For Matias, now 17, and Matt, 16, the way to tackle these complex issues — toxic masculinity, sexual harassment, gender inequality — is for teenage boys to be a part of the solution. They sought to change their classmates’ perceptions of feminism as solely a women’s issue, and to fill a gap in a high school curriculum that too rarely focuses on women’s history and gender issues, particularly at all-boys schools.
“People think of it as a movement for women by women,” Matias said. “It’s never supposed to be like that. You can’t make real change unless everyone is involved.”
Since launching the club, which they called HeForShe, one year ago, Matias and Matt have held weekly meetings with about a half-dozen other boys to discuss the biggest gender news of the day — everything from pregnancy discrimination to college sexual assault to the Boy Scouts’ decision to accept girls. They have hosted standing-room-only meetings during their lunch period, offering free pizza to draw crowds of upward of 40 boys.