Stewart M. Hoover, professor in the Department of Media Studies and Director of the Center for Media, Religion and Culture at the University of Colorado, Boulder, spoke Wednesday, Oct. 12 regarding the book he recently co-authored entitled “Does God Make the Man?: Media, Religion, and the Crisis of Masculinity.”
He spoke about the the book, which discusses views on masculinity and the effect both the media have on them. Specifically, white, conservative evangelical and non-evangelical, middle class men were interviewed regarding their views of masculinity, specifically which characters in media they felt most portrayed masculinity.
Throughout the presentation Hoover discussed the role of the feminist movement on gender roles – especially on the views of masculinity. Sophomore Miranda Vares felt that Hoover did not do a satisfactory job of describing feminism and it’s relation to masculinity.
“His definition of feminism very much seemed to feminize everything, which is not what feminism means. Feminism is equality and letting people act however they feel best represents them – not necessarily in a masculine or feminine way,” Vares said.
In addition to students, some faculty and community members also attended the lecture. Dr. Richard Newton, assistant professor of religious studies, attended the event and felt much of the research Hoover discussed resonated with his own field of study.
“One of my interests, as a scholar of religion and culture, is seeing what people are doing at those intersections and media, particularly, is that intersection between human beings,” Newton stated.
The specific research within the lecture and within the book also brought up some conversations that Newton felt were important to discuss throughout the campus – especially for the students who attended this event and can now share what they have learned.
“The big takeaway, for me, for our students is to recognize when they hear critiques of the media in news or in their classes or in the political discourse, they recognize that media is not an object, it’s relationships.” Newton said.
Vares may have disagreed on Hoover’s definition of feminism, but his research overall seemed to interest her – specifically the study of media characters and masculinity.
“I did find it very interesting, the asking men what media person portrays masculinity best. I think that’s very interesting, and I think it’s something that would be interesting to talk to more people about,” she stated.