MAC Deals with Big Issues

Alyssa Mayo

Men Advocating Change (MAC) held a Brown Bag Lunch on Tuesday in the Women’s Studies Center to spread awareness about their activities on campus.They meet to discuss what it means to be a man, and how boys from a very young age are taught to embody the popular conception of “manliness.”The group also hopes to confront issues of sexual assault.

Director of Residential Education, Tim Mansfield, and Director of the Counseling Center, Mark Thompson, co-leaders of MAC, introduced the group and spoke about the responsibility of men to also confront sexual assault, as it should not just be the victim’s concern.

“It would be unfair and we would be short sighting ourselves if we thought that men were never victims,” Thompson said. He pointed out, however, that women are usually the victims of sexual assault.

MAC began as a group to address sexual assault, but the group now discusses everything from pornography to violence in an educational workshop between peers.

According to Thompson, the group offers an opportunity for men to respect each other and break out of the macho and emotionally suppressive masculine stereotype.He understands that this kind and scale of change is vast, but that MAC has the ability to make even a slight impact.

For some members of MAC, the group has encouraged awareness of different issues. Junior JD Powers joined out of concern for his two sisters and the prevention of sexual assault, but now feels that it is important to break the feigned “macho

fa?cade” that most males today force upon themselves and others.

A clip from the movie Tough Guise, directed by Jackson Katz, was shown, presenting what Katz calls the “crisis of masculinity.” Both the movie and MAC analyze how society teaches men how to act, what to share with the world and what emotions to suppress.Both have identified sexual assault as a repercussion of this reality.MAC works to brainstorm ways to reverse this stereotype with the hope that this could affect the frequency of assault.

While the very existence of MAC could be construed as the perpetuation of the mentality of male superiority and dominance in its protective mission, a point that an audience member raised, Mansfield countered that the group and discussions are open to both men and women and that female members contribute important perspectives.