Bridgewater College Hosts a Panel on Masculinity

Masculinity Panel Held as Part of a Series Sponsored by Three Local Educational Institutions

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  • Deshon Holmes, Neil Rittenhouse, Austin Vaughan, David Reznick, Daniel Jones, and Obie Hill answer questions from the audience about what masculinity means to them.

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Cassidy Wagoner, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va.- Bridgewater College hosted its first masculinity panel on Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Boitnott room. The panel consisted of three students, two professors and a local counselor – all who were male. The event was sponsored by James Madison University, Eastern Mennonite University and Bridgewater College. 

The panel discussed the cultural and societal impacts of how masculinity has changed over time. Participants were asked multiple questions throughout the panel of what masculinity means to them and what different stereotypes are given to masculinity. 

Bridgewater junior Daniel Jones defined masculinity as “masculinity has the technical definition, but a lot more plays into it.” 

Each of the panel participants had a different outlook on masculinity from how they were raised, and how they were taught differently on what it is to be a man in today’s society. 

“Masculinity is a term that is evolving and developing more and more” said senior Austin Vaughan. 

Sociology professor David Reznik, approaches masculinity as “being more seriously interrogated” in today’s society. He explained that in today’s culture we are more likely to realize these stereotypes and call them out. Reznik said this was a good thing for the culture of stereotyping. 

Masculinity has changed drastically throughout this generation, it can have many different characteristics. Deshon Holmes explained this as the “change of being able to be open.” Being open emotionally and being able to be vulnerable as a man can be considered as the new masculine characteristics. 

At the end of the panel, the audience was invited to write down a question and have it addressed by the participants of the panel. The Masculinity Panel addressed stereotypes and debunked myths of what masculinity is and how it has evolved in today’s society. 

There were also panels held at Eastern Mennonite University and James Madison University during the same week. The panel was held during Healthy Masculinity week, according to Shannon Pope, director of student wellness. She said, “JMU did a panel called “Men in Violence”, where they had four panelists talk about men’s role in violence and how they can be advocates for individuals who have experienced violence.” 

Additionally, Eastern Mennonite University did a type of workshop called “Engagement.” Pope explains that, “the mission or the goal of the panel was to start a discussion.” 

There are no other panels planned for the future, but Pope hopes to continue doing them because it is important for the community to feel safe discussing these types of topics.