A Brown University student newspaper published an op-ed article which calls for a ‘men’s revolution’ in order to “liberate not only men, but all of society, from the constraint’s of toxic masculinity.” This op-ed can be found in The Boston Daily Herald, a student-ran newspaper for the Brown University community. The author also cites the recent Parkland school shooting as a reason why we need a revolution against toxic masculinity.
The author of the article Quentin Thomas is also a coordinator for Brown’s recently-launched “Masculinity Peer Education” program, which hires male students to host workshops and dive deep down into the issues surrounding masculinity.
Student writer Quentin Thomas argues the necessity of a revolution against toxic masculinity, convinced that it’s a nefarious web of male-specific social norms that causes men to “perpetrate harm against another individual and himself.”
“Upon hearing the phrase ‘toxic masculinity,’ one might first think about how it impacts other people. What can often be overlooked, though, is that men suffer greatly from toxic masculinity, too,” Thomas writes. “Thanks to toxic masculinity, men are encouraged to constantly meet a range of unrealistic expectations: to exaggerate dominant traits, embody stoicism through extreme emotional suppression and never show any signs of weakness.”
In his op-ed, Thomas also reflects on the Parkland shooting where 17 students were shot dead, and directly cites that incident as an example why “it is now the time to recognize the crisis of masculinity afflicting our country.”
Thomas writes, “In light of the Parkland shooting and broader conversations about assault and equality, it is now the time to recognize the crisis of masculinity afflicting our country and the need for a comprehensive redefinition of manhood: a men’s revolution.”
Thomas currently volunteers as a student coordinator for Brown’s Masculinity Peer Education Program, formerly known as Masculinity 101. This recently-formed program is a resource for students looking to discuss issues relating to masculinity. The goal is to promote a ‘healthier’ social environment by “unpacking male privilege,” while “acknowledging harm and promoting healing” and helping men “avoid abusing that [male] privilege.”
“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 needs to be dismantled,” according to the program description. “Masculinity 101 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.”
According to a Brown University spokesperson, eight male students have been employed to as Peer Educators to host workshops, such as “Cultivating Empathy” and “Harm and Healing.”
There is also a workshop called “Privilege 101” which teaches students “a tangible definition of privilege and specific examples of male privilege,” and then asks them to “reflect on the role privilege plays in their life” and “work towards developing strategies for engaging with their privilege.”
The curriculum for Masculinity 101 is created “for students, by students,” but is under the guidance of Marc Peters, the school’s Health Promotion Specialist whose main responsibility is promoting “healthy masculinity.”
The program is also open to women and non-binary students, as the goal’s mission is “not…well-served by being exclusionary.”
Peer coordinator and opinion writer Quentin Thomas predicts that addressing and dismantling the harmful elements of toxic masculinity will be very beneficial to society.
Thomas ends his article, writing that “In the age of the #MeToo movement and Women’s Marches, it’s time for men to have a parallel revolution—one that will liberate not only men, but all of society, from the constraints of toxic masculinity.”