Renowned Poet Delivers Keynote for ‘Movember’

Photo by Nicole Williams

One of the many special events the Women’s Center hosts throughout the year is their annual "Movember" competition, which occurs during the month of November. Carlos Andrés Gómez, award winning poet, gave a keynote speech last Thursday.

Gómez had two separate performances: a keynote speech, discussing healthy masculinity in today's society, and a spoken-word performance in Friends Hall.

Along with being a poet, Gómez is a performer, author, educator and speaker. A recent nominee for the Pushcart Prize, which honors "small presses," he has done shows at over 200 colleges and universities, given a dozen keynote addresses, performed at festivals on three continents, and facilitated thousands of workshops across the globe.

A former social worker and inner city public school teacher, Gómez grew up with his father as a United Nations diplomat and his mother as an indigenous rights advocate and linguist. He moved 12 times before graduating high school and lived in four different countries. Gómez is a proud Latino and New Yorker and now tours the world with his inspiring message.

On Gómez's website, his book “Man Up” is described: “Plummeting graduation and employment rates and dire teen suicide statistics show that young males in our society are at a crisis point. Gómez seeks to reverse these alarming trends by sharing lessons about life, love, and vulnerability. ‘Man Up’ galvanizes men—but also mothers, girlfriends, wives, and sisters—to rethink the way all men interact with women, deal with violence, handle fear, and express emotion."

“As men, I think we’re held to a standard of being almost invincible. We can’t show our actual feelings or else that’s typically mistaken as being weak. We hate being perceived as weak,” said junior Brendan Guzman. “It’s like we have ourselves that hardly anyone, if anyone, sees. Then there’s the mask we put on for the rest of the world to see.”

Gómez urges men of all ages to break society’s rules of male conformity and reconsider not just what it means to be a man but what it means to be a good man.

Gómez's message launched the Women’s Center’s month-long "Movember" celebration. "Movember" is the campaign that supports what is popularly known as “No-Shave November.”

In a contest, candidates will need to grow out their mustache or other facial hair for the entirety of November. As the month goes on, weekly photos will be taken of each candidate to show how their facial hair is looking. At the end of the month the person who has the best facial hair will be announced the winner, and he (or she) will receive a prize. For those who are unwilling or physically unable grow facial hair, students are allowed to make some type of facial hair in the most innovative way they can think of.

During the month, people may come to the Women’s Center and vote for who they think has the best facial hair. Voting is unlimited; however, each vote will cost a dollar. All of the proceeds raised will go to a predetermined charity that supports men’s health issues.

Santiago Gonzalez, sophomore, chose not to partake in No-Shave November but is still excited about the contest.

“I feel like it is just a thing people do,” said Gonzalez. “People like me who can’t grow much facial hair at all, at any point throughout the year, can’t really participate. But I can’t wait to vote to see whose beard comes out the best.”