What does it mean to be a man? What is masculinity?
These questions, among others, are controversial and heavily debated. Yet how we answer and respond to them has significant consequences for ourselves, our relationships, and our society.
For some, the current critique happening to masculinity is a threat to their beliefs about what a man should be. For others, this critique offers hope and a much needed change from what they view as oppressive forms of masculinity.
Without question, there are some extreme narratives regarding the discourse around masculinity that are destructive without being deconstructive, and thus do not effectively help to empower anyone.
The Mission: To help males connect to their emotions and to others in healthy and healing ways.
One of the primary ways that Remasculate seeks to do this is through expanding peoples’ conceptions of what “being a man” or “masculinity” can mean. This mission may evolve and develop more as Remasculate grows, but at our philosophical core is the desire to empower, and not to shame. The home page speaks more to the philosophical beliefs of Remasculate.
How it started
Remasculate was born from a combination of factors but these can be simplified and synthesized into (1) curiosity and concern; (2) personal experiences; (3) collaboration with community.
1. Curiosity & Concern: While conducting my master's research a few important questions were raised. Why were 81% of students diagnosed with behavioural disorders male? Why are males 4-7 times more likely to commit suicide? These questions (among others) led me towards research that held the socialization of males at least partially responsible for these worrying statistics.
2. A number of personal experiences led to the creation of Remasculate. Some of these were:
Becoming aware of my own beliefs surrounding masculinity growing up and the impact that had on myself and the people around me.
Being a high school teacher and seeing the need for students to have more explicit social and emotional teachings.
The suicide of one of my favourite students.
Leading a boys group at school and witnessing firsthand the power of mutual vulnerability.
3. Community was an integral part in the creation of Remasculate and continues to be a priority. Part of that community is well-represented by clinical counsellors as Remasculate has consulted and worked extensively with them to help in the development and implementation of workshops, presentations and programs. In addition, brainstorming ideas and solidifying content has been deeply strengthened by the role of community, whether that is through mentors, friendships, colleagues, or fellow academics and researchers.
What it looks like
At this time, Remasculate has three components to fulfilling its mission: Research, Education and Public Discourse.
Research: For the next few years, particularly while research is being conducted at the University of Edinburgh, this is one of the key parts of Remasculate. Not only does unique research by Remasculate serve to establish an academic presence and add to the literature in the realm of education and masculinity, but it helps to inform and build school programs that can more effectively help boys in educational settings. Action research, research that seeks to solve problems in conjunction with research, is also a major component of this "research" aspect of Remasculate.
Education: Remasculate is deeply involved in educating students, teachers, and parents about this topic. Currently this is primarily done through school presentations for students and/or staff, leading workshops for youth and through consultation.
Public Discourse: The topic of masculinity involves us all and should not be isolated to any one group of people or segment of society. As such, Remasculate is actively involved in engaging as many diverse people as possible. Whether that is speaking at local events in the greater community, publishing non-academic writings, sharing insights and research through its Instagram account, or taking part in radio or podcast interviews.