Why MINDFUL MASCULINITY?
Mindfulness is a state of being aware of internal processes and behaviors. It is about awareness, noticing, choosing, changing. Mindfulness invites us to awaken to habits and automatic behaviors. Similarly, MINDFUL MASCULINITY invites us to consider our attitudes, habits, and automatic behaviors with regard to masculinity and to ask, “Which serve me well and which don’t?”
What is the MINDFUL MASCULINITY messaging campaign?
Our MINDFUL MASCULINITY messaging campaign seeks to encourage members of our campus community to think about the ways in which concepts of masculinity affect us. We all have an opportunity to reconsider ways in which we were socialized to think about gender. This messaging campaign invites all members of our campus community to REFLECT on how they experience and engage with masculinity, to CHOOSE how they want to do so in the future, to HEAL from any harmful effects of masculinity they may have experienced, and to GROW into a healthier awareness of masculinity.
Our gender socialization starts early and becomes a lens through which we experience the world and ourselves. Our MINDFUL MASCULINITY campaign is designed to help members of our campus community reflect on concepts of masculinity, where they came from and their impacts on others. While there is an abundance of resources available to explore, here are a few of our favorites to get you started in exploring the concept of masculinity:
For the Love of Men: From toxic to a more mindful masculinity – Liz Plank – An excellent book which provides an overview of issues of masculinity with historical perspective, connection to the present, and intersectional lenses.
The State of Men – The Guardian – A collection of essays, videos and more addressing aspects of the concept of masculinity through varied and intersectional identity lenses.
Redefining Masculinity – Thrive Global – A collection of articles exploring masculinity in the arenas of work, education, health, wellbeing, family, politics and more.
Guidelines for Practice with Boys and Men – American Psychological Association – An article summarizing the impetus behind the APA’s creation of guidance for psychologists in working with men and boys. This article succinctly summarizes (and links to) much of the current science regarding how masculinity affects boys, men, and others.
Health Masculinity Conversation Series – Men Can Stop Rape – A collection of interviews with experts on the topic of masculinity.
The Next Generation of Manhood – A Call to Men – The website full of resources from an organization which provides education and training as well as opportunities for advocacy.
If there are other resources you’re looking for related to masculinity, contact us!
MINDFUL MASCULINITY invites us to consider our attitudes, habits, and automatic behaviors with regard to masculinity and to ask, “Which serve me well and which don’t?” It offers an invitation to turn off cruise control. Gender norms are learned and can be unlearned. MINDFUL MASCULINITY offers us an opportunity to take back control.
Have you been told that men shouldn’t express emotion? Is that true? Is that helpful? Is that healthy?
Another way to think about it:
Picture your closet. There’s stuff in there from your past that is taking up space and not serving you anymore. This is the same. Declutter. Look at what makes up your beliefs about masculinity and discard the parts that aren’t serving you.
Digging into aspects of our identity can be liberating and can also unearth complex emotions related to our past that would benefit from the support and care of others. If you are looking for support, these campus resources may help:
Intercultural Center | interculturalcenter.wfu.edu | 336.758.5864
LGBTQ Center | lgbtq.wfu.edu | 336.758.4665
Office of the Chaplain | chaplain.wfu.edu | 336.758.5210
SAFE Office | safeoffice.wfu.edu | 336.758.5285
University Counseling Center | counselingcenter.wfu.edu | 336.758.5273
Women’s Center | womenscenter.wfu.edu | 336.758.4053
Your past does not need to define who you will be tomorrow. As Dr. Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, do better.” Some of the traditional norms related to masculinity are harmful to people who identify as men and those around them. A mindful approach to masculine gender identity offers an opportunity to take ownership of the ways in which masculinity is internalized and externalized and ensure that those expressions of gender identity align with our values.
What unhealthy norms of masculinity do you help to perpetuate?
What versions of masculinity would you prefer to see more of?
How can you play a role in supporting the growth of healthy masculinity in our community and beyond?
Want to get involved? Contact us to find out how you can participate in the WFU MINDFUL MASCULINITY initiative.