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EX ANIMO

All genders can be regulated by the systems of patriarchy – through a photographic story, Luīze aims to widen our understanding of masculinity.

TEXT & PHOTOS LUĪZE NEŽBERTE

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In the 1960s and ‘70s, the Women’s Movement and feminist theory began to draw attention to the fact that gender mattered – importantly discussing the crucial relationship that exists between gender and power. 

In a patriarchal society, men wield power due to their position as heads of state and family, and this kind of social structure informs and defines the attitudes that will be accepted. Feminine behaviours that make it easy for men to uphold and amplify their socioeconomic advantages will be tolerated, but those that challenge the status quo will be discouraged and punished.

Patriarchy seeks to construct and regulate all genders, not just women.

I started to notice these inner conflicts occurring in people around me. I’m not just an observer, but a friend – so it was striking to see this fragile process where both sides of humanity would collide. You could see the moment their fragility and tenderness (which is genderless, but traditionally linked to femininity) would meet old concepts of masculinity that still exist in society: roughness, power, aggression, strength.

It’s important for me to explore masculinity in a way that widens our concept of it – in doing so we will also widen the meaning of femininity. To understand how societies of past and present have failed women, we must also understand their failings for men. 

Some of the grievances put against the masculine identity can be traced back to these shortcomings – as with most things, humans have brought about their own troubles, and become ensnared in a never-ending cycle of harmful and unachievable ideals.