FOCUS on the sexes


Brandon Powell

Students Carol Marcau and Elizabeth Connealy, FOCUS missionaries, talked to male students about what a girl wants from a guy on a date or in a relationship. Students were encouraged to ask any questions they had about the opposite sex.

Tara Taylor, Staff Writer

The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) held an event titled “The Truth About the Sexes” this week in the WSC Student Center. The objective was to have a room filled with young women who attend Wayne State who could ask three male missionaries any questions they had about guys in general. The FOCUS leaders also wanted to fill the room with young men who also had the same opportunity to ask the female missionaries similar questions.

“They’ve done the event previous years, maybe two or three times,” one of the missionaries, Tyler Cline, said. “But, for us as missionaries, it was seeing the lack of knowledge about what real relationships were, about our lack of understanding of our identity in men and women and how we interact. And just in general it’s not even just religious, it’s general questions like how do you tell a guy that you like him or don’t? None of those things seem to be common knowledge anymore. So, it’s a matter of trying to heal that wound or just lack of understanding in the Wayne State community.”

Many young people have concerns in the relationship field when experiencing a new atmosphere filled with strangers and many singles.

“I think relationships aren’t straightforward anymore,” Kolton Powell the youngest missionary, said. “There’s a lot more of a need to have these conversations. Things have gotten so mottled with divorce rates and just everything in the dating world in general.”

When asked why young women specifically might find a need to go to an event like this, Jim Jansen who was the other male member of FOCUS available for this event, had a very straightforward response.

“Most women have never been a man. Many women have also been hurt unintentionally by something stupid or confusing that a man has done. They just want to know why they thought that way and why they acted that way,” said Jansen.

It was also recognized by Cline, Powell and Jansen that if this wasn’t a religious-based event there may have been a different turnout.

“I think culture now makes gender so fluid,” Cline said. “I’m not saying confusion doesn’t happen or there’s not a variety of reasons people aren’t capable of understanding who they are. It’s all plausible in that sense. It’s so fluid now that I think you would have people who maybe said they aren’t going to come because it’s something Christian so they decided not to, and if it wasn’t they may have come. There’s just different questions about is there a man and a woman? Is it actually a hard and fast gender line? I think there would have been more questions just in the topic of gender.”

Cline said he would have liked to talk about several additional philosophical questions, including the reason to be a man or woman and whether gender identity is socially constructed. He said he would have liked the conversation to have been more in depth and not just “how do you tell a guy you like him?”

“I would say there was probably a shared set of assumptions or at least a presumed set of assumptions. I don’t know if it necessarily inhibited the conversation but it definitely took it in one direction,” Jansen added.

The missionaries had a clear final message for the audience: that they should not be discouraged about going to an event just because it is religion based and they aren’t of that religion. The missionaries said that FOCUS was created to hold discussion-based events that are open to people of many different backgrounds. “The Truth About the Sexes” event was held for all students, not just some, they said.