Reimagining Masculinities Initiative

The Reimagining Masculinities Initiative (RMI) is a collaborative project between the Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change that strives to cultivate, support, affirm, and create male allies and advocates.Through dialogues, films, workshops and personal stories, this initiative unpacks what it means to be masculine, and explores issues of masculinity and gender. In 2016-2017, RMI programmed the following sessions and workshops. Visit their Facebook page here.

  • September 27, 2016: Bow Tie Making Workshop
  • October 25, 2016: Beyond Machismo: Intersectional Latino Masculinities, a book talk with author Dr. Aida Hurtado
  • November 15, 2016: Masculinity and Blank-Phobia
  • January 24, 2017: Bow Tie Making Workshop
  • February 14, 2017: Trap Yoga
  • March 14, 2017: Men of Color, Mental Health and Masculinity (Part of the Marching Away from Machismo Series), in partnership with the Alpha Chi Chapter Theta, Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc.
  • April 11, 2017: Yes, Maybe, No: Navigating Consent through Masculinity, a film screening and post-viewing discussion.

September 27, 2016: Bow Tie Making Workshop

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm/ Latino Cultural Center 

The hands-on creative workshop introduced participants to the objectives of RMI by helping them evaluate the limited vision of masculinity. Using fabric markers and a plain black and white bow tie, participants embellished their own bow tie with bright bold colors and designs. They were invited to express what masculinities meant to them, learned how to tie a bow tie, and learned why the bow tie is a metaphor to unpack masculinities.

 

October 25, 2016: Beyond Machismo: Intersectional Latino Masculinities

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm/ Latino Cultural Center

A closer look at Latino masculinities reveals young, educated Latinos who are going beyond machismo to a deeper understanding of women’s experiences and a commitment to ending gender oppression. This new Latino manhood is the subject of the book Beyond Machismo, written by author and RMI guest speaker Dr. Aida Hurtado, professor and Luis Leal Endowed Chair in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

 

November 15, 2016: Masculinity and Blank-Phobia

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm/ Latino Cultural Center

When we think about masculinities, we often think of strength and power. What about fear and vulnerability? In this dialogue, RMI explored issues such as homophobia, femmephobia, and ideas of weakness. In the end, we hoped to identify and worked to address phobias that limit our masculinities. Dr. S., Assistant Director of the UIC Gender and Sexuality Center facilitated this dialogue.

 

January 24, 2017: Bow Tie Making Workshop

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm/ Latino Cultural Center

The hands-on, creative workshop introduced participants to the objective of RMI by helping them evaluate the limited vision of masculinity. Using fabric markers and a plain black and white bow tie, participants embellished their own bow tie with bright bold colors and designs. They were invited to express what masculinities meant to them, learned how to tie a bow tie, and learned why the bow tie is a metaphor to unpack masculinities.

 

February 14, 2017: Trap Yoga

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm/ Latino Cultural Center

This hour long class with yoga instructor Mila Kellen “Kels” was designed to connect participants to their core; not just their physical core but also their core beliefs and core values. Trap yoga is style of class that uses the soundscape as a tool for deeper practice, and offers participants an opportunity to work on internal focus. During the session at RMI, they were introduced to the foundations of yoga and breathe-awareness with a chance to find their physical work in balance poses, dope binds and restorative releases. Class was open to all levels and was ideal for yoga beginners. On their mat, participants learned to practice non-judgement and forgiveness to support living off their mat in full self-acceptance and confidence.

 

March 14, 2017: Men of Color, Mental Health and Masculinity (Part of the Marching Away from Machismo Series), in partnership with the Alpha Chi Chapter Theta, Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. Facilitated by members of the fraternity.

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm/ Latino Cultural Center

This Session engaged participants in an informative discussion about mental and health practices among men of color who often neglect this form of self-care because of their cultural upbringing. The gathering shed light on the relationship between mental health stigmas and masculinity and foreground the importance of practicing empowering mental health.

April 11, 2017: Yes, Maybe, No: Navigating Consent Through Masculinity 

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm/ Women’s Leadership and Resource Center

For Sexual Assault Awareness month, RMI screened the documentary Yeah, Maybe, No. Through the film, we followed Blake, a young gay man  who is coming to terms with being a survivor of multiple sexual assaults contextualized by current debates and the filmmakers own experiences of sexual assault. Blake asks whether his assault was really “that bad” since it didn’t follow a stereotypical depiction of sexual violence. The conversation and experiences around sexual assault are complex and this film provides space for Blake, and audiences alike, to challenge simplified understanding of the topic.

After the screening, a conversation facilitated by Tevin Giles from Howard Brown Health Clinic reviewed some of the ways consent is navigated, understood, and performed through masculinity. We explored larger issues with which male-identified and/or queer survivors of sexual violence might battle.