"The CALM report, A Crisis in Modern Masculinity: Understanding the Causes of Male Suicide, analysed the pressures and expectations that men and women face in their daily lives, and concluded that men are failing to cope, as well as keeping their problems hidden from others."-http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11238596/A-crisis-of-masculinity-men-are-struggling-to-cope-with-life.html
“It’s not cross-dressing for me to wear a suit,” she said. “It’s cross-dressing for me to wear a dress.” -http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/fashion/a-masculine-silhouette-tailored-for-her.html
"Is there anything less appealing at this moment than being thought of as a ‘man’s man’? After Trump, after Weinstein, after Spacey, and after and all of the other toxic sludge that emerged over the course of the past year, it’s hard to imagine there’s anyone left in the Western world for whom masculinity is the ideal.
This is posing an interesting question for menswear designers. As the men’s shows roll on to Milan and Paris, Vogue Runway articulated it neatly last week: if fashion should mirror the cultural moment, how do you create men’s clothes when manliness itself is viewed as synonymous with exploitation, arrogance, greed and stupidity? Certainly, the fashion brands that are still clinging to an idealised vision of masculinity feel out of step with the times: even Mr Porter, which was built on an image of mid-century gentleman’s clubs and perfectly-folded pocket squares, has inched away from its former aesthetic towards something less neatly starched.
What’s more, the menswear brands that flourished in 2017 did so either by abandoning conventional ideals of manliness. Gucci’s men looked like Gucci’s women, festooned in a mish-mash of sequins, embroidery, and lurid colour. Balenciaga – the other label which dominated the cultural conversation – satirised the restrictions of traditional menswear, presenting outsized and distorted takes on shirts, ties, and tailoring, stamped with corporate logos. And the biggest breakout designers of the past year were unified by a willingness to challenge normative ideas of gender, from Grace Wales Bonner’s quietly intellectual reframing of masculinity to to Telfar Clemens’ athletic take on androgyny. Both moved beyond being media darlings, racking up stockists, winning awards, and forcing even the most conservative critics to take them seriously.
“IF FASHION SHOULD MIRROR THE CULTURAL MOMENT, HOW DO YOU CREATE MEN’S CLOTHES WHEN MANLINESS ITSELF IS VIEWED AS SYNONYMOUS WITH EXPLOITATION, ARROGANCE, GREED AND STUPIDITY?”
Alexander Fury, the fashion critic and editor of AnOther, sees a parallel between now and the gender-bending fashions of the late 1980s. “Both periods are playing against an overarching mood of political conservatism,” he says. “Boy George and the flamboyance of Westwood emerged at the height of Thatcherism, just as our current opulent moment is a counterpoint to Trump and Brexit. Perhaps it’s because men in suits are now the bad guys.” To Fury, this can only be a positive: “I don’t think that masculinity itself has become unfashionable. The more exciting thing is that its meaning is being challenged.”
Christopher Shannon, who elected not to show this season, is among the designers rethinking what masculinity signifies to him. “I’m not sure what it means any more. Traditional masculinity always feels a bit Guy Ritchie to me,” he explains. “It’s like a kind of bunting nostalgia for a time I don’t think ever really existed.” His collections, increasingly, seem at once to celebrate and parody the tropes of masculinity: baggy denim erupts into bursts of frills; tracksuits snake around the body like a cocktail dress; and sports shorts are cut to the proportions of hotpants. It’s this tension that he relishes. “I think a lot of my choices are informed by my loathing of male clichés,” he explains. “But I’m not interested in overplaying gender. For me, the interesting point is the in-between.”
“BOY GEORGE AND THE FLAMBOYANCE OF WESTWOOD EMERGED AT THE HEIGHT OF THATCHERISM, JUST AS OUR CURRENT OPULENT MOMENT IS A COUNTERPOINT TO TRUMP AND BREXIT” – ALEXANDER FURY
Is there a risk, though, that setting traditional masculinity afloat could make the men’s collections themselves redundant? Already, ever-increasing numbers of fashion brands (including Calvin Klein, Burberry and Bottega Veneta) are scrapping their dedicated men’s shows, choosing instead to elide their women’s and men’s collections into a joint catwalk. And, though the concept of ‘gender-neutral’ clothing has been overused to the point of meaninglessness, it showed that there is a market for less obviously gendered clothing. Simon Chilvers, men’s style director at MATCHESFASHION.COM, has seen unisex clothing meet a strong reaction from consumers. “Brands like Gucci have shown that clothes no longer have to be aimed at only one gender,” he says. “And their success shows that there’s a generation who no longer care about traditional gender codes when it comes to fashion.” So isn’t it possible that the aesthetics of traditional menswear could fade into irrelevance?
