While I was browsing a bit on the Internet, I stumbled across the wonderful story of Maud Fernhout, a young Dutch photographer. As she was thinking about writing an essay about gender stereotypes and how to overcome them, she decided that pictures and quotes would be much more powerful.
She even decided to launch two projects: “What real men cry like” and “What real women laugh like”.
19-year-old Maud wanted to make sure that the message made people think about how we perceive genders and the roles that stereotypically come with them.
Why do we always say that men can’t cry? If they have lachrymal ducts (tear organs) and emotions, aren’t they allowed to cry as much as women do, whenever they want? People always say ‘Be a man’ or ‘Man up’, but what does that even mean? And have you noticed that a lot of women don’t like laughing out loud, showing their teeth? Many women -and men- find it ‘Unladylike’ to have their mouth all-open when they laugh and some even hate their laughs.
Maud made a series of photos to show that this can be done differently and that gender roles shouldn’t be literally lived by. She’s telling everyone -and certainly young people- that it is OK to be whoever you want to be. And if that means you feel like crying, then you should do it. If it means you want to show your teeth and just have fun and laugh, then you should do that too.
I absolutely love this project, since it’s made by a young photographer who shows young people like myself. The best thing about this project is that it just makes you smile the minute you see all those girls laughing and it shows you compassion in the boy’s cases. I love how ‘real’ this campaign is and it makes me happy to see that other young people are fighting gender stereotypes too- just like we do here at Designers against AIDS. ‘Cause let’s admit it, most of these stereotypes seem to date from the Middle Ages.
Check out all the pictures and her website on this link: