US: Toxic masculinity is being tackled at Duke University
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US: Toxic masculinity is being tackled at Duke University

US: Toxic masculinity is being tackled at Duke University

Men are getting a lesson in masculinity at Duke University in the US, following findings that ‘toxic masculinity’ creates rape culture, gun violence and oppression online.

The ‘Men’s Project’ at Duke University has helped men “begin the work of unlearning violence” for three years, through events for “men and masculine-of-center people on campus to engage with issues of gender equity on campus and beyond,” according to Campus Reform.

Last semester, the project hosted six public events on campus, including “HashtagAllMen: A Reflection on Men’s Complicity in Rape Culture” and “You Mad, Bro? White Men, Aggrieved Entitlement, and Violence.”

The events reportedly discussed masculinities’ place in creating and perpetuating rape culture, ‘aggravated white manhood’ as a common factor in mass shootings and the way power and privilege influences social media usage.

Men have committed 92 percent of mass shootings in the US over the past 35 years, and 52 percent of attackers were white.

Following the #MeToo campaign where women are finding solidarity in openly sharing stories of sexual harassment committed against them on social media, men are defending themselves with the ‘NotAllMen’ hashtag

“In the wake of #MeToo, and the response of hashtagNotAllMen, it is important to reflect on how #AllMen create an environment in which rape culture is possible,” said the “HashtagAllMen: A Reflection on Men’s Complicity in Rape Culture” event description.

“Though individual men may not be perpetrators of gender violence themselves, men’s everyday behaviors produce rape culture within society.”

All workshops were led by the Duke University Women’s Center.

Each semester, the center recruits 15 students. The application, which is still open, warns that the program is a commitment to be taken very “seriously.”

“Grappling with these issues and being vulnerable will be challenging, and we want to make sure that we are all committed to doing this work together,” the application notes.

Duke University is one of a handful of schools that offer programming dedicated to fighting masculinity; other schools with currently active programs include Northwestern University, the University of Connecticut, Missouri State University, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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