Personally, I’d like to see more designers prod, probe and play with the stereotypes of manliness. The Milan shows are next, and many of the city’s designers have followed Gucci into ever-increasing embellishment and opulence in their recent men’s collections. But I’m nostalgic for the Milanese shows of the early noughties, which presented a thrumming, virile vision of full-blooded testosterone. It was masculinity, as presented through prism of gay male desire. It turned the straight man into a sex object. It felt raunchy, and almost subversive. Versace, in particular, was once notorious for its unabashed celebration of male flesh. Perhaps Donatella could be the one to show us how to enjoy masculinity again: by giving it all the irreverence it deserves.
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN
- change a "normal" fashion campaign- something everyone is familiar with
- Collaging moving images- juxtapose with still images
- using the typography
- mixing recognised brands with others
- I guess question what makes a brand so "recognisable"
- current issues
- ways the logo is pronounced
FILM AND THE MOVING BODY
ON THE STREET
- The New Aristocrats- Harper's Bazaar Australia hile researching any already existing editorials where the styling was heavily influenced by the Victorian Era, I came across this editorial. It gave me a lot of inspiration for how I would myself style outfits for my publication.
- I enjoy how Karla Clark styled the models with rich and deep colours that exude power and royalty.
- There seems to be a good link between the chosen surroundings and the garments itself.
- I especially like how there is a mixture of shapeless clothing and tighter clothing to juxtapose each other.
- Using a variety of coats is an aspect I want to incorporate into my styling as coats are quite oversized and shapeless.
Ethan James Green
- Prominently works for menswear magazines
- The styling is simple yet strong
- it's got both a 'boy' and 'man' style. What Imean here is that the styling is ery clean but there are elements of playfulness in it.
[Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eugène_Atget,_Chiffonier_-_Getty_Museum.jpg]
- Attention on the man and the vehicle due to the blurred background
- Day to day life- normal every day life
- Everyday people- the ragpicker
- The ragpicker is not very high in society (they can easily be replaced by own or horses) so as the ragpicker is the main subject of this photograph- bearing in mind that a photograph taken at that time was not instant and took a lot of planning and waiting- it creates a statement. There's a purpose behind choosing to photograph the ragpicker. What could be that purpose? I think it enables the viewer to get a closer look into the life in Paris at the time. He is putting importance in the simple everyday aspects of life there.
[image source from: http://monovisions.com/eugene-atget/]
- I found this particularly compelling as the image looks like it was taken instantly- in the sense that it captures a moment of daily life. However, I know that taking photographs at that time took a long time to shoot and so this scene had to be set up.
- He is very good at creating scenes that look natural- staged environment that looks natural. Could this be because the models are comfortable in the environment?
[image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eugène_Atget_-_L%27Éclipse,_avril_1912_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg]
- The photograph depicts a crowd averting their gaze to look at the solar eclipse
- Atget has focused on the crowd over the solar eclipse that had caught their attention- why?
- Touches on the simple things in life
- access the soul
- portrait photographer
- tells a "story" "personality"
- ordinary/average people that he cleverly places in a frame to create a narrative
- professional/ industry/identities
- captured a country at a time of change
- focuses on the real aspects of the country ie homeless/outcasts/tramps
- controversial- he pays people in poverty to act as a character essentially. He pays them to act poor.
THOUGHTS ON MASCULINITY- TRYING TO SORT OUT THOUGHTS
Having been stuck on how I perceived masculinity for a long time, I discussed the topic with a non fashion communication friend. We just generally had a conversation about the topic at hand which helped me to start sorting out my thoughts and ideas about"masculinity" and "contemporary masculinity". After a while, I realised that my brain was frazzled due to the polar opposites of the meanings of masculinity and contemporary masculinity. While explaining my thoughts on both these themes at the same time, I realised I was trying to create some sort of link between the two contrasting themes. Going along with this theme, I ventured into some recent articles that touched on the subject of masculinity, I avidly looked for the reasons for why the concept of masculinity and contemporary masculinity was so obviously different. In doing so, I found very recent articles on how the image of a manly man is completed hated on and how we do not want to associate ourselves with this image due to Trump being pro "manly". Fashion designers such as Mr Porter, who originally always took inspiration from traditional masculinity has started to move away from the rigid structures of the garments and in its stead brought more expressive, free-er flowing clothing. Designers have started to change the way they look at the actual form and sway off menswear garments. This ties in with how men tend to not express themselves which hinders their chances of creating a truly strong, meaningful relationship with their friends and thus leaves them more vulnerable than when they first started off with. Research has shown that this has lead to a rise in male suicides and is the leading contributor to this. This appalled me. In a society that is lead by feminism, we much remember that feminism is the EQUALITY of males and females. In the job market, females may have this advantage which is currently being address. However, in just focusing on women we have neglected the urgent need to give males the emotional support needed to live in this harsh life. Instead of facing this problem face on, designers have tacked this issue through fashion, creating swaying and looser fitting forms and losing the rigidness of traditional menswear in order to create more emotion within the strides of the men. In this sense, we can see where the notion of contemporary masculinity has come from. However, I have a sense that the perceptions of masculinity are not just shifting but are getting overtaken by femininity, leaving many men confused on what they should be- a flower boy or a macho man. For example, in the London Fashion Week Mens, I was surprised to see how women were cast to walk down the runway. Originally I wanted to base my project on the concept of femininity completely taking over masculinity. For my visuals, I wanted to create a series of photos. The photos would start off with a female wearing very masculine clothes and then as the publication progresses, the model adds on clothing that is much more feminine in nature. By the end of the publication, the females;e model would be wearing a feminine outfit. This could also be done the opposite way where a male starts from the back of the publication (wearing feminine clothes) and then shifting into more masculine outfits. Or this idea completely reversed.
