Debate on masculinity will highlight free speech

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“From Boys 2 Men: Too Much or too Little Masculinity” is a debate on the state of masculinity in America that will take place in the AB Leadership Room in Spellmann on Wednesday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m..

The event will be hosted by the Hammond Institute and the Gender Studies program with speakers Christina Hoff Sommers and Michael Kimmel in hopes of highlighting the importance of free speech.

Rachel Douchant is the director for the Liberty and Ethics center in the Hammond Institute and hopes “that the event will demonstrate that people with opposing views can engage courteously.”

“Last year we tried to do an event on free speech, but it was not very well attended,” said Douchant. “So instead of doing an abstract explanation of free speech or debate on free speech, we decided to just host some free speech.”

Sommers spurred national headlines in 2015 when her talk at Oberlin College was met with a lot of resistance from students on campus. Several of the colleges on her calendar met her with similar attitudes.

This was part of the motivation for Douchant to bring Sommers to speak for this event. “We wanted bring in Christina Hoff Sommers because she’s been kicked off a lot of campuses, but we don’t think that she’s insincere,” said Douchant. “Then when I made Heather Brown-Hudson aware of it, because I wanted to include the gender studies club in the event, she suggested bringing in Michael Kimmel as well.”

Some Lindenwood students may be familiar with Michael Kimmel due to his textbooks which are used in the introductory Gender Studies course on campus.

Heather Brown-Hudson is the head of the Gender Studies program and has been teaching Kimmel’s material for almost five years. When Douchant and Brown-Hudson were discussing the possibility of Sommers coming to speak on campus, Hudson thought showing another side of the issue could be beneficial.

“I suggested that in the interest of free speech and getting information from both sides and to both sides, can we have someone who thinks differently than Christina Hoff Sommers,” said Brown-Hudson. “I wanted to see if I couldn’t partner with [The Hammond Institute] to bring about a more leveled platform for having a conversation about gender, in particular about masculinity”

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and is free to attend. For more information, check out the event page.