Celica Cook
Student Writer

What it means to be a man or a woman often creates many discussions and considerations in our society today. Keynote panelists Dr. Agnes R. Howard and Dr. Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar participated in a panel discussion on the topic of manhood and womanhood last night in Parmer Hall.

James LaGrand, professor of American history, and Director of the college Honors Program provided a series of questions for panelists to answer about various topics within the discussion about what manhood and womanhood looks like in today’s culture.

Though both Ogbar, and Howard had different insight to offer on the topic, their expertise on the topic showed in the eloquent answers they gave to each of the questions.

The panelists explored topics ranging from the sexual revolution, the sexualization of women in modern pop culture, and the modern, and continually changing views on what womanhood and manhood are defined as today.

Ogbar, a professor of history and founder/director of the Center for the Study of Popular Music at the University of Connecticut offered his expertise about the change he has seen with gender roles within modern hip-hop music. He spoke about the important role that women played within the Black Panther movement, and how those roles have been continuously shaped by the ever-changing society.

Howard, instructor of humanities at Christ College and Valparaiso University touched on the important roles that women have played over the course of history, and how the roles of both men and women can complement each other.

Both panelists spoke to both the biological, and mental differences between men and women, and how those differences have shaped in both positive and negative ways, how both genders are accepted in culture.

Ogbar briefly discussed his views on the definition of masculinity and how there is often a common misconception that being masculine means that men are held to a higher standard of physical strength. He countered this view by discussing the value in having strength of character instead of focusing on strength of physical body only.

Howard offered her personal insight on what it means for women who choose to be both active mothers and wives, as well as professionals in their careers, and leaders in their community. She placed a high value on being able to embrace both roles–that of a woman as a caregiver, and also as an active and influential member of her community.

Natalie Brooks, sophomore music education major, shared her thoughts on the panel discussion.

“I enjoyed it even if it was a more general format. I like getting professional thoughts on what manhood and womanhood distinction is because I don’t think about this too often.”

Caleb Buckwalter, sophomore engineering major student also gave his opinion on the event.

“In all honesty, I felt that it didn’t go deep enough. There were some interesting facts, but apart from that, I wanted more depth.”

An open Q&A time gave audience members an opportunity to participate in the discussion by directly asking the panelists questions.

This event was a part of a series of events put on by The College Honors Program that aim to serve this year’s theme of “Promoting the Common Good.”

A talk-back session for the event will be held next Tuesday, October 30 in Parmer Cinema.