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Syros’ new photo series redefines masculinity in sport

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The latest version of Syros features two heeled boots inspired by baseball gear. the Wilson Boots ($ 240), with red stitching, is inspired by the actual ball, while the brown leather Mitten boots ($ 240) are inspired by mittens. To accompany the new shoes, Bae and Han also released a new special photo series; it addresses the air of toxic masculinity permeating the sports world, an arena that continues to be strictly divided by gender, and is particularly exclusive queer athletes. (In the 100-year history of the NFL, for example, would have There were only 14 openly gay or bisexual players.) It’s a tribute to all gay people who feel identified as failures from an athletic standpoint, Bae says.

For the photo series, the duo wanted to combine male sports equipment with a more feminine and fashionable aesthetic. The resulting looks take the codes of athletic style and twist them to be more fluid and free. The pair styled their models in their heels and even created special sets that are twisted versions of sports uniforms. In one look, one model sports a cropped jacket made entirely of baseball mittens. In another, one model sports an all-white combat fighter look that includes a tank, mesh garter and training helmet, all reminiscent of Baes’ own story of practicing taekwondo growing up. I did this for 10 years and went to a black belt, says Bae. I realized how very binary sport is. Men and women compete exclusively, and there is no room for fluidity of the sexes in sport. Even growing up, I had to be separated from all my girlfriends, and I had to play with these boys that I hated and who hated me.

Photo: Dylan Thomas

Bae and Hans live as queer kids in high school gymnastics classes, in particular, the locker room and their feeling of not being manly enough was another driving force behind the project. All our queer friends too hated gym class, Han said. Queer kids are already being bullied outside the gym glass, and suddenly found themselves in a space where we have to change and face the awkwardness of our own bodies. It is also the first time that we see other male bodies, so there is the attraction, but the confusion and the feeling of inferiority. It’s a breeding ground for toxic masculinity. They wanted to show through fashion that queer people should be able to comfortably hold space as athletes. That’s our way of saying fuck the system, Han said.

Photo: Dylan Thomas

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