Today I was one of the few males at the SPARK Summit. I was a part of the Male Allies Action Spot. The Male Allies Action Spot consisted of different groups like Men Can Stop Rape, Planned Parenthood, Hunter Kincaid (several organizations and a lecturer at Hunter College), and Ian(a classmate) and I.

At our station we had a ‘Ask Men a Question’ wall. Some of the questions asked were:

Would you date a woman who is more powerful than you? Smarter? [Has] more strength? Better job?

Are you satisfied with depictions of manliness and masculinity in mainstream media?

What do you feel you can do to get other men and boys to confront and fight sexism and misogyny?

Why are women called sluts & men are called studs?

How can men be more included in SPARK next year?

Why should women be sexualized and not men?

Have you ever been afraid to do something because it would make you look/act ‘like a girl?

Can you ACTUALLY be just friends with a girl?

Why is it that half the time men insist on acting like pigs and degrading women?

Have you ever stood up for a girl getting sexually harassed on the subway or street?

And the list goes on. From these questions, using a voice recorder, I asked some of the young men at the Male Allies Action Spot some of these questions. The other members of the Male Allies Action Spot want to create a website where they ask men on the street to answer these questions so that women can see the thought process of some men and find out ‘What are these men thinking?”

It was an amazing experience seeing so many people extremely happy to see so many males there. Some people literally read the sign and their faces lit up. I feel like we made their day so much better by just being there. The most frequent question was along the lines of “Why are you here?”. When we brought up the fact that we were in a Feminism course they all freaked out and were absolutely shocked that a high school taught feminism and that guys were taking it. I’m really bad with names  but a speaker that comes in for Celine’s(another English teacher) “Oh Boy!’ course was there and she was reconnecting with Ian and asked me if I was going to take ‘Oh Boy!’. Some of the visitors who heard that we are in a feminism course and that there is a masculinity course offered surprised them. They told us we were really lucky to have that option and that they wish they had that option in high school.

This has been a really cool experience seeing so many people actually happy to see (young) men a part of a convention like the SPARK Summit.

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