The Men Under the Influence
July 5, 2013 7:48 AM   Subscribe

 
I love this (particularly Steve of "Steve & Fonlin"), although it makes me a little sad that photographs of men borrowing their girlfriend's clothes is enough of A Thing to build an entire photography project/Mefi FPP around. I'm looking forward to a time where this stuff is as mundane and socially acceptable as women walking around in men's shirts and "boyfriend jeans".
posted by fight or flight at 7:58 AM on July 5, 2013


I could not agree more, and note that I'm presently wearing a nice black ankle-length skirt.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:01 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


These are great.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:02 AM on July 5, 2013


i want to be the girlfriend of all these men
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:10 AM on July 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


I like the one with the red coat and the vest.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:24 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if they stand and sit in the same pose when they are wearing their own clothes. Or, am I just projecting?

In any event, every one of these guys looks a lot more cool than I would in my wife's clothes.
posted by cccorlew at 8:40 AM on July 5, 2013


I don't think I'd look very good in my wife's clothes, what with all the ripping and gasping for air that would be involved.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:42 AM on July 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


Every one of these guys looks a lot more clothed than I would in the burst and tattered remnants of my wife's clothes.
posted by flabdablet at 8:42 AM on July 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


The more interesting implicit commentary is about the kind of dudes who fit in their girlfriend's clothes.
posted by MattD at 8:43 AM on July 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


In this context, it makes me realize how flimsy or even childish women's clothing can be. How temporary.
posted by mochapickle at 8:47 AM on July 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't know if this was the intention, but some of the pictures highlight how infantilizing some women's clothing is in a way that is not as obvious when a woman is wearing them.
posted by schroedinger at 8:48 AM on July 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


I would do this, but if my wife saw a picture of me wearing my girlfriend's clothes she'd freak out.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:50 AM on July 5, 2013 [23 favorites]


Yeah, my first thought was also that I am over a foot taller than my girlfriend, and about 100 pounds heavier, so her clothes would leave me looking pretty scandalous. I guess she's got a peasant skirt that I could fit into, but I remember from doing theater and having to crossdress that there's just not a lot of women's clothing that fits me (I often had to wear women's nightgowns as dresses, because that was the only thing that fit).
posted by klangklangston at 8:56 AM on July 5, 2013


Related - Switcharoo, by Hana Pesut.
posted by mochapickle at 8:58 AM on July 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


I like how the images in Switcharoo also capture the reversed posture.
posted by mochapickle at 9:01 AM on July 5, 2013


Huh. I hadn't picked up on the "women's clothing is childish/infantilising" angle until reading those comments. I'm not sure if I feel that's the right conclusion to draw.

I wonder if it's less about women's clothing being inherently infantilising in and of itself as feminine dress being considered infantilising because it is feminine. C.f. with the idea that femininity is associated with weakness. I know lots of dudes who wear cardigans and tiny shorts, for instance, and I wouldn't peg them as looking "childish". I also know lots of ladies who wear frilly dresses who would punch you in the face if you suggested they looked infantile.

I'm circling around a point in my head that I haven't quite worked out yet, but I think the gist is: I don't think women's fashion is infantilising because it looks infantilising, I think women's fashion is infantilising because society tells us that being a woman is infantilising.
posted by fight or flight at 9:02 AM on July 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


No, I'm talking specifically about the baby-doll dress and the jumpsuit as examples, both of which are childish silhouettes that have been popularly adopted into the clothing style of adult women. The red pantsuit/dress thing the second guy is wearing in the first link is distinctly feminine but not infantilizing.

Now, if you consider the most infantilizing articles of clothing to also be the most feminine, well, that is even more revealing of a cultural perception of femininity.
posted by schroedinger at 9:10 AM on July 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


I really like these photos, but only when divorced from their original intent:

He wanted to make images that showed not only the equality of balance in heterosexual relationships, but also the feeling of confusion the male may be experiencing with this change. He began this series, which he calls The Men Under the Influence by taking photos of couples together in the same image.

I don't think that equal heterosexual relationships are OMG FEMINIZING MEN and amusingly enough, I don't think these photos are either. None of the men depicted look anything but comfortable in their masculinity.
posted by capricorn at 9:11 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure I see guys walking around campus wearing clothes like Santi and Sabela all the time.
posted by vuron at 9:14 AM on July 5, 2013


Me and the mrs. are pretty much jeans and t-shirts types anyway, so it wouldn't be a huge deal. We both own partridge family and Abe vigoda t-shirts, but we never wear them at the same time, since we're not ready to become THAT couple.
posted by jonmc at 9:29 AM on July 5, 2013


I really like these photos, but only when divorced from their original intent
My thoughts exactly. Some of the photos are quite interesting, and there are plenty of insightful things one could say about them. "Men are confused by equality in relationships, so here are some men in dresses, which is also confusing and feminizing" sure isn't one of them. After reading the artist's statement, it's impossible not to see them in the same class of gender-commentary as frat boy wears a dress at halloween.

