2017 has been a year of people challenging gender norms. One man has decided to join the trend and dismantle what it means to be masculine through photography.
According to Gay Star News, Matthew Dean Stewart, a photographer based in Portland, Oregon, has started a campaign called Kickstarter for his first book. The photo book features 30 men from five different cities and has them placed in dresses — images meant to question what society deems appropriate for men to wear.
“This book is designed to show how this simple piece of clothing falls on a male body. Not in an elevated sense of drag or impersonating a woman, but how a stripped down male body looks wearing a dress,” Stewart said on his campaign’s site. “Paired with the exact same photo of them nude to celebrate bodies and attempting to break societal gender normalities. Finding the beauty in all types of men with all types of bodies.”
The project, which was three months in the making, was inspired from Stewart’s constant battle with understanding the boxes that society tries to place on men and women.
“The idea for this project came out of a constant frustration of seeing how society separates men and women,’ he told Gay Star News. “No matter what country, we each have specific things we are ‘supposed’ to do according to societal standards. So the question ‘who told us that it was supposed to be this way?’ always comes into my mind, and my work.”
The book will also feature a wide range of creative writers, poets and illustrators that Stewart gathered from social media, depicting what fragile masculinity means to them. Stewart hopes that all these voices coming together can begin a conversation on dismantling these assumed rules that society creates.
“What is it specifically about the dress signifies that it is only for women? And why can't it be socially acceptable for a man to wear any type of clothing. After all, it is just fabric and we should not be afraid of anything that could ‘challenge’ our societal views of masculinity,” Stewart said.
To learn how you can donate to the creation of this book, visit the Kickstarter page here.