Education

‘I love you, bro’ — Cal Poly is reimagining masculinity by rewriting the bro-code

Cal Poly is making efforts to challenge traditional ideas of masculinity, which some say is linked to hazing and sexual assault in fraternities. Here, a fraternity member screams at a pledge in the movie “Haze,” which was screened in San Luis Obispo in 2016.
Cal Poly is making efforts to challenge traditional ideas of masculinity, which some say is linked to hazing and sexual assault in fraternities. Here, a fraternity member screams at a pledge in the movie “Haze,” which was screened in San Luis Obispo in 2016.

Cal Poly is “Reimagining the Bro Code.”

That’s the theme of a series of upcoming events dealing with how men in university fraternities can better express healthy masculinity — a concept that stands in opposition to what’s recently become known as “toxic masculinity,” the negative implications of traditional ideas of what it means to be a man.

The events, which take place Feb. 19 through Feb. 23, are intended to provide “a space to allow male-identified fraternity members to create their own definitions of masculinity, and how that informs their understanding and role in power and privilege,” Shawnna Smith, lead coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said in an email to The Tribune.

The Cal Poly InterFraternity Council is working with Fraternity and Sorority Life and the Men and Masculinity Program on campus to host workshops, information tables, a documentary screening and a panel discussion.

The Men and Masculinity Program is intended to engage male-identified students in considering gender-based violence to establish “masculine gender norms on campus” and respond “to men involved in incidences of gender-based violence with restorative support,” the program website says.

In the past, IFC has hosted an annual values week, which was replaced for the first time in 2018 to shift the conversation with Healthy Masculinities Week.

“This has opened up the conversation about their experiences as men and what that really means, since everyone has different experiences and definitions,” Smith said.

Fraternities are required to send members to the panel discussion and film screening, Smith said. IFC members will host tables and awareness events each day and facilitate peer-to-peer discussions after the screening.

Here is a list of events:

  • Feb. 19 – “Defining the Bro Code” information table

  • Feb. 20 – “Bro Code Stories” information table

  • Feb. 20 – “We Are Man Enough” documentary screening and discussion

  • Feb. 21 – “Redefining the Bro Code – IFC’s Statement of Masculinity” information table

  • Feb. 21 – “The Impact of Legacy” panel discussion

  • Feb. 23 – “I Love You, Bro: Stories of Friendship in Fraternity Life” workshop

For more information, visit the Facebook Event listing for Interfraternity Council’s 2nd Annual Healthy Masculinities Week.

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Monica Vaughan reports on health, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo County, oil and wildlife at The Tribune. She previously covered crime and justice in the Sacramento Valley, is a graduate of the University of Oregon journalism school and is a sixth-generation Californian. Have an idea for a story? Email: mvaughan@thetribunenews.com
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