The month of March marks the beginning of a nationwide celebration of women in order to properly recognize the countless contributions they have made to society.
Companies like Nike and Gillette coming out with brilliant ads depicting the ways in which women have accomplished great feats and methods with which society can combat toxic masculinity,.Providence College is also contributing to this celebration through hosting its own number of events to recognize the contributions of women.
The very fact that these events are coming up should serve as a reminder that PC itself could use a few lessons on what it truly means to empower women, and how to battle a climate of toxic masculinity that exists on this campus.
Nike’s ad references the stereotypes typically associated with women, such as being “too emotional” or “crazy,” and how countless women in sports have broken the boundaries of what was expected of them—setting records and breaking the norms set by men in sports. The advertisement is extremely powerful and moving; it reminds women that no matter the feedback they receive as they work to break glass ceilings, they must keep moving forward.
Similarly, Gillette’s ad regarding the issue of toxic masculinity received severe critique and resulted in an explosion on social media of men throwing out their Gillette razors in disgust.
This reaction may seem rather confusing to someone that is conscious of toxic masculinity and refers to certain behaviors by men as such. This response would seem confusing given the fact that the ad clearly states, “We believe in the best in men.”
The ad was meant to empower men, and encourage them to uphold acceptable standards of how to act in a society that maintains a strong prevalence of sexual assault and harassment.
The ad attempts to provide insight into the completely invalid excuse that has become a hallmark of American society, “boys will be boys.” Progressive members of society have now reached a point in which this phrase is altered into a state that is more socially acceptable—that, “Boys will be held accountable for their actions.”
On PC’s campus, one can see how these types of ideals regarding how men are “supposed” to act in a college setting can be extremely harmful, not only to a man’s mental state, but also to any women that come to be associated with such men.
Credit is due to PC for sponsoring events to inspire women during this coming month; however, there is still a lot of work to be done on this campus.
These events include, but are not limited to a “Discussion on Women, Politics, and the 2020 Election” and a “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Dance.” One can of course appreciate these events; however, they only serve to empower women for a mere week and will become old news by the end of spring break.
The club Women Will held an event last semester to serve as a safe forum for survivors and victims of sexual assault or harassment to share their stories. This event resulted in a number of people coming forward to speak about their experiences with these isues on campus, and how little PC was able to offer them.
The College itself must battle toxic masculinity by eliminating stereotypes of how men are to act and dress on this campus, as well as the prevalence of peer pressure in social situations.
Not only could PC extend their Student Health Center hours so as to provide care for anyone that experiences sexual assault, which is more likely to occur in late night party settings, but the College could also ensure a teaching of the concepts of toxic masculinity and how detrimental they have been to our society, through the core curriculum required of students.