Soft Boys is a series of images depicting men through the female gaze.
The media is historically viewed through the lens of The Male Gaze, an idea created by Laura Mulvey in 1973, which theorises that audiences are manipulated to consume media, specifically cinema, through the eyes of men. The effects of this have been damaging; causing social issues across all sectors. From relationships and personal feelings of self-worth to the normalisation of violence and abuse.
Soft Boys challenges this idea by creating scenes that are pleasing to the female eye. The opposite of The Male Gaze isn’t an objectifying approach to men, but rather to portray men in a way that is attractive to women; soft, vulnerable, strong and caring. This view is becoming more and more acceptable in mainstream media and helping to break down emotional barriers within male communities that have been detrimental for centuries. Soft Boys continues this narrative.
The term ‘soft boy’ refers to a man who doesn’t confirm to the construct of traditional masculinity. He may be more open with his emotions or favour more feminine activities. What began as a heteronormative slur has been re-established as a positive by internet culture. Men will openly describe themselves as such and heterosexual women would use the term to describe their ideal type. Soft boys are cool. Soft boys are attractive. And they’re here to stay.
SOFT BOYS by ESME BUXTON
MODELS: Jack Harrison & Freddy Carter
LOCATIONS: Hyde Park & Hampstead Heath
CAMERA: Canon 5D Mk IV & Canon EF 50mm 1.8 lens