Women’s Center begins ‘Masculinity Project’ with panel discussion

Rachel Duthie

The Kent State Women’s Center presented the film “The Mask You Live In” and a following panel discussion in the KIVA on Tuesday evening to kick off the organization’s semester-long “Masculinity Project.” 

The event encouraged students to break down gender stereotypes, specifically in young boys and men, while detailing how media, sociology and family values play a significant role in these expectations. 

“With the experience of working at the Women’s Center and being the mom of four boys, I’m acutely aware of how much narrow gender stereotypes affect us all,” said Cassandra Pegg-Kirby, assistant director of the Women’s Center, in an interview with E-Inside. “ ‘The Mask You Live In’ ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.”

Directed by Jenneifer Siebal Newsom, “The Mask You Live In” follows the stories of several guys as they try to stay true to themselves while dealing with America’s definition of masculinity. The movie is made by The Representation Project, a nonprofit corporation interested in limiting the stereotypes that holds people back from fulfilling their human potential.

After the viewing of the movie, a panel discussion made up of five members of the Kent State community answered questions from students and discussed their own experiences of gender stereotyping.

“I was taught to be a dominating figure when I was growing up,” said N.J. Akbar, assistant dean of University College. “But gender is a social contrast. I hope that everyone leaves here with knowledge on how to break down walls, because you cannot live in a box your whole life.”

The event was a good start, according to Jenna Brinker, a college assistant for the Women’s Center and the LGBTQ Student Center. However, this is only the beginning.

“We will be continuing events around this theme throughout the semester,” Brinker said. “The Women’s Center has worked on the masculinity project to get important conversations generated on campus.”

Contact Rachel Duthie at [email protected].