An American university has started a nine week course for male students aimed at tackling “toxic masculinities” by discussing male privilege and patriarchy.
The Duke Men’s Project programme, launched this month by North Carolinam based Duke University, offers “male identified” students a “safe space” to help them explore alternative concepts of masculinity and influence. Developed by students and staff at the university’s Women’s Centre, the course aims to “create a space of brotherhood fellowship dedicated to interrogating male privilege and patriarchy as it exists in our lives, our campus and our society”.
The project’s goal is to create an environment in which men can “critique and analyse their own masculinity and toxic masculinities to then create healthier ones,” Junior Dipro Bhowmik, who sits on the leadership team, was quoted as saying by Fox News.
The curriculum is about “questioning how you can be accountable to feminism, to the women in your life and to the larger community,” he said.
The course also offers students space to discuss the “language of dominance”, rape culture, pornography, machismo and other topics. The project has received backing from the student newspaper’s editorial board who insisted it was “not a re education camp being administered by an oppressed group, in the service of the feminisation of American society.”
A poll conducted last year by the ‘Kaiser Foundation’ and ‘The Washington Post’ found that 25 per cent of young women and 7 per cent of young men say they have experienced unwanted sexual contact in college.