Women and Gender Advocacy Center’s Jake Aglietti, Carl Olsen unpack masculinity in new podcast, ‘Do You Even Lift, Bro? Men Exercising Social Justice’

Randi Mattox

Two men wear headphones and speaks into microphones
Carl Olsen, a program coordinator for Colorado State University’s Women and Gender Advocacy Center, and Jake Aglietti, a senior at CSU studying communication and ethnic studies, co-host a new podcast about masculinity titled “Do You Even Lift, Bro? Men Exercising Social Justice.” The podcast was binge-released Feb. 1 on iTunes, SoundCloud and kcsufm.com. (Randi Mattox | Collegian)

Do you even lift, bro?

In our society, the connotation of this question is commonly understood to be a jab at someone’s masculinity. While many claim the phrase is merely a joke, the question remains: Why is a perceived lack of masculinity a punch line?

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Colorado State University’s Jake Aglietti and Carl Olsen aim to answer this question and many others about the culture of masculinity in their new podcast titled “Do You Even Lift, Bro? Men Exercising Social Justice,” which, in coordination with the student radio station, KCSU, was binge released Feb. 1.

Aglietti, a senior at CSU studying communication and ethnic studies, met Olsen through an on-campus organization facilitated by the University’s Women and Gender Advocacy Center called Men in the Movement. Olsen, a CSU alum with an undergraduate degree in health and exercise science and a graduate degree in ethnic studies, is the program coordinator for Men in the Movement, “an initiative that engages students who identify as men with issues relating to gender, violence and masculinity,” according to the WGAC website.

“Men in the Movement needs to be vulnerable,” Olsen said. “If I’m not doing that, then it’s a crap program. The men going through that get to see a different side of me, and so we become good friends through this program.”

Podcast recording equipment
Carl Olsen, a program coordinator for Colorado State University’s Women and Gender Advocacy Center, and Jake Aglietti, a senior at CSU studying communication and ethnic studies, co-host a new podcast about masculinity titled “Do You Even Lift, Bro? Men Exercising Social Justice.” They record the podcast in the student radio station, KCSU’s, studio, which supplies them with the recording equipment. The podcast was binge-released Feb. 1 on iTunes, SoundCloud and kcsufm.com. (Randi Mattox | Collegian)

The podcast came to be when Hannah Copeland, the professional advisor for KCSU, approached the WGAC, along with Men in the Movement, about the prospect of creating a podcast addressing their area of expertise.

“She (Copeland) mentioned the production studio, and I lit up,” Olsen said. “That is exactly what we needed to produce some of the programming ideas that we had, and I was thinking about Jake the whole time.”

Aglietti said, at the time of Copeland’s offer, he had been working to create a podcast about feminism and interpersonal violence but did not know how to use the technology, so he jumped at Olsen’s offer to join him in doing a men’s focused podcast.

“This podcast is important today, and this podcast was important 300 years ago.” – Carl Olsen, Women and Gender Advocacy Center Program Coordinator 

It’s been approximately six months since then, and the first season of “Do You Even Lift, Bro? Men Exercising Social Justice” is available on iTunes, SoundCloud and kcsufm.com. The topics for the episodes, which range from 23-52 minutes in length, include how men interact with nature and ways in which depression can impact masculinity to the relationship between intimacy and masculinity and how video games impact men.

“The content is super interesting,” Copeland said. “It’s specific, and I like the balance of Jake, a student, and Carl, a professional.”

 

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According to Aglietti, the main objective of the podcast is to facilitate conversations about how men can participate in social activism without feeling emasculated or weak.

“Masculinity is taught by the relationships we have, the media we watch, even just the things we hear and the things we want to say,” Aglietti said. “I think it’s just a built up socialization that’s really hard to break out of. Even Carl and I still have stuff that we need to work on when it comes to socialized masculinities and socialized behaviors. This podcast is a process to break out of that a little and to deconstruct that.”

A man wears headphones and speaks into a microphone
Carl Olsen, a program coordinator for Colorado State University’s Women and Gender Advocacy Center co-hosts a new podcast about masculinity titled “Do You Even Lift, Bro? Men Exercising Social Justice.” The podcast was binge-released Feb. 1 on iTunes, SoundCloud and kcsufm.com. (Randi Mattox | Collegian)

To achieve this, Olsen said they attempt to reach men who can identify social injustice but do not know what to say to those perpetuating it.

“There is too much evidence out there that men tend to screw up a lot,” Olsen said. “We know the majority of men on campus are good men but don’t have the tools to process that in the communities that they’re in. So we’re thinking about men who want to do more, who want to follow their gut when other men say something, and they think, ‘that’s horrible but I don’t know what to say.'”

In discussing such personal topics, Aglietti said it is important to maintain humility.

“We need to come at it as we’re not experts but we have a foundational knowledge to give us some credibility to talk about these things,” Aglietti said. “But that doesn’t mean that we know everything. That doesn’t mean that we are never wrong.”

To avoid approaching the podcast with only two perspectives, Aglietti and Olsen bring in guests, such as Cristof Bentele, an occupational therapy graduate student at CSU who appears on episode eight, titled “Why Should We Talk About Slam Poetry?” Bentele said providing various voices is important because not all perspectives are well represented in society.

“Having to perform within the confines of gender expectations can be hard for anyone, no matter how you identify,” Bentele said. “What’s important about the prescribed box

The second season of “Do You Even Lift, Bro? Men Exercising Social Justice” is already in the works. Aglietti and Olsen will continue to unpack masculinity and ask their listeners to do some heavy lifting.

that men are given is that quite often it can be harmful. … This is just one step to broaden and breakup that box so we can all be a little happier outside of its confines.”

WGAC Assistant Director of Educational Programs, Kristy Kumar, said the podcast succeeds at reaching more than one audience.

“They take this seriously enough so that as a woman, I can respect and broaden my understanding, and fun enough where it doesn’t feel like I’m being lectured at,” Kumar said. “It feels like I’m hanging out with two friends.”

Olsen said a college campus is a good setting for the podcast because it represents a mixture of adhering to traditional thinking and learning how to challenge traditional thinking.

A man wears headphones and speaks into a microphone
Jake Aglietti, a senior at CSU studying communication and ethnic studies, co-hosts a new podcast about masculinity titled “Do You Even Lift, Bro? Men Exercising Social Justice.” The podcast was binge-released Feb. 1 on iTunes, SoundCloud and kcsufm.com. (Randi Mattox | Collegian)

“Seeing that mix together and seeing the power of messing up, apologizing and then improving oneself is uniquely accelerated here in a college-aged space,” Olsen said. “Obviously, someone who is 50 can still do that, but it’s just not fun. This is the perfect blend of speed of growth with understanding socialization in a way that I think creates this sort of perfect content about how to reframe masculinities.”

Olsen said this podcast is important in the current political and social climate; however, he added that these are discussions men should have been having long before now.

“This podcast is important today, and this podcast was important 300 years ago,” Olsen said.

The second season of “Do You Even Lift, Bro? Men Exercising Social Justice” is already in the works. Aglietti and Olsen will continue to unpack masculinity and ask their listeners to do some heavy lifting.

Collegian arts and culture director can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @randi_mattox.