Claremont students: masculinity is 'toxic to our mental health'
A group at the Claremont Colleges called “5Cs Thrive” hosted an event Monday called “Masculinity + Mental Health” which focused on the mental health problems caused by masculinity.
“Masculinity can be extremely toxic to our mental health, both to the people who are pressured to perform it and the people who are inevitably influenced by it,” the event’s organizers state in the description. “We would like to encourage discussion on how to openly talk about our emotions and our wellbeing, and how to engage in masculine identities in a healthy way.
“Relevant to this discussion is how masculinity can harm our relationships with people and one’s ability to cope when relationships are difficult or end,” the synopsis continues. “We want to create a safe and open space where we can talk about masculinity and its various intersections with our identities and experiences.”
5Cs Thrive describes itself as “a safe space for students at the 5c’s to talk about mental health,” and is part of the Rick and Susan Sontag Center for Collaborative Creativity (The Hive).
The Hive’s stated mission is “to accelerate the creative development of students across the 5Cs. We do that through Exploration–by creating a safe space to experiment and play, Collaboration–by bringing people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives together to be in the ‘intellectual muck’ together, and through Experiential Learning–thinking by doing.”
The event received some positive feedback on Facebook. One woman, Lizbeth Ramirez, posted, “THANK YOU from the fullness of my heart for having this available for my fellow brothers.”
Miles Robinson (PO ’18), who attended the event, told The Claremont Independent that there was “a common consensus that masculinity is harmful both to those who express it and those affected by it” among attendees.
“It was all talk through personal experiences,” stated Robinson.
Robinson added that all of the organizers of Thrive—as well most of the attendees of Thrive’s weekly functions—are female, and the group hosted this event in the hopes of getting more men to come.
It seems Thrive’s efforts were not entirely successful, as some students avoided the event out of concern that it would alienate men.
“If masculinity is described as something negative—a mental illness—then this is sexism against men,” stated Will Gu (PO ’20) in an email to the Independent. “Safe spaces…are supposed to make everyone feel comfortable. Criticizing masculinity makes males who adhere to traditional gender norms uncomfortable.”
A representative from Thrive did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.
This article was originally published in The Claremont Independent, a conservative student newspaper affiliated with the Leadership Institute's Campus Leadership Program. Its articles are republished here with permission.
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