One man's mission to fight patriarchy with poetry

Tue Dec 9, 2014 1:08pm EST
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By Maria Caspani

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In the struggle for gender equality, one man has resorted to an unlikely weapon: poetry.

Carlos Andres Gomez, a New York City-born poet, writer and performer said that growing up he felt constrained by the strict interpretation of masculinity which dictated that all men should be strong and unemotional. So he set out to change that.

"So many men in the world (are) living in this sort of quiet desperation, confined in this box of toxic masculinity," Gomez said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Words are a powerful medium, they can be both oppressive and liberating, Gomez said in one of his works, and poetry is one of his chosen means of delivering his message of equality.

The son of a U.N. official from Colombia and an American linguist, Gomez was born in New York City but has lived in Switzerland, Brazil and Cyprus, among other countries.

Being constantly on the move, he was exposed to many different languages and cultures. He attended inner-city schools, Quaker and Catholic institutions and said throughout childhood he found himself battling the notion that men should always be alpha males.

"A lot of people told me I couldn't be a boy and soft, a boy and not masculine," said Gomez.

His sensitive, emotional nature made him the outsider and forced him to reflect on gender roles and stereotypes imposed by society.   Continued...