Justin Maxon

Sissy Boy Sweet

Power is what? Control over the time, space, and bodies of human interaction? Authority over images, photographs and visual frames that confirm how to make sense of the unknown? Giving power away comes effortlessly. The pathway to get it back is to return in time to images both personal and cultural; iconic childhood references, lost family photographs, childhood yearbooks: where children smash against and into each other with smiling faces, flawless and fashioned childhoods. My childhood was not a sculpted beauty. I was terrorized for being a boy others did not want me to be. Sissy Boy Sweet seeks to confront the hegemony of white masculinity that defines the viable traits of manhood, which cracks perception to become the social norms of hyper-masculinity through readily accessible visual cultural formations such as film, TV, and games.

Sissy Boy Sweet attempts to reclaim the landscape of the bullied by understanding how the memories of events long past capture themselves inside the imaging of the mind; how that capturing manipulates the physical and internal landscape of the psychosomatic home, and the embodiment of those stories. I attempt to respond to the complex evolving nexus; where does a child begin to give power away, and then ultimately how someone else being in control becomes the comfortable threat around every corner. I borrow on traditional modes of therapeutic practice adapting it to the visual frame. The spirit of narrative therapy is the reconstruction of identity by generating alternative possible world semantics: to embrace the sissy boy as the sweet boy and the expansiveness that comes from non-gender conformity. Through reconstructing a fragmented trauma from a larger occurrence, the complete experience may be saved with appropriate sensations; then learning through the softness of understanding accrues, which creates a future guide to engender stability and emotional health.

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