What does it mean to be a man?

In America today, men are more likely to commit suicide, sexually assault someone, sexually abuse children, drop out of school, get into a car crash, go to prison, abuse alcohol and other drugs, be a bully, and commit a violent crime or domestic violence. But even beyond that, every year, countless men and boys feel like fundamental parts of themselves must be hidden and protected, tap danced over five times a day. It’s what makes them weak and pathetic. It’s what makes them “not a man.”

Of course, what “being a man” means in this modern world is changing: fast. At UT’s Men’s Project, we welcome anyone who identifies as a man to come talk about it with us, and maybe address a few questions along the way. Men commit the vast majority of violence done in this country, yet the vast majority of men aren’t violent themselves nor explicitly condone violence. If we, as guys, are really serious about reducing violence, then what can we do to help beyond just not being violent ourselves?

How do gender, societal norms, sports culture, economics, fear of being uncool and family structure all contribute to acts of violence? How does culturally defined masculinity help and hurt our boys and men?

It’s these questions, and more, that we hope to explore this with you over these next couple of months. Stay tuned.

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