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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 16, 2024

Symposium discusses matters of masculinity Friday night

Faculty and students had the chance to exchange ideas about how masculinity impacts Texas A&M over pizza Friday night.

As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Department of Student Life and the Office of Consensual Language, Education, Awareness and Relationships, or “CLEAR” hosted  a conference, called “Our Masculinity Matters.” The symposium brought men together from across different backgrounds to discuss what masculinity meant in different cultures and to different identities.

April-Autumn Jenkins is the program coordinator for CLEAR. Jenkins said A&M’s history as an all-male university until the 1960s makes the discussion relevant to campus.

“How are we as men and women working towards equality?” Jenkins said. “We’ve made strides, but we’re taking time for men to come out and talk about how peer pressure between men and the ideas of being a man can lead to violence.”

One of the invited guests was Eric Johnson. Johnson — who works with several community organizations and co-founded Optimum Lifestyle, a program which gives people tools to develop healthy relationships and provide a safe environment — said that strict gender roles also affect men.

“There are many people who haven’t fully lived their purpose and their destiny just because it doesn’t fit the small box that has been created for men,” Johnson said.

Dustin Grabsch, an agricultural leadership, education and communication graduate student who attended the conference said the representation of men in different ways was a major takeaway for him.

“The main thing I took away was that masculinity and manhood changes in different contexts, like the military and sports,” Grabsch said.

Jenkins summed up the role of the conference when he said that there is more than one type of man.

“Masculinity isn’t one brand of masculinity. If you get into the intersection of race or even sexual orientation that also haven’t been always acceptable in this situation,” Jenkins said. “That’s why we were very intentional on saying ‘Our Masculinity Matters.’ Which masculinity matters? They shift. It all matters.”

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