Handle With Care is a photographic series that explores the consequences of an increasingly narrow and fragile definition of masculinity.
“Handle With Care” is a photography series that explores the fragile nature of modern masculinity. The Western world has been trying to define “good masculinity” in a post #metoo world, and terms like “toxic masculinity” have become common. However, the lesser known phrase “fragile masculinity” has always resonated more strongly with me. I see toxic masculinity as one of the many symptoms of fragile masculinity. But this series does not focus on male violence against women, sexual harassment, or machismo. Instead, my aim is to draw attention to what the American surgeon Vivek Murthy called an “epidemic of loneliness” in 2017. Murthy evaluated 200 studies involving more than 3 million subjects and found that social isolation contributes to cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety and dementia. The reduction of life expectancy was equivalent to smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. Because of the strict social norms that govern how men interact with each other starting in adolescence, men tend to have fewer friends than women. A UK survey found that 32% of men said they had no close friends at all at age 35. Coupled with a suicide rate that is consistently four times higher in men than women, we can see that fragile masculinity is the deadliest symptom of men’s loneliness.
Michael Amico is a photographer from Los Angeles. He is currently working towards his masters degree at FAMU and specializes in nude portraiture. His artwork explores themes of modern manhood and its impact on people across all sexual and gender identities.