Know more about M@N
- Learn about masculinities and femininities and how to foster and promote healthy, empowered lives.
- Learn about the function and diversity of masculinities and femininities as well as how socio-cultural processes shape these constructs.
- Attend M@N meetings. Find upcoming dates on Instagram and Facebook.
- Invite a M@N presentation or activity to your organization or class. Book now.
- Participate in Men @ Nebraska Month each November. A month of interactive and informative events focused on expanding and challenging definitions of masculinity and femininity.
- Attend the Men and Masculinities Conference. A one-day conference at UNL each spring, showcasing data-driven and practice-based work regarding issues related to masculinities.
What do M@N members do?
- Social Events: Get involved in helping to increase awareness of dominant, prescriptive ideas of gender and why it’s important to deconstruct those ideas. We do this by creating interactive and educational events that connect with students and the community.
- Leadership Opportunities: Represent M@N by conducting presentations to groups and classrooms about who we are, what we stand for, or facilitating learning activities. Reach out to other organizations and find meaningful collaborative opportunities. You can also be a part of the program development and implementation process.
- Discussion Groups & Panels: We discuss current issues using a critical, gender lens. We discuss personal and socio-political issues related to gender and offer different perspectives and support. Overall, we offer a space allowing for connections, friendship, and dialogue.
- Make Change: Learning about dominant prescriptions of gender and their effect on society, and deconstructing those notions to allow for diversity and empowerment. You will be able to teach others by helping them make positive changes in their lives. This process will lead to a healthier outlook on the concept of masculinity and femininity on campus that can help us assuage some of the self-destructive behaviors some people engage in while trying to live up to an ideal, prescriptive and normative image.
- Community Building: Connect with other students and staff to build lasting and supportive relationships.
Why should I care about gender?
Gender expectations and prescriptions, both positive and negative, have an impact on our lives. These are some things you may want to think about as they may affect you.
- Issues when embracing gender roles: Unhealthy behaviors, relationship problems, and other stress arise from embracing gender roles. Some men - including trans men and non-binary individuals - may experience the following:
- Anxiety and feeling troubled by the thought of being perceived as weak.
- Getting drunk frequently as a coping mechanism, to feel like they have more power, or to mask depression.
- Shame and conflict by not living up to cultural standards.
- Taking risks by having unprotected sex, not using seatbelts, driving too fast or recklessly, not seeing a health care provider, and/or not eating healthy foods.
- Fear of being seen as a failure; and may avoid seeking help when needed
- May, as a result of embracing masculine stereotypes, experience body dissatisfaction, engage in anti-LGBT behaviors, and/or experience suicidal ideation or attempts.
- Strengths in masculinities:
- Leadership, strength, vision and drive can be useful and desirable qualities.
- Managing emotional responses is often needed to complete tasks.
- Having the confidence to speak up, strive for success, and having healthy intimate and sexual relationships.
Men @ Nebraska and the Women’s Center has resources and tools to help people of all genders lead successful lives.
Here is some helpful information to keep in mind about gender:
- Gender is a social construct; they represent categories in everyday language and are shaped by sociocultural process. Gender is not necessarily innate and is different from biology (male/female/intersex).
- Gender can change with cultural and with/between individuals; it can differ by region, religion, class, etc.
- Femininities and masculinities are plural and dynamic.
- Individuals may not identify with any single gender (e.g., non-binary), or may think of themselves, to a lesser or greater degree, as both masculine and feminine (e.g. genderqueer)
- Notions of “feminine” or “masculine” behaviors are shaped, in part, by observations and expectations about what men and women will be like and do. This “gender marking” tends to limit and constrain people from pursuing and/or entering certain occupations.
- Femininities and masculinities can be learned. Messages about both are often found in advertising, media, news, educational materials, etc.
Resources and articles about masculinities:
The Women’s Center has a library full of gender related books, magazines, and DVD’s that all UNL students can check out for free. Many of them relate to men and masculinities, including:
- Tough Guise II. A powerful documentary about the ‘tough guy’ archetype in American culture. Released by anti-sexism active and social critic Jackson Katz, the documentary interleaves movie footage, news footage and archival photographs with editorial commentary by Katz himself. Go here to check out the trailer for the documentary and for a longer description.
- Men, Feminism, and Men’s Contradictory Experiences of Power. This article is a great overview of the men’s movement and key issues we try to address with M@N.
- Michael Kimmel, a professor of sociology at Stony Brook University. He is the author of Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men (HarperCollins, 2008) Men’s Lives (9th edition, 2009). Both are great books and are available in our library.
- Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes. The documentary explores the issues of masculinity, violence, homophobia and sexism in hip hop music and culture, through interviews with artists, academics and fans.
- “Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood”. This book is part of the Women’s Center library collection.
- Plus many more.