Portraits of men explore conscription and gender in Lithuania

Two women in Lithuania have created a series of photos, exploring the issue of conscription in Lithuania. Tiskevic-Hasanova and Neringa Rekasiute created the photo series after conscription was reintroduced in March 2015. The first call-up took place May 11th, when 2/3 of the 3,000 spaces to be filled were met by volunteers. The 14 photos can be seen here: http://www.boredpanda.com/army-men-portraits-lithuanian-draft-conscription-neringa-rekasiute-beata-tiskevic-hasanova/

The photo series features 14 men of conscription age exploring issues related to the military, gender, their families, and conscription, having been photographed with tears on their cheeks and wearing military camouflage clothing. In The Guardian, Rekasiute said “The men in the photographs are crying because in social media and mass media in Lithuania, the common opinion of people is that you have to ‘man up’, not to be a ‘cry baby’, not act as ‘a coward’ and go to the army. That those nine months won’t change anything in your life. To have a different opinion about conscription and masculinity is absolutely unpopular. We wanted to say that there is nothing wrong with tears and expressing emotions.”

Despite expressing support for the military in general, Rekasiute said that they still faced criticism for questioning the Lithuanian government's strategy of using conscription.

At the end of March, the Lithuanian parliament reinstated conscription. On 23rd March the Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite signed a legal ammendment which will see up to 3,500 men aged between 19 and 27 conscripted into the Lithuanian military in the autumn. The conscripts will be in the military for nine months.

Sources:

The Guardian: 'Return of conscription in Lithuania sparks debate over gender roles', http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/04/lithuanian-army-conscripts-moving-photography-project, 4 June, 2015

Bored Panda: 14 powerful portraits of men reacting to new mandatory army draft in Lithuania, http://www.boredpanda.com/army-men-portraits-lithuanian-draft-conscription-neringa-rekasiute-beata-tiskevic-hasanova/, 2 June 2015

Ukraine Today: Lithuania plans to call up 3,000 in 2015 as conscription reintroduction plans take shape, http://uatoday.tv/geopolitics/lithuania-plans-to-call-up-3-000-in-2015-as-conscription-reintroduction-plans-take-shape-417703.html, 26 March 2015