Traditionally, hijras were employed as singers and dancers, often serving the retinues of rulers both Hindu and Muslim. Additionally, they were, and are, seen as agents of fertility and attend births and weddings and bless the occasions in return for payment. They are an undeniable part of the country's social landscape and enjoy high visibility, with most Indians encountering them regularly while going about their lives.
In 1871, the British colonial government passed a sweeping law that criminalized entire sections of society, including hijras, who they said were "addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences." From then on, hijras and other "third-gender" communities could be arrested on the spot. Hijras have since been "denotified," but the legacy of that law, and the discrimination it spawned, haunts them to this day. In post-colonial India, hijras have been locked out of most professions, and it is common to see them begging on trains and at stoplights. A great many participate in the sex industry, and the rate of HIV among hijras is more than 100 times the national average. Recent studies document a wide range in prevalence, from 17.5 percent to 41 percent.
With greater access to information, some hijras have opted to identify as transgender. Others have taken advantage of sex-reassignment and breast-enlargement surgery. There have been steps toward greater participation in public life — India recently saw its first hijra mayor and school principal. The definition of India's "third gender" is necessarily in flux.
In public settings — such as when one encounters hijras asking for money on a train or blessing a wedding — many are boisterous and engaging. Much of Indian society stigmatizes them, but hijras typically clap as they approach passersby: a demand for recognition of their existence.
Hijras are officially recognized as third gender in South Asian countries, being considered neither completely male nor female. Hijras have a recorded history in the Indian subcontinent from antiquity onwards as suggested by the Kama Sutra period.
Many hijras live in well-defined and organised all-hijra communities, led by a guru. These communities have sustained themselves over generations by "adopting" boys who are in abject poverty, rejected by, or flee, their family of origin. Many work as sex workers for survival.
The word "hijra" is a Hindi-Urdu word, derived from the Semitic Arabic root hjr in its sense of "leaving one's tribe". The Indian usage has traditionally been translated into English as "eunuch" or "hermaphrodite", where "the irregularity of the male genitalia is central to the definition." However, in general hijras are born male, only a few having been born with intersexvariations. Some Hijras undergo an initiation rite into the hijra community called nirwaan, which refers to the removal of the penis, scrotum and testicles.
Since the late 20th century, some hijra activists and Western non-government organizations (NGOs) have lobbied for official recognition of the hijra as a kind of "third sex" or "third gender", as neither man nor woman. Hijras have successfully gained this recognition in Bangladesh and are eligible for priority in education. In India, the Supreme Court in April 2014 recognised hijra and transgender, eunuchs, intersex people as a 'third gender' in law. Nepal, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh have all legally accepted the existence of a third gender, with India including an option for them on passports and certain official documents.
Franciscan travelers in the 1650s noted the presence of "Men and boys who dress like women" roaming the streets of Thatta, in modern Pakistan. The presence of these individuals was taken to be a sign of the city's depravity. During the era of the British Raj, authorities attempted to eradicate hijras, whom they saw as "a breach of public decency." Anti-hijra laws were repealed; but a law outlawing castration, a central part of the hijra community, was left intact, though rarely enforced. Also during British rule in India they were placed under the Criminal Tribes Act 1871 and labelled a "criminal tribe", hence subjected to compulsory registration, strict monitoring and stigmatized for a long time; after independence however they were denotified in 1952, though the centuries-old stigma continues.
