Man up; Strip down
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE MASCULINITY?
Masculinity is, I think, just being comfortable with yourself for the most part. You’ve got the classic jock-meat-head-huge-muscle kinda guy, and obviously with my lifting I’m somewhat attracted to that concept of masculinity, but I think that as long as you can kind of rock whatever you’re working with, you’re good to go.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR RACE OR ETHNICITY IMPACTS YOUR CONCEPTS OR UNDERSTANDING OF MASCULINITY? HOW SO?
Probably to a certain degree, because I would think that race and ethnicity are going to provide different full-life experiences of how you understand it. Stereotypes exist for a reason, unfortunately, with cultures, and you can see how that breakdown influences concepts of masculinity for each individual race and ethnicity still.
If you had to describe to someone what a masculine person looked like, how would you do it? (What celebrities or fictional characters comes to mind?)
You saw my tattoo, Superman is sort of my be-all-end-all of everything. I’m quite fanatical. If it wasn’t for having had my real father through most of my life, Superman would always be my ideal to go towards as far as masculinity is concerned. Where you can be that strong and powerful, but still be gentle and have a strong sense of caring and understanding. Knowing when it’s important to enforce that power or knowing when not to utilize it.
Considering this description, how do you feel your body compares? Does this comparison influence how you feel about your body?
I feel very pleased with my body. There’s definitely places I want to take it. My lifting has become more serious and I hope to be quite a bit bigger when all is said and done. I want to look like a five and a half foot tall viking within the next couple of years, for sure. I want to be able to hoist around some big weight, and that will definitely make my body look a certain way. But yeah, I don’t feel bad comparing myself to Superman. Especially when I prefer that he’s more on the gigantic side, also. Personal preference, how I like the art. Not something that I feel like I have issues living up to, though. There’s an ideal in my brain because of it. I’ve always been attracted more towards that classic aesthetic of masculinity, you know? It’s Superman, it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, that kind of look. And I’m definitely striving towards something similar to that, but I don’t feel like less of a man because my deltoids don’t pop them same way.
HOW DOES MASCULINITY HOLD YOU BACK? OR, RATHER, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU LOSE OUT ON ANYTHING BECAUSE OF MASCULINITY? EXPLAIN.
No. I definitely think that the concept can keep quite a few people from experiencing things, but to me being masculine is being comfortable and a lot of things in my life are what many people would consider weird, so I don’t think it impacts it quite the same way. My sexuality is very important to me, I find myself attracted to both men and women. To me it’s not that classic, “Oh, someone’s a fag. They’re not manly.” I don’t think those kinds of aspects really play into it to a strong degree. Or they shouldn’t, in my opinion.
COMPARE THOSE PARTS OF YOUR BODY WITH PARTS OF YOUR BODY THAT YOU’RE LESS SURE ABOUT; PARTS THAT MAYBE AFFECT THE WAY YOU GET READY FOR THE DAY, I.E. GETTING DRESSED, MAINTENANCE, PERSONAL HYGIENE, ETC. STUFF THAT MAYBE YOU’RE SELF CONSCIOUS ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE NOTICING BECAUSE THESE ARE PARTS OF YOUR BODY THAT COMPROMISE YOUR SENSE OF YOUR OWN SEXINESS OR APPEAL.
Actually, I kind of made a conscious decision going into the shoot today along those lines with parts of my body that I’ve traditionally been less comfortable with, I groom myself, but I’m generally a pretty hairy man. I don’t shave my self bare, I like having hair on my chest, but I purposefully left the small amount of hair I have on my shoulders and my back for a reason. it’s always kind of bothered me. It’s something I’ve felt self-conscious about, but it’s also something that I’m actively trying to move past and appreciate just being there. I guess it kind of comes back to weight lifting again: you have those giant, bear-kinda human beings and they’re generally hairy. And so I figure, hey, if I’m going to lift weights I can look the part a little bit. And if it helps me be a little more comfortable with the one aspect of my body that I’ve always felt a little teeter-totter about, then hey.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS SEXIEST ABOUT YOURSELF?
My legs. That’s where that short-shorts life comes from.
WHAT PARTS OF YOUR BODY ARE YOU REALLY COMFORTABLE WITH OR REALLY APPRECIATE? AND WHY?
My legs, again. I work hard for them. They were always kind of naturally there, but they allow me to do, to a high level, the things I enjoy doing. My butt. I like my butt. Got that squat booty and I’m about that, if we’re being vain for a second.
HAVE YOU EVER FELT THAT SOCIETY PRESSURES YOU TO LOOK OR ACT IN CERTAIN WAYS? IF SO, HOW?
Yes. But, I think men actually have a choice these days. Where as traditionally you either look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or a super hero or you don’t fit into the aesthetic of masculinity. Nowadays I think you still have to, but I think as a man you have two choices these days. Unfortunately, both are still on opposite ends of the extremities. You’re either that muscle-bound, giant human being who looks like you could physically deal with anything or you kind of have that super skinny almost androgynous look to you. And I think that those are two very desirable aesthetics of masculinity, but at least we have a choice these days concerning that, but to me there’s not a lot of gray area. I guess you have the whole dadbod thing going on right now, which is great, I just don’t think it’s going to last quite as long as being able to look here with the muscles or here, you’re a toothpick but you have kind of a sleek feminine look to you. I think you have those two options, but just not much in the middle where most people fall. So, I would say there’s still, culturally, that longing or that striving for one or the other.
WHAT DO CHARGED TERMS LIKE “PATRIARCHY” OR “PRIVILEGE” MAKE YOU FEEL? WHY DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY?
Not really any feelings in particular. I can’t say I run across those words too often in my daily life, and so I don’t have anything personally to connect to them. I’m sure that there’s a lot of people that could look at me and be like, “yeah, there’s privileges there for sure,” but I could look at someone else and say the same thing. I’m pretty happy with where I am and what I do. I wake up happy every day so, I don’t know, fuck them.