Fascinating Photos of Men Who Identify as Masculine

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What defines masculinity? This is the question photographer Chad States asked the subjects of his fascinating series Masculinities. The artist finds his models through Craigslist by placing an ad seeking those who identify as being masculine. “I intentionally leave it gender-neutral so males, females and transpeople feel free to respond. Most of the respondents are men, but a few are female and a few are trans. I posted to a bunch of different categories to cast as wide a net as possible,” the photographer said in a recent interview.

States meets them in their homes for the first time to maintain a sense of vulnerability between artist and model. Every pose and setting is up to the subject: “I want them to construct their identity for me, not for me to decide what I want from them.”

The series is accompanied by a definition or explanation of masculinity written by the subject. The images, and responses, range from appalling, to bizarre, and sometimes refreshing. States hopes the images will spark a greater conversation about gender, and in part, wanted to offer “a way for anyone who might have issues with their relationship to their own masculinity to have a chance to be seen and heard.”

See how 12 men define their masculinity in our gallery.

Photo credit: Chad States

“I have been called a SNAG (sensitive new age guy), a renaissance man, a male in touch with his feminine side, etc…. I think that I am masculine in the sense of self reliance.”

Photo credit: Chad States

“The first thing I do when I walk into a room is figure out which man could kick my ass and which female I would like to fuck. Sometimes this is so subconscious it is alarming.”

Photo credit: Chad States

“I feel that I am not only masculine in gender but also in speech, the way I act and the way I posture myself. It has been like this from birth. I like to pass as a guy, I just don’t want to have his stuff.”

Photo credit: Chad States

“I want to show that, despite stereotypes, that gay men can be masculine too.”

Photo credit: Chad States

“I am masculine because I abandon women after taking their love. Because when you study Freud you don’t let him study you. Because I study philosophy, not literature.”

Photo credit: Chad States

“I feel masculine when I am home, I can take care of myself. I often feel emasculated when I leave the apartment though, with everyone asking me if I need help. I don’t need any help.”

Photo credit: Chad States

“I am strong emotionally, have always stood up for myself and fear nothing. I happen to be physically strong but that isn’t where I derive my masculinity.”

Photo credit: Chad States

“To be masculine is to dominate in one’s field of study.”

Photo credit: Chad States

“Masculinity is an attitude. I feel that I’m masculine because I carry myself as such. It doesn’t have anything to do with what you drive or how many women or kids you have.”

Photo credit: Chad States

“I am finally happy with my body, my maleness and masculinity. Boy, it took me a long time. I even revel in the little bit of extra weight I’ve gained… it seems like I’ve overcome a hurdle that dogged me for so long; i.e. I’ve overcome that thinness that made me feel less than male.”

Photo credit: Chad States

“In my mind I am masculine. I feel I don’t have to prove it to anyone who might think otherwise (I don’t care what others think).”

Photo credit: Chad States

“Men aren’t being men anymore; they aren’t taking care of women.”