KPU event challenges toxic masculinities

Tue, Mar 12, 2019

A rise in violence related to toxic masculinity and the growing media objectification of gender are some of the reasons Dr. Asma Sayed and Dr. Anis Rahman decided to host a panel discussion at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

“It is important for people to understand issues of the socio-cultural representations of gender as the existing patriarchal structures not only affect women but also lead to unrealistic expectations for men,” says Sayed, an English instructor at KPU. 

Dr. Asma Sayed hosts toxic masculinity event.

They aim to challenge the concept of ‘being a man’ that keeps shifting and being redefined according to what they say are patriarchal needs. In addition to this, the panelists will speak to the objectification of gender through popular cultures and social media which are fueling toxic masculinities.

“It is important to discuss violence perpetrated through popular culture and social media so that we are better equipped to deal with it,” says Rahman, a journalism instructor at KPU.

When it comes to societal and cultural representations, both Sayed and Rahman say that it’s important for people to understand how toxic masculinity leads to homophobia and affects the LGBTQIA+ community or those that don’t fall within socially-expected ‘norms’. 

“Unfortunately, we do not see enough evidence that people, in general, are well aware of differences and diversity within gendered and sexual identity spectrum,” Sayed explains.

They believe there is change as campaigns like the #metoo movement create education around the issues. They hope this event leaves attendees and participants with a better understanding of exclusivity and internalized bias. 

The event is organized in support with South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD). The Faculty of Arts at KPU is also supporting this event to enhance community collaboration to combat toxic masculinities.

The panelists include:

  • Tasha Nijjar, SANSAD
  • Dr. Rajdeep Gill, an interdisciplinary expressive arts (IDEA) instructor at KPU
  • Dr. Wade Deisman, associate dean in the Faculty of Arts at KPU

This free event takes place March 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at KPU Surrey in Spruce building, room 100.