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April 16, 2018 | by  | in Opinion Presidential Address |
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Presidential Address

DISCLAIMER: If this hits home for you, or if you disagree, I’m keen to hear from you! We only grow by learning, and we only learn by talking to each other.

How do you take a topic like “taboo”, and accurately explain yourself in 300 words? I don’t know, but let’s give it a go.

I’m just going to speak from personal experience as a cis straight male about something becoming increasingly taboo: masculinity.

The toxic aspects of masculinity (e.g. lad culture, alpha-male bullshit, pretty awful stats around domestic and sexual violence) are being recognized and called out. This move towards breaking down toxic masculinity is fantastic, and an important step towards a society where everyone is valued and respected.

With a new generation of people telling the old school thinkers to get the fuck out, I reckon we need to start discussing what “being a man” can look like. Many believe that concepts of masculinity and femininity are irrelevant, outdated, and need to go. I can completely see how there is merit in those arguments, but also know that the idea of masculinity and femininity still form a large part of many people’s identities, mine included.

So as we break down masculinity and move on from the patriarchal version of it, we need to make sure we reclaim and redefine what it means.

By encouraging positive views of masculinity it means those individuals that mistreat others no longer can rely on the a false idea of what it means to “be a man”. Hopefully this encourages a better understanding of themselves, but more importantly, allows them to then show respect towards others and themselves.

It’s up to us, as those who identify as men, to ensure that this happens by realizing that no, masculinity as a whole isn’t under attack, and being a guy is cool. Instead we should use the current discourse to really think about the bits worth keeping that we hold central to our identity, and let go of all the rest.

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He Tāonga

:   I wanted to write this piece, in order to connect to all tauira within the University, with the hope that we can all remind ourselves that we are a part of an environment which is valuable, no matter our culture, our beliefs or our skin colour. The ultimate purpose of this