‘Boys Will Not Be Boys’

Today I was one of the few males at the SPARK Summit. I was a part of the Male Allies Action Spot. The Male Allies Action Spot consisted of different groups like Men Can Stop Rape, Planned Parenthood, Hunter Kincaid (several organizations and a lecturer at Hunter College), and Ian and I.

At our station we had a ‘Ask Men a Question’ wall. Some of the questions asked were:

Would you date a woman who is more powerful than you? Smarter? [Has] more strength? Better job?

Are you satisfied with depictions of manliness and masculinity in mainstream media?

What do you feel you can do to get other men and boys to confront and fight sexism and misogyny?

Why are women called sluts & men are called studs?

How can men be more included in SPARK next year?

Why should women be sexualized and not men?

Have you ever been afraid to do something because it would make you look/act ‘like a girl?

Can you ACTUALLY be just friends with a girl?

Why is it that half the time men insist on acting like pigs and degrading women?

Have you ever stood up for a girl getting sexually harassed on the subway or street?

These questions do not represent all feminists or feminists at all. The questions themselves can also be reflected back.

And the list goes on. From these questions, using a voice recorder, I asked some of the young men at the Male Allies Action Spot some of these questions. The other members of the Male Allies Action Spot want to create a website where they ask men on the street to answer these questions so that women can see the thought process of some men and find out ‘What are these men thinking?”

It was an amazing experience seeing so many people extremely happy to see so many males there. Some people literally read the sign and their faces lit up. I feel like we made their day so much better by just being there. The most frequent question was along the lines of “Why are you here?”. When we brought up the fact that we were in a Feminism course they all freaked out and were absolutely shocked that a high school taught feminism and that guys were taking it. I’m really bad with names  but a speaker that comes in for Celine’s “Oh Boy!’ course was there and she was reconnecting with Ian and asked me if I was going to take ‘Oh Boy!’. Some of the visitors who heard that we are in a feminism course and that there is a masculinity course offered surprised them. They told us we were really lucky to have that option and that they wish they had that option in high school.

This has been a really cool experience seeing so many people actually happy to see (young) men a part of a convention like the SPARK Summit.

6 thoughts on “‘Boys Will Not Be Boys’

  1. This really made me see that not all guys are bad, not that I assumed all were. This showed me that there are more guys out there who aren’t jerks when it comes to women, and actually care about the issues that we face daily. When you said that a question was how more men could join, I was honestly shocked to read that simply because most guys I know would never go to the SPARK summit, and would never even think about considering women’s rights unless they were forced to. I think it’s great that you guys being there made men WANT to come next year because they find an interest in it.

  2. It’s great that there was such a positive response to the Male Allies action spot at the summit. I feel like males aren’t really given much attention in battles such as these since they specifically affect women and are led by women but it’s really good that you guys were out there. I also think that the website is an amazing idea since it could be a place where women could openly and honestly communicate with men and also, men could have a voice and have a hand in stopping negative issues that affect women.

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