At the beginning of our Safe Spaces London intensive summer programme at Urban Hope Youth Centre, Kaan, Jayden,Kyan, and Andre defined a stereotype as "something people assume about another person, specifically something they do". Over the course of the session, they questioned this term and various examples of stereotypes. Using Myles Loftin's Hooded photo-series as inspiration, they created their own story about stereotypes surrounding masculinity. 

"Everyone feels happy and sad, so why is it that men are told not to show their emotions? Men can express their feelings. They can be sad or proud". The young people took the above photos to challenge the stereotype that men are emotionless. They wanted to show the happiness and sadness that men feel, and normalise the depiction of emotional men.

"Men can also be into flowers". So, why is it assumed that men wouldn't want flowers as a present? Why is it assumed that florists are women? Like Loftin's work, when we search 'flowers women' and 'flowers men' online, you can see the difference in how men and women are differently depicted with flowers. The women are happy and surrounded by flowers whereas the men are more solemn and the flowers are used to show off their masculine features. 

"People think that only women clean and that men can't clean or be helpful around the house. Everyone can and should clean". We discussed the stereotype that women should be the ones to clean and stay at home. In this photo the young people were role playing cleaning the house, illustrating that cleaning is something that should not be tied to gender. 

This project was produced as a collaboration between Urban Hope and Headliners (UK) by Kaan, Jayden,Kyan, and Andre.
Thank you to the Edward Gostling Foundation for making these sessions possible.

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