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"Not only women can be feminine" - Amin McDonald explores hyper-masculinity in the black community

Words by Amin Mcdonald

To include men and a woman in this shoot was something that I was unsure about. But I realised that the term 'masculine' isn't always associated with a male subject. This to me was an opportunity to subtly re-represent a perspective on masculinity. The term is so broad. I decided to frame a woman as masculine role model as well and, I felt that someone who identifies as a woman can be just as masculine as someone who identifies as a man. For example, if masculinity is linked with the word strength, then I'm sure we can all agree that our mothers are the strongest women around. Doing this was an opportunity to peel off the labels that say only a men can be masculine and only women can be feminine. 

I think masculinity needs to be seen as a more empathetic thing amongst men. Coming from a deprived black community, I personally felt that the development of emotions was prohibited. We don't always have to be hyper-masculine because that eventually becomes toxic. There are times where we need to support and catch each other and when that happens it's beautiful to see. 

I can't speak on the behalf of everybody to answer why there is a promotion of hyper-masculinity. However, there are times when I was growup in East London and I've noticed that being hyper-masculine meant that you were able to 'fit in'. It meant that you were accepted by others and that created unity. Looking at my younger brothers, the circle is still being created now. Nothing has changed. 

I wanted the subjects to be surrounded by locations that represented London individually. As much as I wanted to represent masculinity globally, my main aim was to personally frame how the term masculinity is represented. The estate buildings, the brick walls, the beautiful diverse decorations, etc. they all represented that independently. The rug was just a beautiful decor that I found on the street. Its main purpose was to act as a symbolic piece of nostalgia.


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