Also, thanks mochapickle, for the Switcharoo link.

Yet another reminder to myself to never read the artist's statement unless I've already seen all the work and hated it. No good can possibly come from it.
posted by eotvos at 9:33 AM on July 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't think that equal heterosexual relationships are OMG FEMINIZING MEN

That was the feeling I had, too.
The photographs are actually great but my initial reaction, helped by the title "Under the Influence," was that that these guys are saying "You're turning me into a woman."
posted by chococat at 9:34 AM on July 5, 2013


My parents were the exact same height and weight and somewhere there's a picture of them dressed as each other for Halloween. Bonus that it was the early seventies so the clothes were awesome and my dad had a big David Crosby walrus mustache.
posted by octothorpe at 9:49 AM on July 5, 2013


The guy in the third picture from the top just looks like Joe Hipster, kinda.
posted by jonmc at 9:52 AM on July 5, 2013


Obligatory pic of me and my brother swapping clothes. Ages 7 and 3.
posted by phunniemee at 9:53 AM on July 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Did you show that to his prom date?
posted by jonmc at 9:54 AM on July 5, 2013


I agree that seeing a guy in a skirt or dress shouldn't be a big deal. That said, the thing that I find compelling about these photos is that the skirt or dress in question belongs to a specific person, and would normally serve as a form of self-representation.

Even though the woman in question doesn't appear in the picture, you can get a sense of who she might be from her outfit, apartment, and significant other. And it's interesting to put a carefully chosen outfit on someone who didn't pick it out it, but who chose to share their life, and a home, with the person who did.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:59 AM on July 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


These are great.

I doubt my boyfriend and I could pull this off, considering he's 6 feet tall and I am all of 5 foot 3...
posted by SisterHavana at 10:20 AM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


> I know lots of dudes who wear cardigans and tiny shorts

That combination sounds like its own unique sartorial conundrum.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:35 AM on July 5, 2013


I have a feeling this is the subtext to every hipster party.
posted by four panels at 10:35 AM on July 5, 2013


My girlfriend is significantly shorter than me, so none of her clothes fit me very well. She has one really cool baseball shirt that is too big on her that would almost fit me, but it's too tight. It's a shame, because I love that shirt. I tried on one of her high-waisted shorts once and they were too tight around my crotch, but it would have looked good if it weren't for that.

Most anyone who grew up as a "scene" kid in the 2000's probably has at one point worn their sister's clothes. My first pair of girl jeans were my friend's sister's that I begrudgingly wore because a girl I liked told me I'd look good in them.
posted by gucci mane at 12:38 PM on July 5, 2013


My boyfriend and I are both 6' tall men, and he's very sad that he can't wear my clothes or shoes because he's bigger-framed than I am and has bigger feet. I'm not so sad about it because he somehow manages to rip or stain anything he wears within 11 seconds of putting it on.
posted by xingcat at 3:45 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the artist's statement, right?

"The men under the influence..." adresses the recent change in roles in heterosexual relationships from the relationships of our predecessors and how those changes have affected men in particular. the photos attempt to capture men's sense of loss reference, now that women have taken a step forward and have finally come into their own as equal partners. The project consists of full-lenght portraits of men wearing the clothes of their girlfriends or wifes, taken in the space shared by the couple.

I don't think anything in that paragraph speaks to the feminization of men. I think the photos really just do what the statement describes. The artist focuses on something that is seen as a normal reflection of intimacy in a relationship -- a girl wearing her boyfriend's clothes -- and flips it around to highlight how, despite changing gender roles, we're still influenced greatly by an idealized, traditional model of how relationships are supposed to work. And that's where the "loss of reference" comes in. At least I assume there's supposed to be an "of" there, I'm not sure what the phrase "loss reference" would refer to.
posted by malapropist at 4:14 PM on July 5, 2013


I can't quite tell if Javi's outfit is a dress or a jumpsuit. I'm going to have to look at the photo for a little while longer to figure it out… Still can't tell… Just a little while longer…
posted by wreckingball at 4:35 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I too misunderstood the point. I assumed Under the Influence meant that couples inherently shape one another, and that public dialogue gives more thought to how a man impacts his female partner's life instead of vice versa.
posted by salvia at 6:33 PM on July 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Holy cow, typos. Sorry about that!)
posted by evidenceofabsence at 8:57 PM on July 5, 2013


I can't quite tell if Javi's outfit is a dress or a jumpsuit. I'm going to have to look at the photo for a little while longer to figure it out…

It's a jumpsuit - if you look under his left thumb you see the striped fabric in the background peeping through.

These are fantastic. Would like to see more in this vein.
posted by bunderful at 4:49 PM on July 6, 2013


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