I am a law student based in New York City. I have solicited 12 of the feminist-identified men I know to participate in this project.
My friend and photographer Juleigh Lucas will be taking the photos.
A 12-month calendar for 2016, each month profiling one feminist-identified man. A short biography and personal statement on why he is a feminist will accompany each man's photo.
This is a group of men who know that a woman is more than an image, and it is important to me that they have control in their images as well. They will therefore be dressed and posed how they feel most comfortable. In other words, this project is emphatically not about reversing the male gaze, so to speak. With the photos I seek to emulate what Humans of New York has achieved in offering space for the subject's own words, allowing the subject, rather than the photographer or viewer, to explain his own identity and participation in the project.
The calendar will also denote important days in women's history.
We will shoot in various locations here in New York City.
I essentially have two goals in this project:
1) I want to show that identifying as a feminist and advocating for gender equality through words and actions is part and parcel with being a compassionate, intelligent man.
Too few women identify as feminists; even fewer men do. I am fortunate to be able to surround myself with individuals of various backgrounds and identities who actively oppose gender-based oppression and other manifestations of social inequality. This project puts the lie to the notion that feminism is somehow incompatible with men or with manhood.
I recognize that some men are sincere supporters of gender equality yet hesitate to identify as a feminist; even some feminist-identified women feel that "feminist" is an identity only women should assume. I respectfully disagree. To call oneself a feminist is to declare oneself opposed to gender-based oppression; it does not imply that one has necessarily experienced gender based-oppression. There is room in this definition for healthy debate and disagreement over what full gender equality entails. As such, no man or woman should, in my opinion, hesitate to identify as a feminist. This project seeks to profile 12 men who do.
2) I want to raise money for charity. I will donate future calendar proceeds to a reproductive justice organization. Note, however, that all funds raised here will go to calendar production, not charity.
We have already shot the cover. If we achieve our Kickstarter goal, we will then begin scheduling individual photo sessions. Ideally we will complete all photos by the end of the summer or earlier. We expect the calendar will be complete and ready for distribution by September or October.
What Will I Do With Your Money?
First, I will pay our photographer. She has agreed to shoot each man plus the cover for approximately $1000.
Second, I will print an initial batch of calendars with whatever remains in excess of $1000. The printing cost is about $10 per calendar (there will be a small discount if I order in bulk). The printing service I plan to use (Lulu.com) allows for print-on-demand, meaning once the calendar is complete I can simply give people the link to buy it directly from Lulu with Lulu getting a small cut; I will not have to front the manufacturing costs. However, I will need to print an initial batch to send to those who have donated at least $30. I would also like to give the men a free copy since they are volunteering their time.
Once the calendars are up for sale, I tentatively plan to earmark 50% of the proceeds from each sale for printing additional calendars; the other 50% I will donate to a reproductive justice organization. I am not seeking to profit financially from this project in any way. Note again that all funds raised here will go directly to calendar production; only proceeds on future sales will go to charity.
Note also that I will need to pay Kickstarter's fees as well, which will be between 8% and 10% of the money I raise.
At this point I'd like to thank Martin Worthington and Juliana Worthington for their graphics assistance, and Marissa Parrish for her editorial assistance. And of course, I must thank the 12 men who agreed to be a part of this project when I asked them.
Risks and challenges
This is a fairly low-risk project. All 12 men have already agreed to appear in the calendar, and I have secured a photographer. Should any of the men need to withdraw from the project, I am confident that I could find others to take their place. I have also selected a printing service (Lulu.com).
At this point the biggest challenge I foresee is coordinating all 12 photo shoots in an efficient manner. However, it is still early in the year; we have plenty of time to complete a calendar for 2016.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)