On Wednesday, Byron Hurt proposed the following question to Sonoma State University students: “What does masculinity mean to you?”
Hurt traveled across the country to speak to students in Ballroom A of the Student Center.
Hurt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, published writer, anti-sexism activist, and lecturer, according to his website.
His work often sheds light on how men and women relate to each other in society.
“By ending violence against women, gay people... we have to fundamentally change how boys think,” Hurt said.
In his speech, Hurt told the audience that being passionate about a topic is what will make an impact on people.
“We live in a rape culture and the only way we are going to change rape culture is by dealing with it,” Hurt said.
According to Hurt, education is vital in preventing sexual assault.
“We have to reach boys and young men, and educate [and] inform them at the earliest age possible about what it means to be male, so no one has to question anything when thinking about sexism,” Hurt said.
Hurt was previously the host of the Emmy-winning series “Reel Works with Byron Hurt.”
Dana Bashman, a Sonoma State student who attended the event, said Hurt’s speech provided a perspective on masculinity that she hadn’t previously considered.
“I enjoyed the speaker’s use of the audience and how he included us in the discussion,” Bashman said. “I learned about the toxic side of masculinity and how important it is to put an end to it.”
For more information on upcoming speakers, contact the Student Center at (707) 664-2382.