“It’s a quality that I was born with, it’s a part of my birth, but I am assigned a gender, and I am conditioned to aspire to that gender or otherwise risk being ostracized, ridiculed, even murdered. —S. Legend
The website MasculineUs.com is an ongoing project by the artist Sheba Legend, focused on a demographic of women — heterosexual and same-gender-loving women — who identify as masculine.
“We are hidden within other demographics—for safety or for convenience,” says Legend who herself identifies this way. “In the process that ‘energy’ is suppressed. Women are victimized and killed at a phenomenal rate because of warped perspectives. If this ‘beauty’ is allowed to be cultivated, the end result is magnificent. It doesn’t always end up in a pair of trousers or with a man’s haircut, it can translate into things that CEOs are made of, that presidents and rulers, and great doctors are made of.”
This is Legend’s forum.
Several years ago, Legend started to randomly photograph women she recognized as fitting into this demographic on the streets of New York. “I needed to see myself in others physically—this ‘energy.'” She began by going to Christopher Street, and asking women if she could take their photographs. “I realized the impulse was bigger than myself, and I confided in my brother, who felt that I had something there to run with. That was the birth of MasculineUs.com.”
Legend’s goal is to document 1,600 women (a number determined by the Smithsonian Institution as viable statistical data.) Her aim is to prove that this is a group of women who do not identify with any other demographic other than female; they may be straight or same-gender loving, but they identify with this specific energy—“this position.” (The Smithsonian Institution has invited Legend to meet this goal, and to be included in a Time Capsule project.)
Legend ultimately plans to present her project to other non-governmental organizations in hopes of partnering to use this information to advocate for comprehensive services for women of this demographic, worldwide.
Visit MasculineUs.com to inquire about being documented; or to answer a short questionnaire and/or submit your own photos for consideration.
The MasculineUs Project has a live televised program every second Wednesday of the month, 6 – 6:30pm, via your local cable provider: Cablevision 67-69, Time Warner 34, 56, 79, Verizon FIOS 42-44, RCN 82-84.