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

Belmont athletes help clinch rugby bronze at Youth Olympic Games

Canadians edge out Colombia in bronze medal game, 24-19

Tennis bubble grand opening at Bear Mountain

Work on the dome started last spring

Challengers topple incumbents in several South Island races

2018 civic election ushers in new faces across the CRD

Victoria and Saanich voters elect to move ahead with amalgamation talks

Victoria and Saanich voters have chosen to move ahead with exploring amalgamation… Continue reading

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

One year to election: Trudeau Liberals gear up for tussles on climate, premiers

Analysts say that the Liberals have reason to be ‘fairly confident’

GUEST COLUMN: B.C.’s proportional representation vote is dishonest, misleading

Veteran of 2005 Citizens’ Assembly urges rejection of new voting systems

Most Read