These absolutely stunning photos break down the toxic masculinity narrative.
1.  Asian men are reclaiming their masculinity in their own unique ways. Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images.

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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less