IF WE GO BACK IN HISTORY IT BECOMES CLEAR THAT NO MATTER WHEN, WE ALWAYS HAVE LIVED TO CERTAIN NORMS AND VALUES. HUMAN’S ARE GROUP CREATURES AND LIVING IN GROUPS COMES WITH CERTAIN EXPECTATIONS OF SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR. IT’S NOT A BAD THING, I GUESS. BUT SOMETIMES SOCIAL EXPECTATIONS ARE PRESSING US A BIT TOO MUCH.
It happens sometimes that we receive a set of photos from a photographer that we do not find right for that particular moment. This was the case when we received Nige Rorbach’s series with Phil Bruce. Usually when this happens we publish them not long after. But in this case, the set sort of ended up at the bottom of the pile and when days turned to weeks and weeks to months, we forgot about them. However, the set is definitely worth showing, and funny enough, the time to share them couldn’t have been better than right now.
Earlier this month I came upon a story about a father and his young son. Apparently the child was leaving through a toys brochure and came upon the girls section, identifies by pink pages. He looked up at his dad and asked him why the girls section was pink and if it was ok for boys to chose toys that were showcased there. The father reassured him and said that toys are for all children, no matter what gender. It was only a few days later when the little boy asked if it would be ok for him to chose a doll from the pink pages. Again, his dad answered affirmative. However, when dad posted his story on social media, he received many hateful comments, attacking the kid and stigmatising him for his choice. That my dear people, is the social behaviour that is unacceptable.
Nige Rorbach is the kind of guy who likes to play with stereotypes and challenge the way we see things. He also likes using color in his work, and style elements. When working with model Phil Bruce, Nige got the idea to use pink as the main theme. “I liked the idea of using pink items, which is primarily considered a feminine colour, and using them with a masculine model,” Nige comments. “Phil was a great choice, and he was really into the idea when I spoke to him about it as he wears pink alot anyway.” Nige and Phil know each other for about 4 years but never worked together before, even though they only live like about 30 minutes away from each other. Again one of those thing that haapen when they need to happen maybe?
It is true that pink has become a more accepted color for the male part of our civilization, not in the least thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo who introduced the color on the soccer field. Little did we know about Ronaldo back then, but that is a different story. The color pink also was originally used in the Pride Flag colours back in 1978, and symbolised sexuality. This is apparently also the reason why pink is often associated with homosexuality, although it beats me why. I mean, I do assume heterosexual people are sexual beings as well. So by doing that, we unconsciously created a label that is hard to shake off. Just like the fact blue is for boys, and pink for girls. A social pressure that works more in advantage for girls than for boys, as blue for girls is more accepted than pink for boys.
To make a long story short: values, norms, etiquette. It is all nice and to a certain agree necessary, but as soon as it starts to become a social pressure that makes you uncomfortable, prevents you form expressing yourself – being yourself – and starts to stigmatize you or your children, than there is something fundamentally wrong with it. Now I don’t know if the young father in this story will ever read my piece, but if he does, I want him to know that he is my hero for not limiting his son’s development. After all, real men wear pink. –BM-
NIGE RORBACH | BEAUTIFULMAG
PHIL BRUCE | BEAUTIFULMAG