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As a society, we are emotionally constipated. More specifically, the pressures on men to conform to “masculine” attributes like aggression, physical strength, and stoicism have attributed to the phenomenon of toxic masculinity. Many men encompass these characteristics as a shield against scrutiny and vulnerability, especially among their male peers.
This emotional suppression has a damaging effect on women and femmes in interpersonal relationships.
Unwillingly placed in the role of caretaker, these folks are expected to bear the brunt of violent outbursts and manipulation while existing as sources of emotional labor to help unpack the “feminine” feelings beneath the surface.
These concepts are explored metaphorically in “Plastic Heart” by the model emulating a plastic doll–complete with a plastic heart.
The photo series masterfully weaves together the conflicting nature of compassion and torment. Pastel hues and sweetheart silhouettes serve as a stark juxtaposition to the underlying themes of objectification. Only when we face the gripping realities of rigid gender roles can we work to dismantle them.
This feature is published as part of the 2018 Love and Loss Issue ©