine doesn’t end where feminine begins” 💙– @ultramarineofficial 

“I think it’s just an idea that varies from person to person. It carries weight so it can be a tough topic at times. Nonetheless it is an idea to me that can be formed and sculpted from generation to generation” – @reyjoselito38

“Being conscious that it doesn’t just come in one form, and making up your own blend” – @jean_babtou_666

...A quality that isn’t tied to a gender:

“I usually relate masculinity as the fatherly figure, no-binary genders involved, just what it represents. It speaks to me through the power of being out there showing your raw soul, to be calm and loving for others, to stand for what you believe despite the first impression you might get. Being masculine is breaking the shell and challenge life.” – @imyoa

“As a womxn, I must protect and respect my masculinity and give it equal opportunity to grow.” – @noirskin 

“I like to think of masculinity of a bond that binds us regardless of class, creed, colour or gender. I think creating a dialogue around masculinity and teaching young men that they are not defined by societies prejudiced perception of them is important.” – @i.swarles

“I believe it all comes down to power/ character strength and consistency. However it's easy to not be sure about what masculinity is as an abstract notion in today's age of giving power back to womanhood and of linking femininity to a form of strength.  I really do think that this is just the result of our generation's efforts to blend femininity with masculinity, to find a 50-50 ratio that individuals can assume (tbh i stan this). Masculinity today has nothing to do with a particular gender, just the way femininity has nothing to do with a particular gender either. Each one of them can be found in every individual and it's up to us how we decide to approach it.” – @fka_ryuuma

...Staying true to yourself:

“Owning every part of you; the soft, hard, emotional and joyousness - everything that makes you, you. Letting yourself feel all the emotions, and expressing yourself as you please.” – @eseveco

“Masculinity means staying true to yourself, living by a moral compass that makes you happy, placing value in yourself instead of defining yourself by what others will tell you is masculine.” – @vulgarteen

“It means to be comfortable with whoever you are regardless of gender!” – @pogggffrtty

“Being able to be the human that I am” – @saintbravo

“Not letting stereotypes stop you from doing whatever you want to do.” – @underwater_groove 

“Being able to act ‘feminine’, ‘gay’ or ‘unmanly’ and being confident even if people degrade you.” – @fran_da_mug

...Strength and respect:

“Being brave, taking risks and having responsibilities” – @playerinthegame

“Strength in vulnerability + softness - secure in myself!!” – @c0nn0r_busby 

“Duty and responsibility” – @azeddprattphoto 

“Helping to shoulder the load” – @scottjordan3832 

“Resolute” – @je.wel8422 

“Respecting women” – @akolumna 

“Being emotionally intelligent” – @katej.psd 

“Masculine traits. Dominant, non-emotional, assertive, independent, competitive, rational thinking, protective. I consider myself an extremely masculine female & i tend to attract feminine-trained men!” – @fiveam 

“Beauty in the male form” – @hanniemozz

…Seen in a negative light:

“Toxic” – @jackfrostrollin

“Sadly it has become a very negative word, it’s hard to see masculinity as a positive now” – @garethharrismua 

“Insecurity” – @georgecassavetes 

“Bad.” – @miramisleh

“As it’s best, I feel neutral towards it. I rarely do.” – @emi__grace

...Not real:

“A performance… just like femininity” – @mod_3001

“Shitty useless concept, same as femininity” – @ruki_gjyrzi

...Physical:

“Chromosomes XX (XY?)” – @_purple__velvet_

“Being a trans man, for me it means t – shots 😻” – @trexskateboardsmileyneon

Read more from Behind The Masc: Rethinking Masculinity here.

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