Real Men Calendar Showcases Ramapo Role Models

The first Real Men of Ramapo calendar was launched on Tuesday in hopes of redefining how the Ramapo community views masculinity. The calendar features students, faculty and staff members with qualities worthy of a “Real Man” title.

“We wanted to define positive role models on campus and elevate them-building a healthier culture for men. Issues in the male world are just everywhere,” Tom Nicholes, graduate assistant at the Women’s Center, said.

These issues, mentioned by Nicholes, are defined on the back cover of the calendar along with the philosophy behind the calendar’s creation. It reads:

“This campaign was designed to identify and elevate positive male-identified role models on campus in efforts to stimulate thought and inspire change in the social climate of the campus.”

According to the campaign, real men “break the mold,” “define their character on their own terms” and “reject using sexism, homophobia and violence,” amongst other reputable qualities.

“The whole idea of Real Men is a reaction to pop-culture. We’re trying to take the idea of real men and move it away from the Chuck Norris, Dos Equis’s Most Interesting Man in the World figure, to real people who do things. Rebranding. That’s what it really is,” said Nicholes.

Ed Shannon, a literature professor, also hopes that this type of publication could help make a small difference in the way people and media portray the image of men.

“Everything makes a difference,” Shannon said.”What I mean is that we get our ideas about who we are and how to act from lots of different sources: friends, family, media, art, even strangers who cross through our lives briefly. So a publication that takes the time to say a few positive, upbeat things about respecting yourself and others? That can only make things better.”

Nicholes believes the calendar has been successful in spreading the message.

“People I’ve talked to really love the way the calendars look. I’ve heard commentary in the halls-people talking about what defines a real man. This is a conversation I’d love to have with students,” said Nicholes.

The Real Men of Ramapo calendar did succeed in grabbing the attention of freshman Mark Sarasua.

“The idea of empowering men is just different-not something you hear about every day,” Sarasua said.

In addition, the campaign did not go unnoticed by women either.

“I think this is a great campaign and a step right the right direction towards increasing a positive social climate here at Ramapo,” freshman Melissa Aiello expressed.

Those featured in the Real Men of Ramapo were chosen last semester by nomination, as well as a few that were hand picked by the creators of the calendar.

Given the response that this campaign has caused and the thoughtful, positive message it sends Jack Neilsmith, a student at Ramapo who was chosen for the calendar, felt privileged to be part of the campaign.

“It is an amazing honor,” Neilsmith states. “To have a great organization like the Women’s Center present me with this honor makes my work as a positive student leader seems as if it is making a difference at Ramapo. I am just thankful to all my departments such as Residence Life, EOF and all of my mentors at Ramapo for their help and support over the years.” 

Many of the participants were asked to define masculinity for the calendar.

Louis Dipaolo, student and event photographer featured for the month of February, felt “Real Men” must possess confidence.

“Masculinity is being confident in who you are without conforming to society’s definition and expectations of what makes a man,” Dipaolo said for his quote featured in the calendar. “Men should be comfortable enough in themselves to open their minds to unconventional expressions of masculinity without feeling threatened or compelled to put others down.”

Other participants, including Ed Shannon and John Yao, assistant director of Adult Learning and Professional Academic Advisor, were asked to give their advice to men on campus.

Josh Guillaume, student and Senior Advisor of Brothers Making a Difference, provided simple and straightforward insight.

“Do something,” Guillaume said for his quote featured in the calendar. “Get involved and take full advantage of every resource Ramapo has to offer.”

The calendars, featuring many other inspiring men on campus, are available at the Women’s Center. With a goal of spreading a campaign to rebrand masculinity, everyone is welcomed to grab a copy. As Nicholes said when describing the calendar’s inspiration:

“This is something for the community.”