Student Spotlight: Claire Scoresby-Barrow

Student Spotlight on Claire Scoresby-Barrow and her Photography Project ‘Men in Dresses’

Here Claire speaks about her project and her time studying at Morley

Doing the Morley Photography Level 2 Year Long Course got my creative mind working again. It made me realise how much I loved telling stories about people, and I’ve gone back to making films, but now with a better understanding of light and composition and how different technical features of an image help to shape the narrative within it. 

In conversations surrounding gender equality, there has always been, it seems to me, an emphasis on promoting and actively encouraging women to inhabit spaces that are historically perceived as male as well as employing typically masculine attributes to do so. As a result, we encourage women to exemplify strength, assertiveness and ambition as much as we encourage them to wear what they like. Over time, both literally and metaphorically, women and girls have been emboldened throughout the world to ‘wear the trousers’.

Although this is undeniable progress, it cannot ignored that historically, stereotypically masculine affectations have been used as the sole focus of aspiration. The world’s default modus operandi is that masculine equals best, whilst typically feminine qualities, affectations and cultures are seen as lesser, rather than valid symbols of worth and strength. We ask women and girls to overlook the poerful legacy of our mothers and grandmothers and assimilate themselves into patriarchal interpretations of what is socio-culturally perceived as valuable.

This however, is a notion that younger generations are frequently challenging. More and more examples of men and women aim to dismantle historically ingrained gender norms within their respective communities by toying with the ideas of masculine and feminine, not only both emotionally and spiritually, but also, and more outwardly; through the ways in which they chose to present themselves physically.

So why is it that a man wearing a dress is often seen as a joke, a demotion, or less powerful? Why does one assume it is an indicator of homosexuality or not identifying as male? I wanted to ask the questions; why are we not able to accept that a man may just want to wear a dress because it is a valid clothing option? Why are we not able to believe that a heterosexual, cisgender man might actually aspire to emulate a woman?

In this project I wanted to provide men of an older generation with a space to wear dresses, or other stereotypically feminine clothing, as this may be something that they had never had the opportunity and space to do, to prove that masculine and feminine can coexist within each and every one of us.”

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