Social question: Empowerment, exploitation, both? A photographer (they make money with photographs) starts a project called “a boy can too”.

Social question: Empowerment, exploitation, both?

A photographer (they make money with photographs) starts a project called “a boy can too”.

She’s focusing on boys doing things like ballet, tap dancing, reading, dressing in girls clothes, putting makeup on, dancing, stuff like that.

Now, I know that a boy or girl can do any of these things: I was in ballet, wanted to do tap, loved reading, did programming, Boy Scouts, soccer, basketball, track and field, science, CB radio, networking, piano, other instruments, stuff like that.

[and without a helicopter mother, thankfully. She was supportive of my whims]

Now here’s what I’m wondering: Even though I’m all for the concept she’s talking about here: I can see a negative flipside of it. Does this put a boy who does any of these things into a particular “a boy can too” category? What makes that category different? Is there a relationship between reading and putting on makeup? Will people make these assumptions?

Is this exploitation for profit? I imagine there’s consent: the boys in these pictures are proud of what they’re doing and rightly so, or seem to be, as it could be the parents who are putting ‘their boys’ in the spotlight… in which case, consent becomes a confusing thing.

Am I overthinking this? Growing up, I would’ve hated it if someone saw me reading in the library and said “Oh, good for you! A boy who loves to read. See, that’s what I’m talking about: boys are reading too!”. I would’ve been offended.

Thoughts?

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