The word kothi (or koti) is common across India, similar to the Kathoey of Thailand, although kothis are often distinguished from hijras. Kothis are regarded as feminine men or boys who take a feminine role in sex with men, but do not live in the kind of intentional communities that hijras usually live in. Additionally, not all kothis have undergone initiation rites or the body modification steps to become a hijra. Local equivalents include durani (Kolkata), menaka (Cochin),meti (Nepal), and zenana (Pakistan).
In some versions of the Ramayana, when Rama leaves Ayodhya for his 14-year exile, a crowd of his subjects follow him into the forest because of their devotion to him. Soon Rama notices this, and gathers them to tell them not to mourn, and that all the "men and women" of his kingdom should return to their places in Ayodhya. Rama then leaves and has adventures for 14 years. When he returns to Ayodhya, he finds that the hijras, being neither men nor women, have not moved from the place where he gave his speech. Impressed with their devotion, Rama grants hijras the boon to confer blessings on people during auspicious inaugural occasions like childbirth and weddings. This boon is the origin of badhai in which hijras sing, dance, and give blessings.
Mahabharata includes an episode in which Arjun, a hero of the epic, is sent into an exile. There he assumes an identity of a eunuch-transvestite and performs rituals during weddings and childbirths that are now performed by hijras.
In the Mahabharata, before the Kurukshetra War, Iravan offers his lifeblood to goddess Kali to ensure the victory of the Pandavas, and Kali agrees to grant him power. On the night before the battle, Iravan expresses a desire to get married before he dies. No woman was willing to marry a man doomed to die in a few hours, so Arjuna as Brihinala marries him. In South India, hijras claim Iravan as their progenitor and call themselves "aravanis".
Each year in Tamil Nadu, during April and May, hijras celebrate an eighteen-day religious festival. The aravani temple is located in the village Koovagam in the Ulundurpet taluk in Villupuram district, and is devoted to the deity Koothandavar, who is identified with Aravan. During the festival, the aravanis reenact a story of the wedding of Lord Krishna and Lord Aravan, followed by Aravan's subsequent sacrifice. They then mourn Aravan's death through ritualistic dances and by breaking their bangles. An annual beauty pageant is also held, as well as various health and HIV or AIDS seminars. Hijras from all over the country travel to this festival. A personal experience of the hijras in this festival is shown in the BBC Three documentary India's Ladyboys and also in the National Geographic Channel television series Taboo.
Ardhanarishwara (Sanskrit: अर्धनारीश्वर, Ardhanārīśwara) is a composite androgynous form of the Hindu God Shiva and his consort Parvati (also known as Devi, Shakti and Uma in this icon). Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. The right half is usually the male Shiva, illustrating his traditional attributes.
The earliest Ardhanarishvara images are dated to the Kushan period, starting from the first century CE. Its iconography evolved and was perfected in the Gupta era. The Puranas and various iconographic treatises write about the mythology and iconography of Ardhanarishvara. While Ardhanarishvara remains a popular iconographic form found in most Shiva temples throughout India, very few temples are dedicated to this deity.
Ardhanarishvara represents the synthesis of masculine and feminine energies of the universe (Purusha and Prakriti) and illustrates how Shakti, the female principle of God, is inseparable from (or the same as, according to some interpretations) Shiva, the male principle of God. The union of these principles is exalted as the root and womb of all creation. Another view is that Ardhanarishvara is a symbol of Shiva's all-pervasive nature."
"The name Ardhanarishvara means "the Lord Who is half woman." Ardhanarishvara is also known by other names like Ardhanaranari ("the half man-woman"), Ardhanarisha ("the Lord who is half woman"), Ardhanarinateshvara ("the Lord of Dance Who is half-woman"), Parangada, Naranari ("man-woman"), Ammiappan (a Tamil Name meaning "Mother-Father"), and Ardhayuvatishvara (in Assam, "the Lord whose half is a young woman or girl"). The Gupta-era writer Pushpadanta in his Mahimnastavarefers to this form as dehardhaghatana ("Thou and She art each the half of one body"). Utpala, commenting on the Brihat Samhita, calls this form Ardha-gaurishvara ("the Lord whose half is the fair one"; the fair one – Gauri – is an attribute of Parvati). The Vishnudharmottara Purana simply calls this form Gaurishvara ("The Lord/husband of Gauri)."
CASUAL TALK WITH DAD ABOUT THE TOPIC OF MASCULINITY IN INDIA
At first, he did describe masculinity in India and it sounded exactly the same as the stereotypical macho-man. However I started digging deeper into Indian traditions and our gods...
