Another day, another rad art project about gender. In an effort to explore the changing dynamics of heterosexual relationships, Spanish photographer Jon Uriarte has taken some striking portraits of men in their girlfriends’ clothes. But unlike the makeup project I discussed recently, this project is more about “masculinity” (and what that even means anymore) than the daily performance expectations placed upon feminized bodies. Writes Uriarte:
“The men under the influence…”adresses the recent change in roles in heterosexual relationships from the relationships of our predecessors and how those changes have affected men in particular. the photos attempt to capture men’s sense of loss reference, now that women have taken a step forward and have finally come into their own as equal partners. The project consists of full-lenght portraits of men wearing the clothes of their girlfriends or wifes, taken in the space shared by the couple.
Given this mission, it makes sense to photograph men in women’s clothing, since nobody blinks an eye anymore when heterosexual women wear, say, pants, but it’s still considered bizarre for a straight man to wear women’s clothing, despite the fact that many male “transvestites” are sexually attracted to women.
It seems like the photos are supposed to be lighthearted, but I sense a certain eroticism to them as well; these are not just men in women’s clothing, but men in the clothing of the women they love, posing in the spaces that they share. How is that not intimate as shit? Granted, I’ve always had a bit of a thing for male crossdressers (I blame The Rocky Horror Picture Show), but even if the subjects feel more silly than sexy, these photos read as something a bit deeper. What if, instead of a “loss of reference,” they might represent something gained? After all, it’s one of feminism’s goals to open up more avenues of expression to everyone, not just women. I know the right wing likes to view us as destroyers of their precious long held traditions, but I fail to see how “making more genders,” as rad-fem thinker Silvia Federici advocates, could do anything but give people more options, not fewer. (I mean, the old ones are still there for anyone who wants them.) The fact that some of the men look quite normal in their girlfriends’ clothing shows that this is already starting to happen.
Photos: Jon Uriarte