A new photo project explores the way men define their own form of masculinity. The results are astounding.
What makes a man? White Ribbon (the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls, promote gender equity, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity) decided to explore answers to this question at their What Makes a Man Conference held this past November 22nd and 23rd in Toronto.
Hosted by Jeff Perera of White Ribbon and Britta B of R.I.S.E. Poetry and UNITY Charity, the event brought together people of all ages, races and genders. The energy was palpable. Between powerful keynote talks delivered by documentary filmmaker Byron Hurt and poet and author Carlos Andrés Gómez, members of the R.I.S.E. Poetry family performed moving spoken word and musical pieces. The brilliance and generosity of the speakers, performers and the White Ribbon team made for an informative and entertaining weekend.
I was there on Friday to perform a spoken word piece on the roles that men are forced into. It was an honor to be part of an event which strives to redefine masculinity in a healthy way, especially since my current focus is facilitating workshops for men and women who have survived abuse. I was filled with so much inspiration by all that I’d heard at Friday’s event that I decided to return on Saturday to see what was going on in the minds of some of the men in attendance. Dry erase board in hand, I approached random men—-attendees of the conference and passers-by—and asked them to complete the sentence: “The manliest thing about me is…”
Some men wrote their answers down without hesitation. Others were stumped. How interesting it was to see the way this question provoked such deep thought. It was evident that White Ribbon had succeeded in getting men to question their own ideas of masculinity.
Check out the photographs to see their answers. To the men reading, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect by posing the same question to yourself. You may be surprised by the thoughts that surface.
See the rest of the photos at 500 Acts of Beauty