Masculinities is an about 18cm X 21.5cm black and white zine about what it means to be a man and shaking up meanings within masculinity as expressed through a series of seven interviews.
Masculinities opens with an introduction from Cindy who explains that they didn’t know what to expect from the interview process. They’d seen a world where they shook up what it meant to be feminine and brought to light a lot of things that were wrong. They wanted to do the same for masculinity – and Masculinities emerged.
From there we dive into the interviews, the first between Cindy and Shane Parish. Shane talks about masculinity, manhood, how both those things were tied up on violence, and more. From there we go on to read a series of interviews that had a variety of subject matter and perspectives that I didn’t expect. Classism, masculine expectations and the impact that has on body image, masculinity and disability, abuse, sexuality, gender identity, learning to be a nurturing father… There is a lot to explore, and this zine feels like a great place to start.
Masculinities stands out aesthetically due to its non-traditional size. The drawing you may come to expect from Cindy’s Doris zines is present but I’d say not quite as much as the Doris series. There’s something entirely pleasing but mysterious about the cover. It is a bit of a fragile zine because of its size and a thin paper cover, but it did weather a house move well.
The interview ‘A Different Kind of Strength’ between Cindy and Brontez really stood out to me as Brontez’s story is one of growing up gay in a small 1960s town but is also so much more. The dynamic of a matriarch head of house was such a fascinating dynamic, and I found myself surprised at the positive masculine interactions Brontez experienced.
Even for its 28 pages, there is a lot to think about and process in this zine. The actual interviews are relatively short and get right to the heart of the stories, and yet I found myself taking the interviews slowly to make sure I was understanding – as much as I could – what each person was saying.
Masculinities has a lot to offer with different perspectives, things to consider, and maybe even things to question in the reader’s own life – all within personal stories told in these interviews. I will be reading this one again.