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Powerful portraits of Lithuanian men reacting to mandatory army draft

Powerful portraits of Lithuanian men reacting to mandatory army draft

“On May 11th, more than 37,000 men, aged 19-26, woke up and found their surnames on Lithuania’s compulsory military service list. 3,000 were needed for the first wave of recruits, but 2/3 of this first group were filled by volunteers. Some of these men took to social media to express their thoughts about what many called a sudden and random ‘lottery.’”

“The most disturbing thing was the very harsh and unforgiving public opinion of men who didn’t want to go to the army. They were called “unmanly,” “cowardly,” “disgraceful,” etc.”

This negative caught the attention of two women in Lithuania, actress and TV host Beata Tiskevic-Hasanova and Lithuanian photographer and political science student Neringa Rekasiute.

They decided to respond creatively using photography to approach a very controversial topic – military conscription, which was suddenly reinstated by the Lithuanian government just a few months ago.

They gathered 14 random men, aged 17-28, and took their portraits. The men are portrayed crying in military uniforms. Beata and Neringa thought it was a good way to show how dangerous gender expectations are: a man is expected to be rational, emotionless and aggressive.

“It is very important that we, as a society, teach men to express their emotions and not force a stereotypical archaic role onto them. The pictures are accompanied by the models’ quotes. They are expressing their opinions about what it is to be manly and how it relates to going to the army”

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