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Sunday June 26th

'The Bro Code' and toxic masculinity discussed by visiting lecturer

Thomas Keith, a philosophy and gender studies professor at California State Polytechnic University, discusses the implications of what he callled "bro-culture" at his talk in Hyde Hall on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.
Buy Photos Thomas Keith, a philosophy and gender studies professor at California State Polytechnic University, discusses the implications of what he callled "bro-culture" at his talk in Hyde Hall on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

One college professor is convinced that there is one common force behind school shootings, violence against women and sexual violence — toxic masculinity. 

Tom Keith, a philosophy and gender studies professor at Claremont Graduate University, spoke on Monday, Oct. 7, in Hyde Hall about the effects of toxic masculinity in society. The talk was organized by UNC's Parr Center for Ethics and the women's and gender studies department. 

Keith spoke for about 45 minutes, pointing out various ways in which society has suffered from toxic masculinity. He touched on points including the differing portrayals of men and women in the media and the great disparity between the number of violent crimes committed by men and the number committed by women.

“In the history of school shootings in America, only once was it a girl,” Keith said.

Keith identified four main pillars of toxic masculinity: the objectification of women, homophobia, emotional stoicism and the encouragement of violence.

“We’re still trying to make a society that all of us can flourish," Keith said. "We have less incarceration, we have less violence, and that, for me, starts with the way we conceive of men and the way we raise our boys."

Keith said it is important for everyone to think about the way they talk to children, as it has strong effects on their future behavior.

“Most men did not learn about feminism from a gender studies professor, they learned about it from dad, or they learned about it from a coach,” Keith said.

Keith also said he was disappointed that a majority of men seem to have responded to the #MeToo Movement with silence or even in a hostile manner.

“Heaven forbid you have to become a better human being,” Keith said.

Keith encouraged questions and comments from attendees and said that he came to learn from the audience as well.

Rabina Sawhney, a senior business major, attended the talk. She said that although the issues discussed in the talk are important, many people may, unfortunately, be all too familiar with them.

“I thought he addressed some really good points," Sawhney said. "I feel like most of what he said, a lot of us might’ve already known."

In spite of the negative trends Keith pointed out in his talk, he said that because of the way millennials have mostly responded with support for gay marriage, he is hopeful for the future.

“My optimism comes from your generation,” Keith said.

The event is part of “Ethics Across the Disciplines" — a larger series of talks being hosted by the Parr Center for Ethics throughout the school year. Both the center’s director and associate director said these will cover a wide range of interests.

“Ethics and ethical thought are everywhere,” saidSarah Stroud, the director of the Parr Center for Ethics.

@ajoleary_55

university@dailytarheel.com

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