Rethinking Our Gender Identities in the Age of Fluidity
Welcoming Our Guests
We were honored to welcome our panel of special guests eager to discuss gender identities and their implications in today’s culture and society.
Martina Olbertova is a brand meaning expert, strategist, semiotician and social scientist on a mission to redefine the role of meaning in business. Witnessing the ongoing crisis of meaning in our society, she decided to help companies by exploring the shifting cultural meanings of the big social concepts of our time, such as gender, identity, equality, diversity, trust, integrity or post-truth to help companies evolve their symbolic meaning and create new relevance. Her doctoral dissertation was on Gender and Media in the Age of Postmodernity to reveal the symbolic tensions of gender stereotypes in the current media discourse.
Jennifer Brown, Founder and CEO, Jennifer Brown Consulting. Jennifer is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, diversity and inclusion expert, author, and member of the LGBTQ community. Her work in talent management, human capital, and intersectional theory has redefined the boundaries of talent potential and company culture. She is also the host of the popular weekly podcast, The Will to Change, which uncovers true stories of diversity and inclusion.
Lea Glaenzer, Junior at Bard College. Lea is a Political Studies and Middle Eastern Studies major at Bard College. In addition to her internship at the college's Office for Gender Equity, in which she programs events and training for incoming students about the college's gender-based discrimination and misconduct policies, she is on the student government's Fiscal Committee. Bard grants funds to this committee to invest in corporations that are participating in unsustainable or unethical business behaviors. Then, as shareholders, they propose various resolutions that require companies to change their practices.
Jason Rosario, Multicultural strategist & brand builder, creative consultant, and inclusion accelerator. Jason is a motivational speaker and media personality who founded the Lives of Men (TLoM), a social impact creative agency, as a vehicle for Black and Latino men to explore healthier frameworks of masculinity while serving as a resource as they navigate various life stages. Through his podcast, “Dear Men,” he aims to inspire, activate and nurture the development of well-rounded men.
Mark Sherman, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at SUNY, New Paltz. In addition to his distinguished career in academia, Mark is an author, humorist, speaker, and songwriter who has taught, thought, researched and written about gender issues for more than 40 years. He has a blog on Psychology Today, a humorous newspaper column, and has hosted a weekly podcast. Having three sons and five grandsons, he is especially interested in -- and concerned about -- how boys and young men are doing both in and outside of school.
Michael Flood, Associate Professor at Queensland University of Technology. Micheal is a sociologist, researcher, author, editor, and expert advisor focused on issues related to gender, sexuality, and interpersonal violence. Dr Flood’s current research addresses interpersonal violence and its prevention, particularly with reference to men and masculinities. He is a trainer and community educator with a long involvement in pro-feminist advocacy and education.
Firstly, it will clearly take a combined effort from both men and women to change the legacy of our gender identities.
We need to strive to rebuild our identities from the inside-out and from bottom-up to be seen for the authentic human beings that we are.
Secondly, as Professor Mark Sherman pointed out, men haven’t really been asked to share their feelings and it would be beneficial if both men and women could be allowed to express their vulnerability and be heard, not judged, by others.
Thirdly, gender identities, sexual orientation and behaviors are not black and white but all the colors of the rainbow – they exist on a spectrum. In the 80s, the Benetton clothing brand pioneered the idea of gender and ethnic diversity and it’s exciting to see modern brands building on those themes. If we limit ourselves to traditional gender norms, we’re often stuck dealing with the negative stereotypes associated with them. So, we need to learn to value everyone’s uniqueness and focus on our commonalities, rather than on our differences.
Finally, the idea that we can achieve equality and make the world a more inclusive and safer place by participating in gender battles is not the most suitable strategy. Fighting and blaming one another won't bring us happiness or get us closer to our goals, especially if the goal is restoring the equilibrium and seeing human beings flourish.
It is time to stop fighting and instead, embrace ourselves and each other as authentic individuals. It is a more complex worldview, but it may lead to more compassion.