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Redefining modern masculinity

Carlos A. Gomez (centre) in a photo with staff members of Build. Act. Change. Preventing Violence Together (photo by Ao Wang)

Redefining modern masculinity

There is an unconventional belief that manhood is somehow defined by aggression. That is the essence of perpetual acts of violence against women.

On November 21st, UTSC students received a message about striving to be not just men but good men at an event sponsored by the project Build. Act. Change. Preventing Violence Together.

Man Up: redefining masculinity in 2013 featured New York based award-winning poet, activist, writer and actor Carlos Andres Gomez, who challenged male students to fully embrace who they are, and not what society taught them they are supposed to be - ready to fight at all times, treat women as objects, always in control, and close off their emotional selves.

“We live in a world where we feel like the stakes are so high to prove we are men that we are ready to take a life or lose our life in a blink of an eye over nothing,” he says. “We need to stop that destructive narrative of masculinity.”

Gomez, who has published his empirical teachings in a book titled Man Up: Reimaging Modern Manhood, says it saddens him to meet with prisoners who suffer consequences of this traditional narrative. Many of them now want to be good men but sadly it’s too late, he says.

Reshma Dhrodia, Project Manager of Build. Act. Change. Preventing Violence Together, says their goal is to engage people in preventing violence against women, and if they were not talking to men they wouldn’t be addressing the real facts.

“Most perpetrators of violence against women are men and it’s limiting, because we all know women, we all value women, we all have mothers and sisters and friends who’ve been affected by this,” she says, stressing that violence against women is really violence against ourselves, our families and our communities.

“I also think that some women sometimes buy into this notion of men’s aggressiveness.”

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