Victor Lau graduated from Oberlin College in 2017 with a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies as well as a dawning realization that a postgraduate degree in STEM was not for him. Three years later, he found himself trapped inside with an ankle injury amid a global pandemic. He embarked on the foundation Him, him, his, a magazine designed to push the boundaries of modern masculinity that it hopes to evolve into a culture-changing company.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
What did masculinity mean to you growing up and how did it change when you first came to Oberlin?
Growing up the only men’s magazines I knew were GQ, Squire and it was sort of. They would push a certain image of that a man shouldn’t be a lot of supportive things, and very unrealistic expectations. It seems that the narrative that the media uses for a lot of male celebrities, musicians, and even politicians is very stoic, very unemotional and flawless at the same time. There are so many different parts, depending on the type of media. And so I thought that was what a man should be: how he should dress, how he should look, and how he should act.
My idea of masculinity was also shaped by the experience of high school and being around popular guys. They were very white, rich, and popular with the girls and all that stuff. But when I got to Oberlin one of my first experiences was the Frisbee team, seeing how open they were to all kinds of different guys. They were constantly trying to work on it. I played a lot of sports in high school, and in most of my previous sports teams it was none of that. It really was your stereotypical masculinity in high school.
Being part of a sports team in Oberlin was an eye-opening experience. I realized that I could be whoever I wanted, to see other guys do whatever they wanted without judgment. I realized that masculinity is not so much a mold, but much larger than that. I dismissed these notions and made a frame for myself.
How did you go from earning two STEM degrees to starting a magazine for men?
I graduated from Oberlin and realized I didn’t want to go to med school or get a doctorate. or mastery. Since the best thing I did in Oberlin was co-ops, I used the food experience to do operations for a catering events company. I loved it, but ultimately I fucked my ankle too many times.
I had to move home, and while I was sitting on the couch recovering, I was trying to find ways to make money, how to start a business with something that I didn’t have not to invest a lot of money. I was just typing things up and reading what other people did. And then when the pandemic hit I went to Him, him, his at full force. Essentially therefore, the plan of Him, him, his took all that is covered GQ and Squire then threw it into one more Reddit– Your strange, taking that tongue. My contributors are people I have found Fiverr and Upwork, but most of the interviews are from Oberlin people and they give me a lot of ideas.
What message are you trying to send about masculinity?
Basically what I’m trying to convey is that masculinity doesn’t have to be a serious thing. I hope to draw people into a more in-depth discussion that masculinity is not what it’s been described and create a community of alternative viewpoints. I try to push individuality.
What response did you get from your readership?
It’s been all over the place, but overall it’s good. It’s hard for me to try to capture all these audiences with such a large niche. If you look at a lot of other media companies, they’ll have different correspondence for different programs and topics, and so that’s where I’m struggling. Sometimes it’s all over the place. Due to how social media works, the algorithm will push certain types of content. So if I was just a meme page or a fashion page it would push that. But because I’m too general, it makes things a little confusing.
What are you currently working on? What are your next steps?
What I’m struggling with right now is trying to become a digital media magazine with one person. I don’t really like journalism. I just like entrepreneurship and starting my own business, but there just aren’t a lot of people in business in Oberlin. I’m trying to profile other people, but I don’t have any co-founders yet. If you know anyone who wants to co-found with me, let me know. My next step is to try to get an MBA.
He / Him / His is looking for Oberlin students and alumni wishing to become co-founders or contributors. Interested parties can reach Lau at [email protected].
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