Part 01, Masculinities

What is masculinity?
How far can it go?
What can it look like?
Is there a limit?
Who determines it?

Since gender is often still wrongly linked to sex, the assumption is that men need to be ‘masculine’ and women need to be ‘feminine’. Does this mean that men must only be ‘masculine’ and women always ‘feminine’? And what about people who do not conform to these concepts all together? Is it possible that our binary idea of gender is limiting not only to the minority but to most people in our society?
To find answers to these questions, photographer and artist Aline Pape started her project Modern Gender, Masculinities in 2020. She searches for men and people assigned masculine at birth (amab) in different cities around Germany via online platforms to work with them. She offers participants traditionally ‘feminine’ attributes such as clothes, jewelry, and nail polish, thereby opening up a free space in which people are allowed to experiment with their ‘feminine’ side in terms of their appearance. With this process she attempts to change the ‘gender expression’ of men to see how their ‘gender performance’ and therefore their ‘habitus’ transformed. Some wear such clothing for the first time.
It became an experiment to see how far photography can influence social processes by questioning the problematic and normalised representations of ‘masculinity’ while highlighting alternatives outside of the binary.

In late 2022 the project was released as a photo book box in collaboration with GRAVUR Verlag, in a limited edition of 100 handmade books.
The work was showcased in a solo exhibition in Paris in May 2023 and is currently touring with selected works and the book throughout Germany.
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