Masculinity Peer Education

What is Masculinity Peer Education?

The Masculinity Peer Education program consists of student educators who are passionate about helping their peers explore the ways in which we are socialized with regards to gender and how that socialization process can be harmful to ourselves and others. We typically work with pre-existing communities at Brown to deliver workshops tailored to the needs of the group.

Our approach focuses on the following foundational concepts:

  • Examining the ways we learn gender

  • Unpacking male privilege

  • Building empathy and understanding

  • Acknowledging harm and promoting healing

We created the Masculinity Peer Education program because most folks have never thoughtfully examined what healthier norms of masculinity can and should look like. That is particularly true for folks who hold considerable societal privilege. Modern society is quick to bestow unearned privilege on cisgender men. There is nothing in place to teach men––young men especially––how to avoid abusing that privilege or how to leverage it for good. While intersecting identities mean that not all men enjoy the same level of privilege, it is in everyone’s interest to combat patriarchy and toxic notions of masculinity. Folks of all genders are taught to accept the gender binary as a biological imperative that can never be questioned when, in fact, the gender binary is a social construct that can be dismantled. Masculinity Peer Education rejects the notion of the gender binary as the end-all be-all and works to promote a more holistic understanding of oneself encompassing one’s many facets and contradictions.

Is Masculinity Peer Education only for men?

No. While this curriculum and program are geared toward folks who identify as men in any way or in part, we do not require our facilitators to hold a particular gender identity nor do we provide education solely for male audiences. The purpose of this program is to foster reflection, empathy and understanding and that is not a purpose that is well-served by being exclusionary.

What is included in your curriculum?

Our current curriculum includes four foundational modules as well as supplementary modules. We designed the curriculum to be flexible enough to meet the varying needs of groups and also allow for ongoing education. The foundational modules are:

  • Learning Gender: students examine how gender is learned, what stereotypes and norms are attached to masculinity and femininity, and how those norms play out in their lives

  • Privilege 101: students gain both a tangible definition of privilege and specific examples of male privilege, then reflect on the role privilege plays in their life. Following reflection, individuals work towards developing strategies for engaging with their privilege

  • Cultivating Empathy: students develop an understanding of empathy and the barriers to practicing it, then work together to develop tools to cultivate empathy within themselves, their friendships, and their communities

  • Harm and Healing: following an exercise illuminating how difficult it can be to acknowledge and engage with harm, students create a plan for finding support when they are in need while simultaneously learning how to give support to others and cultivate a culture of care and healing

Who wrote the curriculum you use?

The curriculum was written by Brown students for Brown students in collaboration with BWell Professional Staff. The curriculum we use today is the collective product of the dedicated and intentional work of many current and former students and staff and is regularly reviewed and updated.

How do I get involved?

Contact [email protected] for more information.