I wanted to give women an opportunity to express traits that are typically associated with men.
I wanted to show women’s beauty juxtaposed with masculine projections of strength.
Notions of beauty are usually associated with women who are expressing entirely feminine traits, but women don’t have to have the pretty hair and makeup and dresses to be beautiful. We can be masculine or androgynous and still be beautiful. Beautiful women go to war, and work construction. They are police officers and CEOs. They are cage fighters, boxers and they play football.
I’m telling the women’s story because that’s what I relate to. I’m a woman exploring a woman’s point of view, but the essence of this book is for everyone. It’s for men too. Machisma is simply saying no to gender norms, it is saying “screw you” to what society says that both men and women should be.
These portraits can be like therapy; they were for me. I was a tomboy and trained horses. For a while I had a job doing maintenance. I called myself a maintenance man. It’s been healing for me and for many of these women to embrace our masculine capacity.
Both women and men can be strong. Both women and men can be caring nurturers. While men and women may tend to be different overall, there is obviously a gender spectrum in nature. It’s normal for each of us to express a unique combination of masculine and feminine traits.
– Nina Covington