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If we are given a right to make choices for ourselves, this is one more thing we should feel indebted towards our nation. You are going to agree with me on this point, aren't you?
On May 11, 2015, more than 37,000 male youth of Lithuania, mainly belong to the age group of 19-26 woke up with their names listed in compulsory military conscription. They had no rights to switch their choices, they were left with the one, ordered by the Lithuanian government. Some of them realized themselves unfit and impossible for the job they will have to compulsorily join. The most disgraceful thing about it was, if these young men do not accept to be in the army, will be regarded unmanly and cowardly. The news turned out to be a very controversial topic in Lithuania. Some of the young men chose social media to express their thoughts about the concern. After going through them, two Lithuanian photographer, Beata and Neringa decided to spread their emotions, feeling and thoughts creatively using their photography approach. They randomly selected 14 men in military uniforms and took their portraits. They made the pictures so live that they seem speaking with the beholders.
The project brought gender expectation into the limelight. It tried to convey that a man is always expected to be rational, emotionless and aggressive. In the society, they are never taught to express their emotions. The artist gave these men a chance to voice their opinions about this stereotype freely with the world.
Let's read more to know what men in the pictures talk about the roles given to them and what actually manliness according to them should mean to everyone.
"A gun in your hands doesn't define your manliness": Jaunius, 18.
"Army won't make a man out of you – if you are a dumbass, you will stay a dumbass": Vytautas, 27.
"It's my choice what kind of man I want to be.": Dominykas, 26.
"The real strength is the ability to make your own mind. Let us be strong.": Justas, 18.
"I could go to the army. Sometimes I lack courage and stamina to do things. Army is good if you can handle it. I was inspired by my friend, a girl, who became a voluntary soldier.": Vytenis, 18.
"Can you imprison a man's choice and call it free living?": Edvinas, 17
"In my opinion, the archaic times when a man was supposed to kill a buffalo and drag it home to his family are long over. I think that army is not a bad thing in general, but a compulsory one is definitely not a good thing either. Especially when the government announced it so suddenly without any public debate or preparation. A system should be introduced, one should know at school that there is a possibility to serve in the army, one should grow up with this idea.": Danas, 28
"In today's free society there is no space for coercion. Compulsory things should be the ones you choose with your free will.": Denisas, 23.
"It's manly to be able to choose for yourself": Martynas, 22
"Only when fighting you lose.", Jegor, 25
"It is manly to work for your goals and ideas, and defend your values. I guess, everyone can go to the war, but army is not for everyone.": Rokas, 17
"When I was still at school, conscript army was removed. I was very happy then, but when I look back, I realize it was a better time to go to the army than it would be now when I have my own agency and when I have created jobs for other people – I need to look after all of it.": Mindaugas, 25
"Army is a waste of time. How many more soldiers do we need?": Justas, 27
"If I was called to the army, I would try to find a way to avoid it. I have a wife, we are so good together and family for me is first. We have created so much, I wouldn't want to leave it.": Lukas, 25
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