Women’s Center explores toxic masculinity

Nabin Bista
Staff Writer

An event titled “Toxic Masculinity” is planned for Thursday at noon, in the Women’s Center in the CSU at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

This event features casual, interactive discussions on the social origins of male gender in American society addressing the meaning of toxic masculinity and how toxic masculinity has been socially constructed which explores how masculinity is constructed socially and what expectations this construction places on men in America.

Hunter J. Beckstorm, who is one of the organizers, said, “As men, we are not born with an inherent notion of what it means to ‘be a man’, rather we are told how to ‘be a man’ by our parents, peers, television shows and movies, schools, the government, and more.”

Organizers of this event hope that participants will bring their own perspectives and experiences of toxic masculinity to the event as they encourage a broad discussion of the phrase rather than a lecture, exploring many examples of toxic masculinity in popular culture.

Additionally, the audience can expect a challenging conversation around masculinity that will incorporate multiple views in order to gain more understanding of this topic and how it can affect those around you.

As far as definition of the term “toxic masculinity” goes, Taylor Bergstorm, who is another organizer says, “Toxic masculinity is a political buzzword that has a connotation that says “being male is toxic.” But a more academic understanding of the term comes from R.W. Connell’s “Hegemonic Masculinity”, which essentially states that the portrayal of masculinity in society perpetuates men to be a position of power. In other words, being male means having a higher position in society while being anything outside of traditional “male” leads to a lower position in society. 

The organizers’ goal towards the event will depend on the views and participation of those that are present, and as the result of discussion can branch out in different ways. The main goal of the event is to facilitate a discussion that can help people learn something new. 

Approached by Liz Steinborn-Gourley to lead a conversation on this topic, this event is open to people of all identities, as anyone can have experiences, perceptions, interactions with masculinity. Organizers hope to bring in male students on campus as it is truly men’s role to help redefine and transform traditional norms of masculinity, it is believed that anyone can benefit from an understanding of toxic masculinity and how it harms everyone in society.

Feature photo by Maria Ly | MSU Reporter.

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