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  • Jonathan Isserow

Urban Guerrilla Masculinity in Brooklyn with Jason Tan de Bibiana

My meeting with Jason Tan de Bibiana in Brooklyn, NY, took a creative turn when instead of sitting down, I was taken on a guided walk around the neighbourhood and in particular to two powerful urban arts works that address gender power relations and stereotypes.

Jason is a senior public health researcher at Vera. Jason, along with Jake and Jermal, is one of the co-founders of Next Gen Men  based in Canada. Next Gen Men are composed of members dedicated to changing the way we see, act, and think about masculinity. They trains, equips and empowers parents, educators, coaches, and youth workers to lead the next generation towards a better future, to anchor them to positive masculinities and offer them opportunities for connection and growth. They are also a home to the famous Voice Male Magazine, along with a host of other resources such as podcasts and blogs. Returning to Brooklyn, we viewed and discussed two powerful murals installed by the artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh whose work tackles gender based street harassment and gender stereotypes. i was interested in how the "Let Black Men be Soft' mural was defaced at some point, suggesting the difficulty of opening up spaces to explore vulnerability in men too. Despite - or even because of this - the murals resonate and challenge - in powerful and subtle ways, our socially constructed gendered relationship to ourselves and others. Thank you so much Jason for your originality as well as gifts.

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