Divine 003: Men
Call for Submissions.
MISSION. Men are having a TIME right now. Granted, it’s always been the Time of Men. And some could argue this is now, for the first time in history, the Time of Women. However, I’ve found as I’ve tuned into conversations around gender and sexuality—particularly radical, intersectional, feminist, sex-positive conversations around gender and sexuailty—it is so, SO rare to find a male voice in the mix...especially a male voice that sleeps with Women. This sticks out to me considering I am, for all intents and purposes, a straight cis Woman who prefers to date Men (historically, cis Men). As such, I have a personal stake in the patterns and norms that surround them.
As I was fielding submissions for Issue 002 of Divine, I had conversations with a number of Men who were considering submitting. I found that most, if not all, of the Men that I spoke with felt incredibly private about their sexuality. At the end of the day, they either didn’t feel equipped to share at all or would only share in the most abstract way. I felt generally like these Men felt somewhat distanced from their sexuality, as if there was a vast space between them and their lover or desired, while also feeling like they had no space in which to express their own desires or worries or needs.
I started wondering why. The first idea is that cis straight Men (extra points if you’re white) are the demographic that has access to the most systemic privilege on the whole; therefore forcing them the least to self examine. The way that gay or trans folks, or even women, are forced—strictly by nature of their identity—to confront and examine themselves in order to work towards the dismantling of whichever part of the system that is unfriendly to them, cis straight Men never are forced to do.
The second idea is that, in my experience, conversations around feminism frequently revolve only around Women and include voices only of Women. This is problematic because true feminism only happens when we break the system that dictates and reinforces every facet of gender stereotypes and norms, not just one part of it. If we’re going to allow Women to be more aggressive and challenging and masculine and involved in mathematics and business-focused, we have to allow Men to be softer and more fallible and emotional and feminine and involved in caretaking and parenting. If we’re going to allow Women to love their natural bodies and seek sexual pleasure, we have to allow Men to do the same...through differing means. If we’re going to love all shape and sizes of Women’s curves, we have to love all shapes and sizes of penises. If we’re going to support a Woman exuding her sexuality publicly or using it to make money, we have to support Men in taking on submissive dynamics or exploring parts of his body without questioning his sexual orientation. We have to understand the pressure put on Men by society, just like we need to understand it for every other gender expression, and how those pressures lead to common practices or complaints we have around the gender as a whole. After all, society created these standards; not the individual.
My interest for this issue is to explore Men through a lens of honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability. My goal is to create a space for a large part of the conversation around gender that is less frequently heard and to create space to hear and see the Men who are actively living in subversion of norms.
WHAT I WANT. I WANT TO SEE MEN. I want to see Men through the eyes of Women, through the female gaze. I want to see Men through their own gaze, self-determining their own beauty and bodies and self worth. I want to see them, all of them. I want to see how they love and lust and identify and connect. I want to see what’s really there, not what anyone has told us should be there. I want to see Men soft and imperfect and dark and raw and present and alive and emotional and gorgeous and in pleasure. Men, I want you to see yourselves. Women, I want to see your Men. Men, I want to see your Men.
I WANT TO HEAR MEN. I want to hear from Men about their experience with their bodies and their sexuality. I want to hear about their relationships with their partners and lovers and friends and with the world, as it relates to sex and dating and Women. I want to hear how much space is between each of those relationships and their true desires. I want to hear about the moment that space was closed and you were able to connect. I want to hear your fantasies, lived and imagined. I want to see how you challenge yourself and those around you. I want to hear you trying. I want to hear how you failed. I want to hear what’s hard and what hurts and what feels good and what feels amazing and what it felt like...and I want to hear about it all in stunning detail.
I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT MEN. I want to hear how you have experienced your sexuality and body in relation to Men. I want to hear how Men have shaped you. I want to hear about the best Men and the Worst. I want to hear about your way in, around, and through Men. I want to hear your relationship with your own masculinity or masculinity in general, regardless of how you identify. If you date or sleep with Men, I want to hear about it. I want to hear about the times they made you feel good and how. I want to hear about their compassion, their love, and their pain.
WHAT I NEED. Regardless of what you submit, I want you to make me feel. Make me feel what you felt, or what He felt, or what we all feel under the same circumstances. I accept submissions in the form of writing (story, poetry, etc.) or art (illustration, fine art, typography, or photography - I accept video; however, it’s only able to be used digitally for social media and promotion and needs to be translated to still photography for the printed zine). The main rule is that whatever you choose to submit, it needs to be about Men; and it needs to offer a point of view that is unique to you or whomever you are talking with/about in the piece. It needs to feel like you’re offering a bit of yourself up for sacrifice. Because that is what Divine is.
WHAT I DON'T WANT. I’ve had the idea to focus an issue of Divine around Men since Issue 002: Worship. Before #MeToo or Time’s Up or 80000000 hot takes on Aziz Ansari or Oprah running for President, I had an idea to create a space to talk about Men; but, in light of recent events, felt so much pressure, I damn near psyched myself out of the topic altogether. So here’s the things that this issue of Divine isn’t: This is not a “Men’s Rights” piece. This is not a “#NotAllMen” space. This is not a conversation about Men meant to be at all compared to the conversations currently happening around Women. The conversations can, and should, happen simultaneously and in conjunction with each other in order for either to have any real value. This is not a place for more hot takes on Aziz Ansari, Oprah, #MeToo backlash, or Time’s Up. Although these events inform us, especially right now, I’d like to keep the content of Divine about more personal experiences that have definite value, rather than arguing about pop culture or politics on a more general level. This can be a space to share personal accounts of sexual harassment, abuse or rape; however, while the goal of Divine is to be raw and honest, it is also to be loving and empowering and downright sexy, so I will be selective with the darker content in order to keep some semblance of balance.
Send an email to TalkToMe@Divine-Mag.com with the following information:
- Who you are and/or what you do (in a nutshell).
- How you identify in terms of both gender and sexuality.
- Either the piece you'd like to submit (if it's already finished) or a synopsis of the idea you'd like to pursue for a piece (if it's yet to be made)
- What format / size it will be.
- And if it's not obvious, please tell me why the piece is relevant to the subject matter or why you're choosing to bring the subject matter to Divine.
Submission types may include: story, poetry, fine art, illustration, typographic art, photography, or any other type of printable art you can muster. Video submissions are accepted; however, digital outlets are limited to social media, promotion and event use. Photo stills from the video must be submitted for print use.
Submissions are due by Friday, February 16th by midnight PST.
Contributors will be selected by Friday, March 2nd.
And all final art and writing will be due by Friday, March 23nd.
For an early May release, date TBD.