Nick Sandor (left) and Sheldon Kitzul (right) are part of the team behind ReImagining Masculinities, a one-day conference at UVic May 11, exploring what it’s like to identify as male in the post #MeToo world. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Victoria team wonders what ReImagining Masculinities could do

One-day conference discusses what it means to identify as male in a post #MeToo world

Sheldon Kitzul is tired of hearing “boys will be boys.”

The father, leadership coach and social worker had been chewing on the idea of creating a men’s conference for some time, even before the #MeToo movement kicked into high gear the conversations around men, women, sexualized violence and the toxic role gendered expectations can play.

He mentioned to his friend, Victoria city Coun. Jeremy Loveday, that he wanted to see something where men and boys could share space to open that dialogue.

“We couldn’t pin it on any one demographic,” Kitzul says of the team behind ReImagining Masculinities, the one-day conference happening at the University of Victoria this Friday (May 11).

Folks of all genders are invited to engage in healthy, meaningful dialogue with the goal of reaching more positive and supportive models of masculinity in Victoria.

“It’s for people who are in that state of readiness,” he explains. “People wondering, ‘What do I talk to my son about? This is the world he’s in.’”

And, the world is still a place where the vast majority of sexualized violence that takes place is by men against women, he points out.

“As men, it’s our thing, we’ve got to do something about it.”

With Loveday; Sean Dhillon, chair of the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre; Greater Victoria School District Trustee Jordan Watters and sexual health educator Nick Sandor, Kitzul has assembled a day of workshops, panels and discussions, as well as a youth segment with performance art and spoken word.

“Some people want to listen to people talk and some people are going to have a lot to say,” Sandor says. “It’s about making space for all of that.”

He considers the conference a community-building exercise to look at an extremely nuanced topic, as a holistic issue. This is an attempt at being a catch-all to bring together families, young people and those in the dating community, he explains. “Issues related to gender violence and masculinity travel through all those areas.”

Topics on the agenda include building a culture of consent, dismantling sexism in male dominated spaces, what represents toxic masculinity and being a man in today’s society.

The hope is that participants will explore those and other concepts, under the larger overarching issues of sexuality, racism, colonialism and feminism.

“It’s essential that we recognize colonialism,” Kitzul says. “Patriarchy and colonization are intertwined.”

He adds that the masculinity many grew up with, that we continue teach each other, police each other in and teach our boys has actually been harmful.

While tickets are selling fast for the auditorium space of just 300 people, the entire conference will also be live-streamed at consciouslivestreams.com.

“I think what scares men about it is feminism does so much work to point out those power dynamics or inequality,” Sandor says. “But it’s kind of this precarious space for men, because we know what’s wrong with traditional notions of masculinity, but we’re still kind of at this awkward stage of creating a positive alternative for the future.”

For more information, check out reimaginingmasculinities.com or follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Community gardens sprouting on the West Shore

Organizers hope gardens will help building community

Town of View Royal wants to regulate Helmcken Park and Ride

The Town had to put up residential only parking because of overflow

Saanich Inlet bridge billion-dollar price tag too expensive says ministry

Malahat alternatives not practical from engineering, budget standpoint

B.C. Ferries cancels Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen sailings over propulsion problem

11:00 ferry now good to go, but lines anticipated

Meet the 2018 Tour de Rock team

Retired Spectrum principal among team introduced at Spectrum

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

Vancouver Island wife brings husband back to life with CPR, thanks to 911 dispatcher

‘The dispatcher literally taught me CPR over the phone’

Suspected scammer attempts to use Black Press newspaper to dupe woman

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre offers tips after Langley resident received suspicious call

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

COLUMN: Women’s breasts really aren’t that big a deal

A follow on some Princeton, B.C., students gained considerable exposure when they dropped their bras

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

Beekeepers offer to pick up unwanted swarms

Capital Region Beekeepers Association sets up swarm line for residents to call

Most Read