What Makes Men Feel Masculine?

The revealing answers, and photographs.


What makes you feel masculine? That’s the question photographer Chad States asked the subjects of his recent series of portraits. The answers he received are revealing—in more ways than one.

“Why am I masculine? Hmmmm. Because I have never for a moment questioned my gender identity. Though I love women (perhaps too much), I have never wished to be one.” —Patrick
 

“I am strong emotionally, have always stood up for myself, and fear nothing. I happen to be physically strong, but that isn’t where I derive my masculinity.” —Bill
 

“The first thing I do when I walk into a room is figure out which male could kick my ass and which female I would like to fuck. Sometimes this is so subconscious, it is alarming.” —Andrew
Andrew has since asked as us to add this addendum to his quote:

“I said that sentence years ago and, looking back, I see I was wrong. That view isn’t what makes me feel masculine today and probably wasn’t what made me feel masculine when this photo was taken. Admitting I was wrong is what makes me feel masculine and makes me feel human. Masculinity, to me, is conquering your misogyny and not making excuses.”

“I feel masculine when I am home, I can take care of myself. I often feel emasculated when I leave my apartment, though, with everyone asking me if I need help. I don’t need any help.” —Dennis

“When I wear men’s clothes, I feel comfortable and confident in how I look on the outside, which now matches the inside.” —Liz

“I consider myself masculine because I spent time in the Marine Corps, I work out, I have a mohawk, I have tattoos, I’m a tattoo artist, I cuss a lot, and that’s all I can think of right now.” —Josh

“I have been called a SNAG (sensitive new age guy), a renaissance man, a man in touch with his feminine side, etc… I think that I am masculine in the sense of self reliance.” —Parker

“I want to show that, despite stereotypes, gay men can be masculine too.” —Mike

“I feel I am not only masculine in gender but also in speech, the way I act and the way I posture myself. It has been like this from birth. I like to pass as a guy, I just don’t want to have his stuff.” —Jay

“Masculinity is an attitude. I feel that I’m masculine because I carry myself as such. It doesn’t have anything to do with what you drive or how many women or kids you have.” —Dwight

“First off, I’d say I’m masculine because of how I feel inside, who I am and how I carry myself. In a lot of ways my masculinity is tied to my male gender role and how I want to project that and be perceived by others.” —Dex

 

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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