The Mold Your Masculinity campaign is focused on unhealthy masculinity and the harms that come with it. Our goal is to help men rise to create their own healthy masculinity by educating youth and adults in Sitka on the harms of the man box. The man box is a set of societal beliefs that pressure men to be a certain way. These rigid expectations, detailed below, increase risk of harm to self and others.
Reconstructing societal norms or beliefs can be challenging without understanding the issue. SYLC looks to show men and boys that it is okay to be yourself and push to limit these harmful effects of the man box. Through these messages, we hope men will be able to mold their own masculinity--embrace their true selves and not feel obligated to conform to harmful norms. Together, we can shift the narrative around masculinity from social expectation to personal expression so young men and boys can live a healthier, happier, and more meaningful life.
This campaign has been in development for the past two and a half years after SYLC members noticed an issue with rape culture in our community and our society and a connection between that issue and harmful masculinity. SYLC members then asked to be trained in how to deal with these issues that were so prevalent. SYLC would like to thank Amanda Capitummino for assisting with the training of SYLC members on harmful masculinity, Lee House for putting together our campaign videos, and Alyssa Russell for her help with our amazing posters!
Young men continue to be told “being a man” means using violence to resolve conflicts, refusing to seek help even if they need it, and sticking to rigid gender roles. Those who believe in the most restrictive ideas about manhood are consistently more likely to bully, binge drink, be in traffic accidents, harass, show signs of depression, and have considered suicide.
Men and boys who conform to these beliefs are said to be in the "man box," a set of harmful societal norms that endanger the physical and mental health of men and boys and those around them.
A study conducted in the US, UK, and Mexico searched for the costs of harmful masculinity. Take the quiz below to see the costs of the "man box."
This ad, by Gillette, titled "The Best A Man Can Get," shows examples of healthy masculinity and shows how Gillette aims towards these goals. The video has over 14 million views and twice as many dislikes as likes. Pushing back against societal norms is challenging, and many were not receptive to Gillette's message. This serves as a reminder that it will take all of us working together to shift the narrative around harmful masculinity.
Negative feedback included:
"Does Gillette want men to start shaving their legs too?"
"I'm researching every product by Proctor & Gamble, throwing any I have in the trash, and never buying them again until everyone involved in this ad from the top to the bottom is fired and the company issues an official apology."
"Gillette is telling its customers that they are the problem and need to change. That masculinity is bad and all men are responsible for the actions of a few."
"Stop trying to emasculate men! Let them be men"
Comments saying that Gillette is "crapping all over" the guys who've supported the company and "gender-shaming" men.
Ways you can get involved in our campaign to educate and eliminate toxic masculinity include:
SYLC's Share More Campaign is an effort to disrupt harmful dominant narratives through vulnerable storytelling. One important element of the Share More Campaign is the Postcard Project, where we invite individuals to share about themselves through art and words. To participate in the Postcard Project, create an anonymous postcard that shares a part of your story relating to masculinity. The postcard may then be shared anonymously to this site and SYLC's social media to spread messages about equity and vulnerability. Use some of the prompts below to inspire you, and remember to be thoughtful and careful with your words!
Who is the strongest man in your life? What qualities or characteristics make him so?
Dear men, …
To me, being a man means…
What is an ideal world for you in terms of masculinity and gender norms? What can you do to move us toward that world?