Wednesday, January 4, 2017

UW-Madison Men's Project - Masculinity For Dummies

What is "masculinity"?

If you're lucky enough to be a self-identified male student at Madison, you can explore the topic in a 6-week program. Only "men-identified students" can participate. No women allowed.

From the UW-Madison website:

A new program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison aims to explore masculinity and the problems accompanied by simplified definitions of it.

The UW Men’s Project is a six­-week program open only to men-identified students that kicks off with an overnight retreat where the group or groups will talk about what “masculinity” means to them.

“A key element of the program is intersectionality. There isn’t just one masculinity, there are many,” says Sam Johnson, a violence prevention specialist at University Health Services (UHS), one of the campus offices organizing the program. She explained that other components of one’s identity—including religion, sexual orientation, and race—all contribute to individual perceptions and experiences of masculinity.

...“There is no code or guidebook of how you’re supposed to be a man,” Johnson says. By encouraging that kind of dialogue among a men-identified cohort, the goal is to create a sense of security in vulnerability throughout the six-week program.
These poor mixed-up men-identified people are struggling. There's "no code or guidebook of how you're supposed to be a man." They need "security in vulnerability" as they discover how to live as men.

I'm not surprised some have a problem with understanding what it means to be a man. The fact that a term like "men-identified students" is applied has something to do with it.

If I were a man, and a "guidebook of how you're supposed to be a man" existed, I would ignore it.

Define yourself. Be a man!
Johnson said one goal for the Men’s Project is to ultimately prevent future violence by teaching participants to recognize warning signs of unhealthy interactions. The program will also give insights to facilitators and staff about perceptions of masculinity and how they impact the student experience, including gender-based violence on campus, alcohol, vulnerability, media sexuality, and relationships.

“We know that men are underrepresented on campus when it comes to campus leadership roles and getting needed medical and mental health services,” Johnson says. “They’re also overrepresented in acts of violence and use of drugs and alcohol. With this program, we want to find out why this is and how we can change that culture campus-wide to encourage healthier expressions of masculinities.”

The program operates on a transformative model of social justice allyship. First, facilitators ask students to consider how the students’ opinions about masculinity affect their own perceptions every day. Second, they consider how those opinions affect the people around them. Finally, the program examines how those perceptions affect the whole campus community, and that’s where facilitators and the Men’s Project program coordinators from the UW Division of Student Life, UHS End Violence On Campus, and UW Housing hope to learn the most from the experience.
So, men are violent and users of drugs and alcohol.

The program will use a "transformative model of social justice allyship" to examine that.

It appears that current social and cultural views of masculinity are broken, leading to a bunch of messed up men.

Serious problems here.

No doubt, it will be difficult for the "men-identified students" to confront their status as men. It will likely be painful.

Participants need to remember: BIG BOYS DON'T CRY.

But, big boys do cry. Is that why the program is necessary?

It's so confusing.

From The College Fix:
Participants will begin the project with a weekend retreat in February and continue meeting weekly, discussing topics such as media and pop culture, vulnerability, sexuality, hook-up culture, alcohol, relationships and violence.

The program is now in its second year and was most recently offered in fall 2016, according to its Facebook page.

In an email to The College Fix, the University of Wisconsin-Madison director of news and media relations Meredith McGlone said the project serves an important purpose.

“Recent research suggests college campuses have not effectively addressed [male students’] needs,” she stated. “Research also indicates that expectations around masculinity impact the way in which men experience college.”

McGlone suggested typical understandings of masculinity can effect male students in a negative way.

“These expectations influence the decisions men make about friendships; spending time outside of class; careers or academic majors; and sexual and romantic relationships. Men are socialized to believe they need to act a certain way to be accepted as ‘masculine’ or have what it takes to be a man,” she told The Fix.
Self-identified male students have needs not being addressed by college campuses. Blame the "typical understandings of masculinity."

It sounds like the goal is to strip men of their male identities and create more androgynous beings. Be more like women. That will fix them.

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