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Meek, not weak

BroPro challenges stereotypes

By Katherine Yeager | Contributor

Freshmen Jake Nordman and Ben Hood prepare for "Meek Week".

Freshmen Jake Nordman and Ben Hood prepare for “Meek Week”.

Meekness, not weakness, defines this year’s Men’s Programming (BroPro) Week at Taylor. “Meek Week” includes a film screening of “The Mask You Live In” on Wednesday and a Friday discussion regarding a scriptural understanding of meekness, led by professor of Biblical studies Bill Heth.

“Jesus is called meek,” Heth said. “He calls himself meek and he also says in Matthew 5 that the meek shall inherit the earth, so it’s a positive quality, but it has a weak connotation.”

Heth hopes to help men better understand what the passage means in the Biblical context, in society and in their individual lives.

Jason Koh, BroPro’s director, hopes that the week will create conversations that challenge the idea of a hyper-masculine culture.

Charles Allen, assistant hall director in Wengatz, agreed. “(Meekness) is being able to be on the lookout, to have your brother’s back. What does it mean to be emotionally connected to one another? What does it mean to be vulnerable?”

Allen encourages men to wrestle with their hesitation toward the word “meekness.” According to Allen, meekness is a relational word, creating valuable space for others.

Koh sees meekness manifesting itself at Taylor through the role of leadership on every wing or floor. Power is present regardless of position. Koh hopes that men will use their power and position to uplift and provide space for others to be heard on their wings, floors and across campus.

On Wednesday night, the film “The Mask You Live In” will be screened in the Cornwall Auditorium.

“I would hope men go to the movie to talk about the importance of gender stereotypes and the danger they can impose on impressionable young men,” Koh said. “I would also hope that the movie leaves men thinking and questioning where in their lives they engage with the culture and how they can change.”

The film is a social commentary highlighting the societal pressures in regard to men and gender roles.

“I think it’s really a documentary about freedom and about invitation,” Allen said. “It’s a really raw message.”

Allen, who has previously viewed the film, believes it encourages valuable conversations, acting as a “detox” opportunity for men to look at themselves in a different way.

He encourages women to come to the screening to critically consider the idea of growing in meekness together in the Taylor community.

“I think something that I would encourage women to think about and even encourage men also if they were to see the other film (“Miss Representation”) would be to really think critically about the ways that they perceive men, maybe the ways that they relate to guys . . .  especially thinking about stereotypes,” Allen said. “I think that’s huge . . . for women to really want to engage in partnership with men and to recognize their own power to do that.”

Meek Week provides the opportunity for partnership, both in conversations and community, creating space and reevaluating pre-existing views on hyper-masculinity for the years ahead.

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