IWU’s first Dicktations event explores aspects of masculinity

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Anna Lowenthal, Editor-in-Chief

 

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, nine male members of the Illinois Wesleyan University community came together at Hansen Student Center to put on the first ever “Dicktations,” an event geared to explore the definition of masculinity and what it means to be a man.

Hosted by Director of Student Activities Colin Stewart and sponsored by the Office of Student Activities and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Dicktations included skits, games, poetry readings and personal stories performed for an audience of over 200.

“We spent over two months meeting every Friday meeting with each other and talking about personal experiences, and the issues and expectations associated with being a man,” said Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Brandon Commons. “We got vulnerable so we could think outside of what it means to be a man.”

The men brought to light many daily struggles they face with the societal expectations that are placed upon them.

“I think it should be a life goal to learn what it’s like to be the opposite sex,” said senior Ayethaw Tun. “To be masculine is to know what it’s like to be feminine.”

First-year TKE member Juan Mancilla discussed the intricacies of a “bromance,” or a very close, brotherly relationship with another man, which involves late-night talks, staying in and playing video games together as well as occasional brotherly hug-it-out sessions.

“When you have a relationship like that with someone,” Mancilla said, “people always ask, ‘What, are you guys gay?’”

Among the real-life stories that were told, the men also played a comical improv game called “Man Up,” similar to the concept of the show Whose Line Is It Anyway. The men were given a location and a situation in which to act out a scene. Every time the moderator made a beeping sound, the actors had to ‘Man Up’ the conversation.

During a conversation between junior Anfernee Roberts and senior Pat Domke at a coffee shop inside of the White House, a conversation about the president’s wife, when ‘Manned Up,’ turned into “did you see that ass on the first lady?”

The event covered a wide range of topics, including the expectations of men in relationships.

“Men are always expected to pay for the date because they’re supposed to be the breadwinners,” Domke said. “But I think it should be equal – can’t a girl pay for the date sometimes?” The audience, which was mostly women, seemed to agree.

“Most of the time, we focus on society’s expectations for women,” junior Rachel Aron said. “It was interesting to see what men go through on a daily basis, and how they struggle with the expectations that are put on them.”

While the audience learned something new from “Dicktations,” those who participated in the event also benefitted from the experience.

“It was an honor to work with men so wonderful and magnetic as these,” senior Luis Cabrales-Vasquez said. “I am glad to see that men are stepping up to show that gender doesn’t define how human we are. Human is human, and being human is being beautiful.”