Please take a moment to watch this video from the Rhode Island Coalition against Domestic Violence’s Ten Men project. In this video, these men shed light on the significance of men challenging gender norms.
A video showing two professional baseball players hugging during a game has been circulating on social media. Many people have been condemning the display of affection as “gay.” These homophobic responses show how deeply entrenched rigid gender norms are for many people. The sight of two men embracing each other (reportedly after one of them learned that his mother passed away, though not confirmed) is so unusual for many people, that it was considered to be effeminate and worthy of criticism.
At the Katie Brown Educational Program, we teach a workshop called “BROmoting Healthy Masculinity,” where we explore the harmful effects of toxic masculinity and provide strategies for how men can be engaged in the movement against gender-based violence. It is important that men use their platform and privileges to hold their peers accountable for harmful behavior and attitudes that perpetuate violence.
One way to encourage men to take a stand is by launching a campaign called #KBEPManTalkMondays. Every Monday, post a question on your social media pages that addresses masculinity and gender-based violence. Have men ask each other the question and post the video of their response onto your page using #KBEPManTalkMonday. Click here for a list of great questions to ask!
Let us redefine “locker room talk.” The members of RICADV’s Ten Men project show that men can and should engage in thoughtful conversations about respect and healthy masculinity. The two baseball players referenced demonstrate that teammates are not people with whom to have conversations that reinforce and condone sexual violence, but people with whom compassion can and should be shared.
At the KBEP, we encourage people of all genders to express their humanity fully. We should all be free to cry, laugh, sing, or dance without having to face ridicule, shame, or violence. Thank you to the members of Ten Men for sharing your thoughtful perspectives. Let us all remember: men are people, too.