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Texas State Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion Holds Male Oriented Workshops

todayFebruary 19, 2016 24

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By Carlos Marquez III
Senior News Reporter

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    Texas State Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion Holds Male Oriented Workshops

 

Photo by Carlos Marquez III
Photo by Carlos Marquez III

The Texas State Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion is committed to providing cutting edge knowledge and skills to prepare students for leadership in a culturally diverse and global society. They coordinate several events throughout the semester to touch on various issues. They held a Male Retreat on Saturday, February 6th, to discuss and address issues college males face.

The event was six and a half hours long, which included three interactive workshops where students got the opportunity to share their thoughts on issues such as stigmas, lack of confidence, suppression of emotions and repressed memories. The group also examined why studies show that women are more successful in college than males are, which the group found to be because females are more likely to make use of their resources such as professors. Texas State Director of Disability Services Clint-Michael Reneau says that it is vital to address these issues to help collegiates males succeed.

“Men have to have a space to process,” Reneau said. “Many times is what we found is from a very young age, men are taught a very specific way to be a man and if you don’t somehow fit into this box that which you’ve been taught as a child or what society has mirrored to you, it really restricts a lot of things in your life; it restricts emotions, it restricts vulnerability, it cuts authenticity and deep connections off at the knees, often times and so folks really have to have where they can come in and kind of unpack some of these behaviors that they’ve learned and understand that there are multiple ways that men can develop masculinity that are healthy and men can inhibit multiple types of masculinity that represent various identities that they carry.”

Reneau says that research shows that when college men do not unpack these emotions, they’re more common to binge drink, exhibit gender violence and practice risky sexual behavior. Reneau further explained how males should work harder to define themselves and move away from fitting in the perception that society creates of a man.

“First, they have to understand who they are and what that means,” Reneau said. “And then they have to understand that they have the right to express what’s happening in their hearts, what they’re feeling and in their heads, so it’s about connecting your head and your heart. The other thing is, I would hope that men would realize that they’re worth it. They’re worth the struggle that it sometimes takes to unpack this stuff, whether it’s been stuff from our childhood or things that we didn’t hear from our own father or things (like) the pressure that we’re facing from our fraternity brothers or our roommate or whatever it is. There’s things if we’re willing to explore, ‘what is that really about?’ and also to understand that we have the right to definitely dive in and explore those things but also to know that you’re worthy of acceptance for who we are. A man doesn’t look one kind of way but we’ve been told that men do and so (try) to explore what that look is for you.”

The event staff also handed out a book at the event, “Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men”, written by State University of New York Sociology Professor Michael Kimmel. The book touches on the sociological pressures boys face as they drift through college and on to manhood. It offers us a view into the minds of America’s sons, brothers and boyfriends.

The Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion also coordinates an interactive workshop series for male students to discuss and develop solutions to problems in our society. The event is known as First Fridays: A Male Initiative. The next First Friday will be on March 4th. Students can visit the Student Diversity and Inclusion office in the LBJ student center at Texas State.

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