There is a new class at Keene State College this semester and it is all about men.  Patricia Pedroza Gonzalez, a KSC professor of 15-years, introduced the class Men and Masculinity. Pedroza Gonzalez said her goal is to change students’ perceptions of social media’s presentation of men. 

“In a very basic gender education we are still thinking and feeling and perpetrating symbols like ‘Boys don’t cry,’” Pedroza Gonzalez said.

Pedroza Gonzalez explained that there is a certain danger in encouraging traditional gender-norms of the “macho man.”

“We educate men to hide their feelings and vulnerability. They hide emotional stuff, which is totally allowed to women—women can cry and a woman can be emotional,” Pedroza Gonzalez said.

Jake Brown, a communication major and management minor at Keene State, said he would be interested in taking the class and exploring alternatives to social norms that present men as macho.

“The social norms have been going on for so long.  They have been going on for centuries of how men are viewed.  It would be interesting to see other standpoints media can take on the philosophy of men,” Brown said.

Pedroza Gonzalez acknowledged her belief of misapprehensions of gender issues when she said that many people view gender issues as solely affecting women.

“But at this time there is a misconception that gender is women’s issues,” Pedroza Gonzalez said.

Photo Illustration by Kyle Bailey

Photo Illustration by Kyle Bailey

However, that is not true. According to Pedroza Gonzalez there is a modern-day misconception that men are violent. “I want to show people that men are not violent. I want to deconstruct that because what we see in media is that men are violent.  One girl asked me in my class if I thought men were oppressed and I said yes.  I think men are oppressed [and] women are oppressed,” Pedroza Gonzalez said.

An article from Michigan State University Today affirmed Pedroza Gonzalez’s statement.  “The researchers report that, throughout history, men have been the primary aggressors against different groups as well as the primary victims of group-based aggression and discrimination,” Andy Henion, Carlos Naverrete and Melissa McDonald stated.

Pedroza Gonzalez said she has ample experience with men because she grew up in a family with five brothers, whom she loves. “I know my brothers are not violent, but yes, they can be tough,” Pedroza Gonzalez said. She continued when she said there is nothing wrong with idea of a man being tough.  However, she also plans teach her class that men are able to express their feelings as well. “[I want people] to have the freedom and the awareness that men do not have to be closed to feelings,” Pedroza Gonzalez said. Brown expressed interest in the class as a way to change future generations’ perceptions of men. “Beside class credits, I would expect to get a totally different standpoint and perspective on how we approach men in a generation after our generation how we can turn away from men being very stereotypical violent and masculine,” Brown said.

Management Major, Timothy Shottes said he would receive valuable lessons from the class. “I would take that class.  I think I would get morals out of the class,” Shottes said.

Pedroza Gonzalez said she hopes to accomplish social understanding through her class.

“I am passionate about the feelings of men.  The guys who are nice guys aren’t allowed to act that way.  Well I love to talk all that with academic and scholarly sources, which is what we do in the class,” Pedroza Gonzalez said.

Anna Glassman can be contacted at

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