by Christopher Marinelli
The men of Central Connecticut got in touch with their feminine sides last week during “The Bro Code: Masculinity and the Courage to Change,” hosted by philosopher and filmmaker, Tom Keith.
The Women’s Center sponsored event focused in on issues of race, gender inclusiveness and media studies.
“Men can be a very difficult demographic,” said Keith. “Some men will feel that they’re being attacked and get defensive.”
One of the major points Keith drove home was how most sex-related crimes are typically caused by men. “Many crimes are gendered. When you get into sex crimes, it is overwhelmingly men. According to the U.S. Department Of Justice, it is 99 percent of men that commit these crimes,” said Keith.
Keith imparted a heartbreaking story about a male student who shared his experience with sexual assault, and the affect it had on his family while in attendance of one of his lectures.
“A young man came up and was shaking. He said, ‘I have something to share.’ For a while he didn’t say anything. He finally started to talk, and said he wanted to talk about his experience with rape,” said Keith. “‘I used to be in a fraternity. I saw your film ‘The Bro Code,’ and I was one of those kids. About six months ago, my sister was gang raped at one of those fraternities. My parents are now at the brink of divorce; this past December she took her own life.’”
The room felt heavy as Keith paused for several moments. “This is something you can’t possibly understand what it must feel like unless you’ve gone through it.”
So how do we get more men involved in this movement of gender equality? The answer is complicated. According to Keith, a necessity would be to get men more heavily involved in these types of situations.
Keith went on to emphasize points of double standards and issues of sexual objectification in modern media, and how it has an influence on the behaviors of society before presenting clips from his upcoming film.
One of the clips compared the different ways the opposing genders are portrayed in the media, such as, how men “seem dignified,” and how women are placed in sexual poses. Keith continued with another clip of the movie, this time reversing the two in a comical way.
Keith also made a distinct point on the differences between sexual empowerment and sexual objectification. “Fashion modeling isn’t a bad thing, it’s that they were portraying these women as children. Women were put in these ridiculous poses you would feel silly to be in. Male models are always portrayed as masculine and empowered.”
Keith urged students to get involved with the Women’s Center as well as the importance of being conscious of the double standards set up in society. Having a conversation is the first step in addressing the problems at hand.
Interested students and faculty can view “The Bro Code” by Tom Keith in the Women’s Center for free by appointment.