What does it mean to be a “real man?” Fourteen metro St. Louis men will share their perspectives on an auditorium stage as part of The Men’s Story Project.
The participants, ages 20 to 48, will use spoken word, monologues, poetry and storytelling to examine masculinity and expectations of manhood in a free event at Saint Louis University on April 28 and 29.
Organizers say most of the participants of The Men’s Story Project have never spoken publicly before. They include local artists and activists, students and professors.
Sergio Dominguez, one of the participants, said his sense of what it means to be a man is shaped by his several identities: Latinx, pansexual and non-binary.
“I do note that my behavior shifts slightly when I’m around people of my own culture versus when I’m with white people, versus when I’m with black people,” said Dominguez, who is a student at SLU. “Existing in the margins of many identities colors the way that I perhaps perform my gender, colors the way I feel my gender.”
One theme of the event relates to how men can be allies in the #metoo movement, which has raised awareness about sexual assault and harassment as well as domestic violence.
“So much of our ideas what it means to be a man has to do with how we treat each other, and also, especially when there’s groups of us, how we interact with women,” said organizer James Meinert. “And it takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to be yourself and treat women how you would want your sisters and your mom to be treated.”
Darian Wigfall, another participant, says men need to internalize an important message.
“I think that men having to apologize over and over again will let it sink in that we have been doing this for years upon hundreds of years,” said Wigfall, whose day job is events coordinator at KDHX. “And the work that we have to do is going to be a long, long journey. But it’s necessary.”
If you go:
- 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29
- Chaifetz School of Business Auditorium, St. Louis University
- Free, but donations will go to Safe Connections
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information