Caleb Schroeder (MFA 2021)
My work questions societal perceptions of masculinity. Specifically, I examine and manipulate social codes imbedded in American men’s suit jackets to not only reveal the social scripts, but to implant new ones, to liberate them from forming a fixed gender. As a gender variant individual, I’m interested in creating works that reclaim and reimagine “masculinity.”
Throughout my life, I’ve experienced pressure to change internally, externally, and socially, to fit a masculine form that’s more recognizable and definable. I have experienced pressure from a close friend to be more macho on the dance floor–to “take control.” A former partner questioned if I would protect them if we were under attack. A family member told me that I was thin, and not a healthy looking thin. A date expressed concern that I was gay because my voice is higher than normal. These situations put pressure on me to conform to an American masculinity that required taking up space, being assertive, and being physically strong–characteristics that I would never measure up to nor ever want.
It wasn’t until I adopted a queer lens that I was I able to begin to discover a new form of masculinity that I felt was authentic to myself. My work functions to reclaim by body and my gender expression–to express and celebrate its in-betweenness.