Capstone Works To Defy False Masculinity

What does it mean to be a man? Seniors Mike Carper, Graham Curry, Isaiah Gates and Deter Spees looked into high school students and society's thoughts about that statement for their Senior Capstone Project.

"High school is a time when people discover themselves and attempt to define themselves, often looking to their peers' actions to help them do so," Carper explained. "During this time, it is crucial to have positive influences. Our group wants to be a source of positive influence for high school students as they discover who they want to be."

"I feel that in our society today, there is too much emphasis on what being a man isn't," added Curry. "Being a man is not having the largest muscles, getting the hottest girls, and being dominant in every way.  Being a man is not living in ignorance with the notion that you will always be in charge.  Being a man is not being fearless, invincible, and stubborn. I've seen the transition from grade school to high school and the effect that stereotypes have on young people. This could even continue to happen in the transition from high school to college. I've always had these thoughts, but what pushed me to incorporate these ideas into a project with my peers was a previous group's Capstone from last year, encouraging us to continue their project; so we have, as this is a message that must be shared and repeated in order to reach as many people as possible."

On Wednesday, March 2, the group presented their message about the meaning of masculinity to sophomores and juniors at Carroll High School.

"We wanted to see their reactions to this topic because at a Catholic school, you're taught about Christian morals and the Christian lifestyle," Spees shared. "We wanted to see what kind of lifestyles they're leading."

In the presentation, the group asked the students to take a survey about what they thought masculinity meant to them.

"We also had the online definition of masculinity and then we shared the actual definition of masculinity," Spees noted. "So the students saw the difference between the real definition and the one everyone thinks about."

The group's presentation was not only given to male students, but females as well.

"When we asked about the survey, one of the male students in the class described a man who he thought was masculine because the man lifts weights and goes to the gym," Curry explained. "But one of the girls talked about famous rappers and singers who she thought were masculine, so it was interesting to see the comparison."

Carper added, "We hope the students realize the misconceptions of masculinity that the media and our culture often convey, and that they can focus more on truly bettering themselves than trying to convey an image that they believe their peers will accept."