Last semester I attended the Men and Masculinity Symposium put on by the Emily Taylor center for women and gender equality (the center catering to all genders despite it’s name). The symposium consisted of over seven speakers and began with an introduction by Hunter Finch.
As the introduction finished the group was given the names of five presentations they could attend. In the first breakout round, I made my way up to the Curry room to learn about
Preventing Sexual Violence: A Guide to Do’s and Don’ts for Men as Allies in Violence Prevention presented by Dustin Struble. Only girls filled the room, despite the male speaker, and midway through his speech he asked us to consider why no man had chosen to hear his topic. He spoke about the expectations held on men as they struggle to fit the type of man society wants to see, as well as the privileges that come along with being a male. Privileges that most men don’t consider as they step on another’s toes, “manspread” in planes, and take credit for other’s ideas especially those of the women in their life or the women that have come before them.
He discussed how society is more apt to trust a man and how even, in what would be considered more of a “woman’s job,” men are payed more, praised more, and can climb the escalator of success faster. He admittedly said he is not perfect but by coming to an awareness of what male privilege is, he is better able to fight for equity in order for true equality to occur.
Other speakers at the event talked on topics such as The Restrictions on Black Masculinity, Gender Roles in Rape Culture, and How Frat can Hurt Fraternity. After the breakout sessions were finished we returned to Alderson auditorium to hear Dr. Curt Brungardt speak. He spoke on his step daughter whose life had been taken by her ex-boyfriend in an domestic violence situation. His daughter worked in women’s rights and discussed daily how domestic violence needs to be prevented so Dr. Brungardt presented her life in discussion to show how just anyone can be affected by domestic violence; no one is immune.
Lastly we heard from panelists and were able to attend one more speak during the second round of breakout sessions. The Emily Taylor Center did a fantastic job with this event and the speeches were very enlightening considering most often than not we don’t discuss the unrealistic expectations placed on men.