Webb designs 2019’s Dies Mulieris and Men in the Arena

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Webb designs 2019’s Dies Mulieris and Men in the Arena

Annie Wu's ('19) artwork showcases the theme for this year's Dies Mulieres: Celebrating Creative Minds.

Annie Wu's ('19) artwork showcases the theme for this year's Dies Mulieres: Celebrating Creative Minds.

Annie Wu ('19)

Annie Wu's ('19) artwork showcases the theme for this year's Dies Mulieres: Celebrating Creative Minds.

Annie Wu ('19)

Annie Wu ('19)

Annie Wu's ('19) artwork showcases the theme for this year's Dies Mulieres: Celebrating Creative Minds.

BREAKING NEWS: No classes on Monday the 18th or Tuesday the 19th? Hold on, you still have to go to school, but on these days Webb will host their biennial symposia. VWS hosts Dies Mulieris: Celebrating Creative Minds, and WSC hosts Men in the Arena: Navigating the Masks We Live In.

On Sunday, February 17th, a chapel speaker will kick off the Symposium Days for the community. Dr. Jamila Everett’s personal friend in the film industry, Donald Sparks, will present about his experiences and how women are portrayed in film.

Following Sunday chapel and community dinner, a kickoff event featuring the Without A Box Claremont Improv group will be held in the Liu Cheung Theater. This performance is open to both boarding and day students.

Dies Mulieris:

Jinx Tong, the first Vivian Webb Dean, initiated Dies Mulieris during her tenure in the early 90s. The goal of this symposium was to bring accomplished women from all walks of life to campus for a full day of workshops, seminars, and discussions.

Dies Mulieris directly translates from Latin into “Day of the Woman.” During this program, students will celebrate and explore the many facets of womanhood as well as modern day issues the gender face in the twenty-first century.

On Monday, the afternoon will be packed with 2.5-hour workshops. Some VWS students will write and rehearse a three-minute play, while participants of the “Be the Solution” workshop will brainstorm ways that the school community can support women in the film industry.

Dean of VWS Students Sarah Lantz said, “Our last couple renditions of Dies Mulieris have brought the boys’ school and the girls’ school together, and so one unique feature this year is that our focus was really on creating two separate programs: one for VWS and one for WSC. For Dies Mulieris, my focus has been to create a two-day program that is really geared towards challenging VWS students to think about creativity in many different ways.”

This year also marks the first time VWS students will have the opportunity to venture off-campus for Dies Mulieris. On the 18th, vans will depart to explore the all-girls Scripps College, while the second day brings opportunities to visit either Cal Poly Pomona or the American Museum of Ceramic Art.

VWS students interested in the arts will complete a hands-on air dry clay activity at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona. More science-oriented students will participate in a Biotrek, completing a hands-on activity at each of the following five stations: rainforest greenhouse, animals, ethnobotany, conservation museum, and mesozoic garden.

The Dies Mulieris planning committee is comprised of the Dean of Students, four teachers, and six VWS students. This dedicated group has worked since August to plan the events and structure the schedule.

Deanna Oei (‘20), part of the Dies Mulieris planning committee, said, “What I am most looking forward to about this event is the science field trip because I am really excited to see all the rainforest animals at Cal Poly Pomona. I think Dies Mulieris is going to be a particularly great experience for those looking to try something new, such as making a play or simply learning more about art and science in relation to creativity.”

Caroline Metyas (‘20) said, “As a junior who has experienced both types of Symposium Days, I found that Dies Mulieris initiates discussion and conversation between classmates in VWS, while Unbounded Days is more exploring your Californian surroundings, like for example last year I did yoga on paddleboards in Marina del Rey. Ultimately I think that both Symposium Days are really beneficial for learning, but in two different ways.”

Men in the Arena:

Men in the Arena was created soon after Dies Mulieris as a complement. This year, the itinerary is comprised of both physical and introspective workshops, promoting positive images of masculinity while dispelling toxic stereotypes and other social constructs.

In addition to discussing topics with peers and participating in panels, WSC students will also interrogate film, texts, advertisements, and social media. They will discuss the three myths of manhood: sexual conquest, economic success, and athletic prowess.

Dean of WSC Students Ben Farrell said, “What I am hoping WSC students will take away from Men in the Arena is that there are many ways to construct what masculinity means. It doesn’t always have to be something that is associated with aggressiveness and these kind of negative tropes that we often hear about. The documentary The Mask We Live In that we are going to be watching will push a lot of buttons in a good way, and it talks about how the media’s portrayal of masculinity is a very narrow version of what it actually means to be a man. At Webb, we want to be able to have different aspects of who we are come forward and have that be okay.”

Kevin Quick, a veteran to the Men in the Arena planning committee, said, “When I was designing Men in the Arena in the past, we always wanted to make sure that the boys got their hands dirty in the arena, so that is why it’s called Men in the Arena. This year what we are trying to do is break down the myth of masculinity and figure out how we can better support each other because it is generally hard to show emotion as men.”

The school-divided Symposium Days are especially relevant to recent events on campus, such as the transgender Health & Living speaker from Exeter Academy as well as the new handbook policies regarding gender.

Regardless of whether you belong to VWS or WSC, both only-at-Webb programs will give you the opportunity to take a break from your studies and consider how you live your life in relation to your community.