From Josue Brocca’s interview with Lissa Rivera for Cultural Colectiva:
[CC]: The Beautiful Boy series is a defiant argument against the static conceptions of gender and the rigidity of beauty standards sponsored by our culture and media. Would you say that arguing against these restrictions of the self is what inspired the series?
[LR]: The work is about freedom—proclaiming the right to take on any identity you wish, and revealing the tools and construction of this process. I am exploring beauty techniques, but not in argument against them. I am more making an argument that femininity should be valued, that it is not less valuable than masculinity. It is not a problem for me that BJ is very feminine; in fact, it is quite a relief as a woman to be able to not only enjoy the beauty of my partner, but to proclaim this beauty that I see to the world. Women are able to wear pants and play sports without it seeming absurd, so why can’t men wear dresses? Why is this seen as weak, when it is in fact brave?
If feminine sexuality supposedly has the power to make men out of control, why can’t we just see this as power, instead of an invitation to be attacked and have that power revoked? Why should there be any shame in being feminine? Because BJ is a brave person, and by allowing himself to be my muse, I have been able to make thousands of images. Women have been the muses to men for all of history. What can women achieve if the role of the muse is seen as more valuable? And if men can be the subject of women’s gaze?