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White Ribbon begins Uncomposed campaign

Advocacy organization White Ribbon has begun a new campaign called “Uncomposed.” Developed by Bensimon Byrne, OneMethod and Narrative, the initiative is intended to raise awareness of the issue of gender-based violence. According to the organization, the campaign uses “the power of music to challenge societal norms about masculinities.” It includes an original musical composition, an online video and a survey about perceptions of masculinity. According to the organization, the campaign “explores how men are socialized to dismiss their feelings, particularly sensitivity and vulnerability, which results in emotional withdrawal, disconnection, violence, self-medication and risk-taking.”

The song, called Uncomposed, was developed by producer Jared Kuemper in association with Canadian Opera Company music director Johannes Debus and a number of music cognitive scientists. It was performed live by a quintet at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. A video of the performance depicts the reactions of four men as they hear the composition for the first time.

“Our goal is to ignite societal change that promotes emotional literacy and healthy masculinities,” said Humberto Carolo, executive director of White Ribbon. “For too long, society has taught men to be ‘strong’ by repressing their emotions. It has heroized this version of masculinity. ‘Uncomposed’ will start a conversation and encourage men and boys to acknowledge and express a range of complex emotions. We can help end gender-based violence by normalizing and promoting emotional literacy and healthy masculinities among men and boys, and emphasize that strength is the ability to show vulnerability.”

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