The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Black Student Services, Kings Ascension and the Center of Multicultural Services hosted Masculinity Monday at the Campus Center on Monday.
The discussion included defining toxic masculinity, the idea of performing to a standard with the rejection of femininity or normal human traits such as affection. Students mentioned that it is important to surround yourself with people that are open-minded and know how to embrace their masculinity and femininity.
“It starts with having good role models,” Manny Forde, sophomore rhetoric communications major, said. “My older brother tells me to be yourself, and not care what others think of you.”
Students discussed having a both feminine and masculine side, how to balance it, and how to tap into each side.
“I am kind of a chameleon, it depends who I am around and the energy they give, but there is no need to force myself to act a certain way,” Jada Newkirk, graduate psychology major, said.
They mentioned it is not societal norms that define someone, but self expression is what really matters. This even includes colors, such as men should not wear the color pink. Students discussed how the media has played a role in the mindset of fitting into a box, doing what others say and not being authentic to oneself.
Another sub-topic included in the discussion was how different it is to show support towards a man during a vulnerable experience compared to a woman. Students talked about how society is more accepting to women expressing their emotions and being sensitive, while men do not know how to fully express what they are feeling and do not like talking about it.
“Men take a logical route instead of a thoughtful approach,” Forde said. “They want to find a solution right away, instead of taking the time to understand what they are feeling.”
Male students mentioned that they preferred talking about their emotions to women because they helped them understand it better. They said men do not necessarily talk about their emotions with each other because it feels strange or awkward.
While women want someone to listen to them, they prefer to talk things out. This does not necessarily mean to find a solution, but to further understand the emotions they are going through.
“You can’t find a solution until you figure out where the feelings are coming from, get a better picture and take apart a lot of the feelings covered up,” Newkirk said.
One of the key messages was to encourage students to be themselves and not care what others say. This includes the way each person acts, what they wear and their beliefs. Also, to get rid of the feeling of needing to live up to certain expectations.
The groups organizing the event hope to continue Masculinity Monday, every Monday this upcoming Fall semester. This was the first meeting and invite students to attend in the future, the discussion involves activities and is student-based.