Men's Project FAQ
Why is the work called the Men's Project?
Any name/identity is difficult to construct without seeming to limit the scope of the group. That said, the main purpose of the Men’s Project is to engage male-identified students, staff, and faculty in gender equity work and to support the development of allies and allyship across campus identities and spaces.
Is the group only for men?
No. While the work is designed with the primary focus of engaging men and masculine people, anybody can do this work and the focus is less on identity and more on working in community with one another to strive for social justice. All identities are welcome.
Because of the gender roles and socialization that we have all grown up with, it may (at times) feel more comfortable for men to share their experiences and do the work of unpacking the dynamics of privilege and oppression in an all male group, but that is not always the case. Keeping that in mind, it very important that we communicate what is comfortable and what we need and that we do this work and have these discussions in a diversity of ways and with a diversity of voices.
Why is the language I use so important?
Because words can hurt. We choose the words that we use to communicate with others. Intentionally or unintentionally, the words we choose can have a negative impact on others. We must have the courage to NAME when we are hurt and when we have hurt others.
Know must know our impact and be cognizant that our actions have positive and/or negative consequences. Our decisions, our language, impacts those in our communities. We must CLAIM and take ownership of the impact that we have on others.
We can take responsibility for the language we use by acknowledging the power of our words to demean, offend, belittle, and hurt. But our words also have the power to celebrate, praise, comfort, and honor others. It is our responsibility to DIALOGUE with others to continue our growth of being more inclusive in achieving safety, equality, and respect for communities.
For more information, check out the Diversity Center’s My Language My Choice Campaign.
Why is the group based out of the Center for Gender Equity?
When most people begin doing work like this, it’s most often based out of a feminist organization such as the Center for Gender Equity. This can be uncomfortable for men and other allies who have been taught that feminism is “bad”, feminists hate men, and believing in feminist ideals is emasculating.
The truth is that feminism is about promoting equality, and allies who want to work for equality are just as welcome as anyone.
What feminism has done for women in the past, the opening up of what women can do and be, is something that allies need to learn from in order to undo oppression and privilege in our culture. Equality can also mean working to allow men and allies to just be themselves rather than feeling like they must live up to the socialized conditioning of gender.
Why was the Center called a "Women's" Center in the past? Isn't that unfair to men and trans and gender-nonconforming people?
Women’s Centers on college campuses were designed, at least in large part, to address and counteract the symptoms of gender-based oppression that many women experience in traditionally male dominated spaces and institutions. With rates of violence and harassment being so high and the opportunities for equal pay and access to resources and education being so low, Women’s Centers made sense and provided female-identified students, staff, and faculty a space in which to seek respite, connect, build community, access and develop resources, and nurture gender justice activism.
That said, the idea of a “Women’s Center” also has it’s limitations. It can, if only unintentionally, be perceived as reinforcing of the gender binary and the conditions which serve to silence and invisibilize identities that fall outside of this binary. For this reason (and others), the Women’s Center has evolved into the Center for Gender Equity (name changed in Spring 2016). This positions us to more fully engage and serve trans and gender-nonconforming communities in addition to allies.
I don't have much time to spare, but how can I help?
PLU students are notoriously over-extended… sound familiar? How can you be involved if you don’t have time to make it to each meeting or event?
Start by making it to as many events as you can… the greater the numbers the more visibility we have.
Talk to your friends about the work and why you think it’s important. Suggest they come with you when you can make it, or that they check out some of the resources here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Ask your RA or professor to have the Men’s Project or the Center for Gender Equity present or do a program – maybe a film in your hall?
Have an idea but aren’t sure where to go with it? Let us know and we’ll try to help make it happen!