Determined to undo negative male stereotypes, a group of Latino men helped orchestrate a workshop last weekend designed to teach women the value of preventive care.
Hermanos Unidos, a UCSB Latino male organization, teamed up with the Santa Barbara Breast Resource Center last Friday in the Isla Vista Teen Center to present an informative seminar about breast cancer. The presentation, led by Mary Arevelo from the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinic and Judy Blanco from the Breast Resource Center, featured a video and an oral presentation and offered educational literature concerning breast-cancer prevention.
Hermanos Unidos sponsored the seminar to stress the importance of breast-cancer awareness for both females and males, according to Jorge Cabrera, community chair of the organization.
“The main objective in here tonight is to overcome gender lines and overcome stereotypes Latino men face. There are a lot of stereotypes and generalizations [claiming] that we are not concerned with women’s issues, that we are insensitive,” he said. “As males in the 21st century, we have to think differently than the way we have been socialized to think.”
The audience that Arevelo and Blanco spoke to wore necklaces consisting of beads of increasing sizes, which were meant to represent the direct relationship between the size of cancerous breast lumps found on a woman’s body and the number of times she undergoes a breast examination.
Arevelo said young women should perform self-examinations because it helps them become more familiar with the natural form of their breasts.
“You need to get to know your breasts. Just because it’s lumpy doesn’t mean you have cancer,” she said. “You need to be able to notice differences in your breasts as you get older, so you should start to get to know your breasts now.”
Sophomore business economics major Maria Mojica said she was grateful to the Hermanos Unidos for tackling an issue that is generally overlooked by men.
“Personally, I learned so much. It expanded my knowledge about breast cancer and about my own breasts,” she said. “I think it is commendable that these guys are serious about this and they really care.”
Arevelo said she admired the predominately male crowd for overcoming gender lines that separate health issues.
“I am so proud tonight, especially of all you men. Here you guys are, so you can share this information with the women in your lives, your moms, girlfriends, aunts and grandmas,” she said.