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At the forefront of changing how our world views masculinity are those who create imagery of it.

Filmmakers, television writers, photographers, and other multimedia professionals are beginning to shift how they explore and present masculinity in their work, and companies are following. One of the companies using their brand to help shift societal norms is Getty Images.

2. A relaxed man is probably a happy man. Photo by Alex Grabchilev/Evgeniya Bakanova/Getty Images.


In Masculinity Undone, stereotypical "tough guy" and "incompetent dad" imagery is exchanged for photos that show the wide array of the male experience.

From male friendships, to loving partners, to unadulterated boyhood joy — men and boys in these photos are diverse, vulnerable, and utterly themselves.

3. Seriously, how cute can one be?! Photo by Thanasis Zovoilis/Getty Images.

Andrew Delaney, director of content at Getty Images, sees the project not only as a unique venture in the company's body of work, but a necessary action to change the perceptions of manhood in the photography and advertising industry.

"We can't be what we can't see," Delaney says. "We definitely are in a position and stand behind the fact that we have to expand the visual narrative of what men look like, and about how men are perceived. I think that opens the door for as many diverse identities [as there are] that actually exist."

4. Men should be able to show and love all of their unique characteristics, freckles included. Photo by Paulbence Photography/Getty Images.

Getty's new imagery is extremely important, as the state of manhood in America is in a particularly challenging moment.

Men are dying by suicide 3.53 times more often than women, 94% of mass shootings have been carried out by men, and domestic violence from men in relationships continues to be a pervasive issue around the world.

And yet, the photos from this series show that this narrative is changing, in part thanks to men saying enough is enough, and to companies that are making new imagery a priority. And, according to Getty, the world is yearning for the content.

5. Here's hoping to more photos like this adorable image of a smiling young man, seemingly free as a bird. Photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images.

This year at the company, searches for "mental health awareness," "man meditation," and "gay dads" are up 258%, 126%, and 53%, respectively.

"Our clients are looking for content that will speak to groups in a very authentic manner, and you can't speak to a group of guys who happen not to be super masculine in the traditional sense if you don't have images that reflect them," Delaney says.

6. Boyhood joy is one of the purest representations of masculinity that society can promote. Photo by Phung Huynh Vu Qui/Getty Images.

As society explores the complexity of masculinity — from fatherhood to friendships to sexuality — change starts with building spaces that allow men to be fully human.

7. There truly is nothing like friendship, and it's great that so many men feel comfortable enough to show their love for their friends without fear of teasing or retribution. Photo by Thomas Barwick/Getty Images.

Spaces that will allow men to feel comfortable enough to break away from tropes like "the tough guy" and expectations that "boys don't cry" — traditions that have pigeonholed men in the past, and contributed to the toxicity seen today.

8. Black men are particularly vulnerable to the need to meet flawed expectations of masculinity. Organizations like Getty Images and Afropunk are making an effort to produce imagery that shows black man as fully human. Photo by Portra/Getty Images.

Many companies, artists, and organizations are leaning into creating such spaces. Actor Justin Baldoni has spoken candidly about the importance of deviating from toxic masculinity to be a better man and father. Rapper Jay-Z used much of one of his most recent album's, "4:44", to talk about masculinity's role in his marriage and relationships with women. And, in the wake of another mass shooting carried out by a man, Michael Ian Black penned an essay about our culture's imperative need to shift how we raise boys and our expectations for men.

9. Showing men in vulnerable moments  — like swimming in a river — is a new and welcomed change in stock imagery. Photo by Stanislav Simtsenko/EyeEm/Getty Images.

Men deserve, and need, to express it all: love, heartache, joy, and pain, and as openly as they want.

"If you were to go back 15 years, and if you looked at the world through the eyes of stock photography, you'd think that we were all Caucasian, and we were all blonde and we all had blue eyes," Delaney says. "The fact is that, by changing what we ask our photographers to create, by asking for diversity across the board — that's diversity of age, diversity of skin color, diversity of sexual orientation — it means that we drive change in the images that our photographers are shooting."

By ensuring that this value is reflected in the media world, we contribute to a culture that allows manhood to exist without the toxicity that society previously placed on it.

10. Many men are working hard to be more compassionate and loving for their significant others. Lucy Lambriex/Getty Images.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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