Photos: Michelle Terris
The most fulfilling relationships I’ve experienced with men in my life (all relationship types) have been with those who’ve ventured to challenge their emotional barriers and brave the menacing waters of vulnerability. Heartbreakingly, these moments of engendered “risk” were often followed by an apology for being “too emotional”, a plea for their true identities to be seen. The irony that the limitations and emotional constraints we place on our men actually leads to less fulfilling relationships with men, tells us that a transformation is needed. A transformation in our treatment of men as a culture. A transformation in our understanding of men as souls thirsting for love. A transformation into a more holistic view of masculinity and the decision to discard that which exists as a symptom of the tiresome plague of patriarchy, and above all, patriarchy itself.
It is our work to transform the limiting perspectives we evoke on femininity and masculinity thoroughly enough to create the experience of internal freedom for all individuals, embracing the strengths of both within each of us and the balance it can create in our emotional lives and in our relationships. We must discard the patriarchy within each of us and begin seeing our men as the boys they once were, in need of connection and love. And to the boys that we will raise in the future, we must provide to them the freedom to express themselves authentically into adulthood without fear of shame. To encourage this embrace of the soul will transform our understanding of what it means to be a “real man”. Real, full of realness, vulnerable, emotional, compassionate, soulful.
Handle With Care is a meditation on embracing your profound identity as a human and the tenderness it requires. It is the journey of a man back to his truest, most sincere self. It is the reclamation of the authenticity of boyhood. It is the playfulness of a boy getting into his mother’s makeup because he likes the colors. It’s soft, candid, imaginative, free of threat. He shows us wonder, confidence, purity, the unashamed exploration of self. We see his true spirit, the delicacy that exists in the depths of all men that we must love for the safe-keeping of their sacred souls. Hold them gently, we must not let them break.
Creative Director, Costume + Set DesignerChloe Kirk IG: @status.chlo
PhotographerMichelle Terris IG: @mterrisphoto
Photo Assist.Ivan Stekovich IG: @ivanstekovich
ModelRico Turrubiarte IG: @ricoturrubiarte
Assistant Set DecoratorChelsea Ceasor IG: @chelsea.ceasorHair StylistSkevo Zembillas (Chris McMillan Salon) IG: @skevozembillas