Kenneth Nicholson's third menswear collection comes at a peculiar moment in the American zeitgeist. His spring/summer 2017 lookbook of tweed tunics and denim flares, debuting exclusively here on VICE, stands in stark contrast to the hyper-masculine, aggressive culture that currently has a chokehold on the nation. Nicholson is one of a few talented, young menswear designers who are redefining how the Western man is expected to dress. With gender-neutral silhouettes and elaborate finishes like velvet buttons and ruffled trim, his clothes blur the boundaries between classic menswear tailoring and the elegant flourishes found in high-end womenswear.
"I don't want to be forceful about it. I'm aware that I can't just jolt people," the designer says to me over the phone from his Los Angeles studio. "There's a story—people have to come along. I start off from a point of familiarity, where people can recognize certain elements, but then also see how some of it might be challenging conventional menswear." The tunic, for example, has been a constant in each of his three collections: first in linen last spring, then in velvet brocade for fall 2016, and now sleeveless and denim. While Nicholson's precise tailoring is typical of menswear, the tunic's hip-length hem is less traditional—at least on this side of the world. "I spent a little bit of time in Afghanistan, so I was introduced to their common ways of dress," Nicholson says. The Texas native, who graduated from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, worked abroad after four years in the Navy. "To see the notion of movement in their clothing as a culture, and to see it on the men, was inspiring."
The rigidity in design and function of modern menswear is part of Nicholson's frustration with the current options available for guys. "In womenswear, they're allowed to experience the romance of just a simple movement of walking down the street," he says, noting the differences in silhouettes and fabrics that allow for greater physical self-expression between the genders. "Men don't really have that option. I want my clothes to allow men to engage in an emotional way when it comes to the way they dress and how they self-present."
Nicholson's aesthetic is deferential to the 1970s, when even the hardest guy wore bell bottoms and a flamboyant button down. Though these are sartorial qualities we'd consider more feminine today, consider Richard Roundtree or Prince, who proved that there's something about the swing of a wide-legged pant hem or the gentle folds of a tucked-in waist that can heighten a man's swag, sex appeal, and sense of self. Pulling off these softer silhouettes today requires a similar gutsiness, says Nicholson. He cites Young Thug as an example. "I'm really inspired by what he's doing with his fashion choices," he says. "I think his bravado and his vibe fit that bold fashion choice."
Still, Nicholson realizes that everyone is not an androgynous, superstar rapper. So he is gingerly nudging fashion-forward men awake, challenging them to take back their sartorial independence in a culture that lamely celebrates sameness. Kenneth Nicholson's plaid linen dress shirt isn't necessarily radical—it's versatile enough to be worn with just about anything. But when its paired with Nicholson's denim maritime swishers, it's elevated into a look that would make people turn heads. "When people dress and make those deliberate sartorial options, they're doing it because they're finding joy in it," he says. "In a political climate like this, joy is essential. And I think that is the revolution: to dare to be joyous in the face of adversity."
Inspired by the findings of her MA fashion research, Saunders’ project will unpack the complicated relationship gender and race – something she considers “deeply important”.
“With all the people we’ve spoken to there was an explicit link between slight nuances of perceived femininity, like maybe like a gold earring and reactions from their friends saying: “You’re gay,” she explained.
“It’s really weird how masculinity gets entwined with sexuality that is why the guys in my collection look vulnerable. They’re almost scared to talk about it ‘incorrectly’. That’s why I called the project Personal Politics because it was all these silent conversations you’re having through style and behaviour”
The marriage of mediums paints a much fuller picture than her fashion show. Her exhibition includes a look at the collection shot by rising star Adama Jalloh, a research film entitled Permission in collaboration with Akinola Davies JR (Crack Stevens), and a zine containing poetry by Seye Isikalu and Dazed 100 alumni Caleb Femi and James Massiah.
Her take on the sartorial choices of West Indian men is set against an urban backdrop of high-rises and supermarket car parks. She aptly contrasts the streetwear with heavy blush to illustrate the poems like ‘God save the gully’, in her zine. Abondance Matanda’s words ask for deliverance from ‘misdirected testosterone of young black men in her community, and echo the intimate conversations displayed in Davies Jr’s short.
DESIGNERS TO RESEARCH
- Mr Porter
- Gucci's men collection
- Balenciaga- satire restriction of traditional menswear- making fun
- Grace Wales Bonner's
- Telfar Clemens athletic take on androgyny
- Calvin Klein
- bottega veneta - joint catwalk
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN
FILM AND THE MOVING BODY
ON THE STREET
Anna Dello Russo
- Colour the leading part of the image- colour telling a story
- Colour is the subject
- CINEMATIC- looks at the world at a grand view
- Elevates subjets