Workshop updates students’ views on masculinity

Charles Rankin

Men Can Stop Rape was a discussion-based workshop aimed at teaching healthy masculinity Sept. 18 in Washburn B.

Led by Jeremy Hardy, training and technical assistance coordinator, the workshop began with the simple task of looking at “Fight Club’s” Tyler Durden and Kanye West and answering the question: Between the two, who’s the real man?

The discussion that followed looked at qualities that make up a “real man” in the eyes of society today, such as being the financial provider for one’s family, being physically strong and being calm and collected.

Later in the workshop, students were asked to think of the strongest man that they’d known in their lives. Responses varied between their past coaches, their fathers or someone they knew that had served in the Marine Corps. Most of these answers had in common was a familial connection to the students, humility and a respect for others. They also looked at how these qualities matched up against the previous qualities of the “real man” exercise.

“These people that are being mentioned share one important thing,” said Pat McGann, director of strategy and planning for Men Can Stop Rape. “They are treating people like they matter, and that is the biggest thing we want you to take away from this.”

McGann talked about how necessary it is that people treat one another like they matter. He said that when we think of people as less than ourselves, we are more prone to act hurtfully toward them, whether it be physical or emotional.

At the end of the workshop, students broke into groups to discuss ways that they could individually help promote healthy masculinity and how groups around campus could help with this in the longterm as well.

The workshop had a positive impact upon students.

“It was helpful to just see a better view of what masculinity should be and how we can improve it on our campus,” said Blake Cheatham, sophomore kinesiology major. “I’m really glad I was able to come.”

Other students agreed that their perspectives on what masculinity should mean have changed.

“I got a different aspect of what healthy masculinity is,” said Lenny Robinson, freshman nursing major. “I think after this, we are all more knowledgeable about what it really means to ‘be a man.’”