INTERVIEW WITH SACCHI PATEL:
Chris Gucciardo: As the co-founder of MasculinityU, describe to us the site and its purpose/vision.
Sacchi Patel: MasculinityU is a new national initiative geared toward engaging young men in redefining masculinity and encouraging them in taking an equal role in ending gender violence. I hope that we are able to re-center masculinity in the gender equality and violence prevention movements. Sexual violence and rape ought not to be a women’s issue, but an issue for all of us.
Once fully established, we will be offering panel discussions, program consulting, guided facilitation, curriculum development and a national speaker’s bureau.
CG: Concerning the title, what does it mean to you to be “masculine,” and did your opinion of it change over time?
SP: The word means a lot of different things to different people. We strive to never limit the term and use “masculinities” instead. Masculinities encompass the various ways that males behave. There isn’t just one way to be a man nor should there be. Though there are several positive traits of mainstream masculinity, there are just as many elements that can prove problematic. We want to have men and boys rethink the ways they were told to be a man and understand the limitations and restrictions that come with it. We want to teach men and boys to make conscious and intentional decisions rather than just going along with the messages that they received.
CG: What inspired you to create this blogging site; were there any other factors in your decision?
SP: The blog is just a small part of MasculinityU. The purpose of it is to get conversations going around masculinity, privilege and violence prevention. Also, since we haven’t launched our services yet, we hope that the blog serves as a way to get our name out and familiar to the public.
CG: Since it is a blogging site, where you and Marc Peters write, are you open to guest writers?
SP: Absolutely. In fact, we have already initiated conversations with people who have expressed interest in guest blogging. The point is not for Marc and I to press our beliefs to the world but rather to get some conversation started around serious issues that aren’t talked about often. We would encourage anyone interested in guest blogging on our site to contact us.
CG: MasculinityU is relatively new, but how far has it gotten? Have you been receiving any publicity?
SP: Yes, we have actually been reaching a wide audience. Thanks to our blog section on our website, and a feature article by close friend and former classmate Kate Friedman (www.thedailyfemme.com), we received hundreds of views, several comments have been featured on feministlawprofessors.com, and were mentioned on Canada-Supporting Women in Geography’s blog. Additionally, we were listed on the “What We’re Reading” section on Ms. Magazine’s website.
CG: Thank you, Sacchi. I hope that MasculinityU can receive some attention through the R.A.P.E. Center newsletter