Photo courtesy of Nick Bilich

Cal Poly Safer and the Gender Equity Center are collaborating to present Manifest’s third annual installment of “Superheroes and Masculinity” in the University Art Gallery. The installment will look at how masculinity is illustrated through popular superhero characters.

Manifest is an annual art installation that explores how masculinity is portrayed in culture, according to coordinator of the Men & Masculinity Program Nick Bilich.

According to Bilich, the gallery installation will consist of six different superheroes: three unmasked and three masked. The gallery asks participants how these characters contribute to our cultural definitions of masculinity and how masks impact or limit the character’s identity.

“We want to present the audience with these images with the hope of triggering critical thinking about gender identity,” Bilich said. “I hope people will ask, ‘What am I seeing in this picture or character, how is it tied to their identity and how does it relate to my own definition of masculinity?’”

Installations in the past have focused on masculinity and gender violence. This year’s event aims to pose questions to participants about how comic superheroes impact our views on masculinity. The show leaves the question open-ended for the participants to think about.

Bilich said he hopes to use these superheroes as a way to open up new windows to explain how culture defines masculinity.

The installation will be in the University Art Gallery in Walter F. Dexter Building (building 34) May 25 from 11 a.m to 4 p.m.

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