Boys Pee On Things encourages men to be vulnerable
See horny photos from Lida Fox's new book, deconstructing male norms and inspiring emotional expression.
Diego Villarreal. All photos from Boys Pee On Things.
In our journey to inclusivity, we’ve arguably never been more aware of the underdog. Those who have long been shackled to the bottom of the food chain are on the way up — a catapult that’s (apparently) come at the expense of those forever at the top: cis, hetero men. In our increasingly gender-fluid, post-#metoo world, hyper-masculinity is, without a doubt, outdated. But to the majority of men, to be ‘masc’ still means what it always has: immovable invulnerability. Put simply, don’t be a pussy.
In Lida Fox’s new photo book, Boys Pee On Things, she acknowledges that this is where it turns toxic. It doesn’t take a psychology degree to surmise why the incel community oscillates between disparaging powerful women and disparaging the Chads (square-jawed, male stereotypes who easily win women) — we taught men to be uncomfortable with feelings, leaving anger as the only acceptable form of emotional expression. After acknowledging how societal discomfort with male emotion impacted Fox’s own existence, the theme was a no-brainer.
“Male vulnerability and the lack of it is something that’s continuously affected me in my personal life and something that I’ve witnessed affect those around me,” Fox explains of the concept.
Boys Pee On Things sees the model, musician and author recruit a range of creatives to offer photographs or writing centered on their experience with male vulnerability — or lack thereof. This meant, Fox adds, confronting the expectations they faced and how those influenced their behavior. Fox’s sole mandate was to include as many different perspectives as possible (the contributors are all colleagues of Fox, ranging in age, gender and sexual identities), therein deconstructing masculine norms as an “outsider.”
“Some [contributions] are angry, some are funny, some are melancholy or inquisitive or happy,” Fox claims. “Some people already had work that immediately fit or were excited to make work on the topic; some people didn’t respond at all.”
Fox found photography as a young model, documenting her travels with a disposable camera, pre-smartphone revolution. The experience was a gateway to experimenting with film, capturing candids as a contrast to the highly-constructed fashion images she was used to creating in front of the camera. Modeling, Fox reveals, meant severe emotional and mental stress. With little agency over her own image, she was forced to “constantly bend to other people’s expectations” of how she was supposed to be. Now, a founding member of LA-based punk band cumgirl8, Fox has embraced creativity full time. Boys Pee On Things is her third book (and the first published by Good Taste Publications), following an online collection of unedited photos of her and friends titled Film Hooligans, which became a published zine, and Kiss Me which explores — you guessed it — kissing.
“I’d had the idea for Boys Pee in my head for a while,” Fox says. “I love books; I love having a tangible object that I can pour over, get lost in, and hold. There was never a question of having it in a different format — photo and art books are becoming collectors items and works of art in themselves.”
While her books aren’t part of a larger series, each of Fox’s published works connects to the last. Boys Pee On Things follows the structure of Kiss Me, and Film Hooligans served as a springboard for both — allowing Fox to hone her network of collaborators. From various recurring subject matter across those submissions, Fox began to draw inspiration. In the process of doing so, the multi-hyphenate noticed a pattern in her own writing and photography: male fragility. Unpacking masculinity is “nothing new,” she acknowledges, but even everyday experiences can take on new meanings through a different lens.
“Gender identity has been explored over and over again throughout the ages, but with this I hope to present a fresh take. I hope this book can spark more conversation and can be relatable for people who have had similar experiences.”