San Fran University Workshop Redefining Feminism For Bros


Feminism is a often referred to as a dirty or undesirable word in today’s society. But if you get to the root of it, it is something that is deeply important to many men and women and we need to look past the label to the core of the belief of the movement.

The media has done a great job in perpetuating negative stigma surrounding feminism. For example, when Lana Del Rey says in an interview that feminism doesn’t interest her at all without publications going on to explain what feminism is, and when Shailene Woodley says she doesn’t like to call herself a feminist because she “likes men” without a magazine using that space to tell readers what feminism in fact stands for, then we have a problem.

But that’s just the female side of things. What often gets overlooked in the greater discourse about feminism online and in the media, that it is not just a women’s issue, it is a human issue. It just so happens that it was started by women, and it happens to have a somewhat feminine label. But that’s where the separation pretty much ends.

The truth is equality IS a very masculine issue too. Men want to have reproductive rights, men who are victims of domestic violence also want the same protection as women, men who are sexually abused want to have legislation on their side not protecting that of their perpetrators, men also want to be given the freedom to make the best choice for their individual lives rather than having a political party decide on their behalf.


So what will it take for more men to understand that this is their issue too? Well male celebrities ranging in age from that of Joseph Gordon-Levitt all the way to Jimmy Carter helps a big deal! The United Nations He For She gender equality campaign which encourages men to stand up for women is another thing that will impact the types of conversations we have about feminism.

But it will also take continual grass-roots efforts such as the viral ‘Why I Need Feminism‘ movement which allowed both men and women to upload pictures of themselves outlining why feminism is important to them, in the hopes that it will spark ideas in other people.

One that is more recently emerging is the Feminism for Bros workshop, created by a group at San Francisco State University.

It is an on-campus discussion-based workshop inviting all genders to redefine what it means to be a feminist and break down how inequality affects them.


“There are negative stigmas to feminism and we want to start or continue that struggle to dispel them,” said moderator Mazin Jamal to GoldengateXpress. “It‘s not just a national thing, it’s a global thing. It’s an evolutionary thing. It’s humans getting past these misconceptions that are slowing us down from reaching our potential and connecting with each other.”

Mazin Jamal started the idea with his workshop partner Rachel Newsome because they are sick of the term being associated with “male-hating” and other controversial misnomers. Their idea was to include guys, or “bros” in the conversation to make it a more appealing topic where they feel they have valuable input in shaping how feminism redefines their generation.

“Some of the other members of the group did a good job coming up with analogies and definitions that helped me understand a little bit better how these things apply in my own life,” said one of the workshop members Tom Relling, who was invited by his girlfriend. “I think it’s up to people our age to really embrace feminism.”


Mazin and Rachel hope this workshop will be a continuing success so that they can take it further into the community.

“I think SF State has it better than most,” he said, acknowledging that California is a place where emerging ideas definitely have a more welcome response than in other areas around the US and even the world. “But even here there‘s always a need to build on the dialogue.”

At the end of the workshop, after much discussion the group was asked if they would identify as a feminist, and the response was an overwhelming “yes”. This shows something very important. Then when discussions around feminism start from an early age, the more likely they are to have a positive impact on men and women, and the less likely people are going to grow up listening to the misconceptions that are floated around in society.

It has to start with a solid foundation, and there is no better place to do that than in University, or even in high school, as shown by this group of high school boys from New York who were willing to put on video their opinions about feminism.

While we love that President Obama and Ryan Gosling speak up about feminism and encourage men, it is important that we are a generation who create representation for each other. We have the ability to be a voice, whether it be through a blog, social media, a Youtube video, a University workshop, or a community event.

Feminism for Bros is just the start of what we hope will be a continual movement. Let’s keep this conversation going!


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