New space and new community | Arts & Culture
When you scroll down Twitter or Instagram, there can be a lot of posts about female sexual empowerment or queer mental health. These topics are very important, but a large group that is missing from this discussion is the people who identify as men. There has been a lot of progress around discussions of men’s mental health, but there is still a culture in male-dominated groups that excludes vulnerability and open conversation.
The university has re-established its men’s resource center under a new mission and management. Arian Mobasser, who obtained his doctorate in psychology from UO, is the new coordinator of the center. He took office last spring and has a new vision for the Men’s Resource Center.
“I want the new Men’s Resource Center to be a place where people can come together, but also a space where health, well-being and identity meet,” said Mobasser.
A great mission of this center is to create a space where people can relax, unwind and have a safe space to talk. Mobasser went on to explain that many male-dominated spaces don’t even talk about relationships or sex.
“Although locker talk is the stereotype, many groups of men do not engage in in-depth discussions about healthy sex life and sexuality,” Mobasser said.
One of its main goals is to make the Men’s Resource Center a safe community for people identified by men to have these conversations. He hopes to set up programs, like focus groups, that encourage conversations about sex, relationships and masculinity.
With Mobasser, student coordinator Nathaniel Leof said: “I had a life experience related to men’s health,” which stimulated his interest in working in the new space. “I had heard of the men’s center before, but never really attended it,” said Leof.
Leof said he got involved with the Men’s Resource Center to find or create a community on campus where he felt comfortable having real conversations. He said he hoped the Men’s Resource Center would become a place that welcomed and encouraged students to perform at their best.
When it comes to men’s sexual health, Leof said he wants men to feel comfortable talking about topics such as consent, STI and STD testing, and self-esteem regarding men’s sex life. He added that there appears to be a very little culture on campus when it comes to men’s sexual health.
In recent years, there have been a limited number of events designed to promote men’s sexual health and well-being. While Get Explicit deals with consent, self-esteem, and limits, most organizations don’t focus on men’s sexual health. The conversation does not continue.
For this reason, Leof said he wanted to build trust and community within the Men’s Resource Center to learn more about the needs of students. Once this is established, the programming put in place by the Men’s Resource Center can reflect the real needs of students, he said.
The Men’s Resource Center is redefining its image and striving to be a comfortable place where people can relax and reverence. While “men” is in the name, it is a space where everyone can come and enjoy.
“I want to help the Men’s Resource become a place where all students can come and get support and help create a welcoming and supportive community for students,” said Leof.
The Men’s Center is located on the top floor of the Erb Memorial Union in Room 211 and is accessible to everyone Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.