Every man has experiences in life that shape the unique and courageous man he has become. Sharing these stories can be freeing and healing, not only for the man who shares them, but for other men who hear and identify with the pain, triumph and possibility they illuminate. What stories are you holding on to, that in sharing would set you free?
Most men I meet want to be free. There is a power that comes with the liberation of not having to answer to rigid, stereotypical ideas of how you “should” be as a man — of following your own dreams, and being able to fully express yourself as the unique person you are…
Can you relate?
Society’s made-up stories of what it means to “be a man” can be unrealistic and inhuman.
These stories can foster harm when men work to meet those expectations or don’t manage to do so. Men can then feel they have always to be stoic and tough, be in charge, have power over others, be with lots of women, hide aspects of who they are, not express pain or ask for support…
But there is a way that men’s real stories can help free us too.
Instead of holding your stories in silence, which leads to feeling alone, you can bring them into the light by sharing them with others.
Men can have vulnerable, courageous conversations about how they were taught to be “men,” give thanks for sources of love and joy in their lives, discuss costs of harmful notions of manhood as they’ve experienced them and share what they want to create in their lives.
On today’s Man Alive podcast I was joined by Dr. Jocelyn Lehrer, creator of the revolutionary The Men’s Story Project.
The Men’s Story Project helps groups create live story-sharing events and documentaries where men and boys publicly explore social ideas about manhood by sharing about their own life experiences with unusual directness and candor.
In this conversation we discussed:
- The challenges that men, women, and people of all genders often face as a result of social norms about masculinity
- The importance of shifting some social ideas about masculinity to support all people’s well being and equality
- The expanded sense of life possibility, freedom, and healing that comes when men share their less-often-heard stories
- That EVERY man has a story to share
There is a new cohort starting soon to train men to create a Men’s Story Project production!
If you’re inspired to participate in personal and community healing through creating an MSP event, or share your own story, listen to this episode and check out the Men’s Story Project website and resources. I’ve been considering creating an MSP event myself so let me know If you are interested in collaborating.
Dr Jocelyn Lehrer and the Men’s Story Project:
The Men’s Story Project (MSP) helps groups create live story-sharing events, documentaries and social media where men and boys publicly explore social ideas about manhood – through the lens of their own life experience. The MSP helps groups crowdsource culture change in social ideas about masculinity, in locally-led ways, via men’s own voices and stories. It catalyzes a large-scale emergence of men around the world who are taking a personal, public stand for healthy masculinities, violence prevention, and social justice.
Jocelyn Lehrer, Sc.D., is Founder/Director of the Men’s Story Project (MSP) and affiliated Senior Research Associate at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. Her work focuses on the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV) and HIV/AIDS and the promotion of healthy masculinities and gender equality. Lehrer’s research has been published in leading journals including Men & Masculinities, Pediatrics, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Journal of Women’s Health, and Journal of Adolescent Health.