Winner of the #storyforchange Competition

JulietSeersWe caught up with Juliet Seers, winner of the #StoryForChange competition with the passion to change the story of masculinity. A topic that differs from her usual field of work, but she had always been interested in.

Juliet is about to graduate from RMIT with a Bachelor of Environment and Society. She also works at RMIT tackling sustainability engagement on campus. This sees her collaborating with students and staff to promote sustainability on campus and assist in creating a university wide cultural shift toward sustainability. For Juliet, feminism is becoming a highly politicised term due to a misunderstanding that the movement only advocates for women’s rights; not gender equality overall. A lot of the issues that oppress women, such as gender based violence can be traced back to cultural understandings of masculinity; males feeling the need to conform to an image of being assertive, competitive and unemotional. This rigid view of masculinity makes men feel inadequate when they don’t naturally ‘fit in’ to the stereotype.. Juliet is in the CFA which she admits is male dominated; being in the emergency services can put a lot of strain on individuals physical and mental health. To manage risks to physical health there are many procedures that are followed strictly, however mental health is very different, it is intangible and she feels that resources to assist those struggling with their mental health are likely not utilized until much later on when the issue is quite dire. Juliet feels that confronting the stereotype of masculinity will open up a new dialogue; allowing both men and women to discuss mental health issues without stigma.

The cultural change that Juliet would like see would require action and understanding from a wide range of stakeholders including educational institutions, media organisations, parents and the broader community to name a few., Creating change would require these stakeholders coming together on a large scale to discuss changing cultural norms and stereotypes (such as masculinity) and how we can change this; eliminate this toxic masculinity that our society had developed. Juliet feels that as the issue is more widely spoken about people will feel more comfortable accepting that men are not all the same, and limiting them to this rigid stereotype does nothing but oppress those whose authentic self is maligned from the expectation of what it means to ‘be a man’.

The Story Conference will help bring people together to discuss Juliet’s topic on masculinity, to help empower men to talk about feminism and shifting away from this notion of toxic masculinity. For Juliet, she is really looking forward to meeting with people that she normally wouldn’t cross paths with to workshop her topic and the discuss it further.

| November 22nd, 2016 | Posted in Uncategorized |

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