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It's Okay to Cry

Illustrated series inspired by Ben Driver's the Guy Cry Club project

I grew up in a relatively conservative family. I usually felt alienated as men and women were not seen as equals. Men were the definitive heads of the family, never vulnerable and always served first at the table. My father wasn’t too bad. He was overprotective but, at the same time, encouraged me to be my own person. I went to an all-girl Catholic school run by nuns. They were Franciscans and so their principles were a bit more relaxed but they were still set on preparing us to be good, professional wives. So I did have - and guess I still do - a complex relationship with men. I do not like to have certain feelings and, in order to understand why, I try to see the other side of the coin.

I grew up surrounded by men who’d been taught that showing their feelings wasn’t manly enough. While studying fine arts I got in contact with men made more sensitive by the arts. It was magnificent. There I learnt that men could be real friends and not just husband material.

I Lost My Mead

When I heard about Ben Driver’s project, Guy Cry Club, it immediately caught my attention. ”A creative dialogue on mental health and masculinity” is their motto. I’ve met Ben in person. His warm, compassionate, open-minded nature is very inspiring. Through the Guy Cry Club, Ben encourages people to engage in an honest dialogue about what masculinity means and to create awareness about how deeply issues related to identity, sexuality, vulnerability and stereotypes can affect people’s mental health.

I was born a female. I’m heterosexual and I’ve never questioned it. However, until I got married to a fantastic man, I never closed the possibility of being able to have romantic feelings or sexual attraction for, not only other women, but a diversity of human beings. I never dwelled upon the subject but it really never seemed too crazy to me. If my family read this, I’m sure they’d find me an anomaly amongst their very traditional family set up.

It's Okay to Cry

It feels that it’s in the nature of human beings to persecute each other for whatever reason. Growing as a woman I felt harassed and abused by men many times. In recent times equality movements and the exposure of abusive popular male figures has made me feel very curious about masculinity. How should some men be feeling if society tells them that what they’ve been taught for generations is not acceptable anymore. I would like to understand the male perspective on identity issues as much as I can, issues that are very particular to someone who was born a male in a society with well-defined gender roles.

But as Ben says on the Guy Cry Club page “masculinity is far too complicated to be confined to damaging sentiments and behaviours which fail to acknowledge the natural diversity of human beings and which fail to see that masculinity is not restricted to a single gender”. And I guess this applies to femininity as well.

If you want to read more about the Guy Cry Club click on the link:

You can find related artwork that people have submitted to the project in this gallery:

This series is available as prints at Rockafella Industries or with me. 20% will go to the Guy Cry Club project and 10% to Suffolk Mind.



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