The Men’s Story Project
The Men’s Story Project (MSP) promotes healthy masculinity and prevention of gender violence. The program consists of the development of public presentations in which men analyze social norms around masculinity and gender relations through candid stories about their life experiences. The stories cover issues such as paternity, sexuality, substance abuse, and experiences of perpetrating, witnessing, surviving, and/or intervening in diverse forms of violence. Presenters can include opinion leaders such as celebrities or activists as well as men who’ve never spoken publicly.
- In each MSP production, 5–15 men share their personal stories with the public in an unusually candid manner. The stories celebrate men’s humanity and point out the damage caused by stereotyped and unhealthy masculinity. Multiple media can be used, including narrated history, poetry, music, dance, and monologues. However, artistic experience and presentation-styles are not required. Each session is followed by a public discussion.
- MSP supports groups in developing anecdotes and presentation activities, as well as in filming these events to create culturally-specific educational documentaries. The presentation focus can vary depending on the interests of the organization; for example, it can focus specifically on stories relevant to gender violence prevention. Documentaries can accompany these live events, along with educator’s manuals, discussions of community events, media coverage, and advocacy.
- MSP’s website and YouTube channel include the work of local initiatives, which can be regular functions in a non-profit organization, touring groups, or incorporated into the wide range of educational men’s programming.
- Preliminary results of a qualitative study from the U of California–San Francisco indicate that live productions are a promising way of stimulating attitude changes and behavior towards gender norms and healthier social relationships.
- MSP is implemented with the support of a 40-page guide for facilitators, a license and the technical support (Spanish and English) of the organization at www.mensstoryproject.org.