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Duke University Recruits Men To Combat ‘Toxic Masculinity’

By: Grace Carr

Duke University will launch the Duke Men’s Project for a second year this September in an effort to combat “toxic masculinity” and the harmful narratives about gender roles that circulate around campus.

The group will continue accepting applications until Wednesday, and hopes to receive a large number of male students interested in increasing “male allyship in gender equity and gender violence prevention,” according to its Facebook description.

The nine-week program, sponsored by the Duke Women’s Center, will include 15 male-identified students that will “unpack expressions of masculinity through a feminist lens.” The Project is meant to “call men in to conversations about feminism and gender oppression,” while creating “a space of brotherhood and fellowship dedicated to interrogating male privilege and patriarchy.”

The group says it wants to question and revise concepts of masculinity in order to provide healthier alternatives. Project members also claim that there is a “misinformed narrative that gender equity and feminism hurts men,” and that conversations about the appropriate limits of masculinity can empower men.

The application for admittance to the group asks students to describe how privilege pervades Duke’s campus, and encourages students to prepare to grapple with vulnerability if they are accepted. It lists patriarchy, white supremacy, heterosexism, cissexism, and rape culture as topics it will tackle. The group also notes that it will discuss male privilege and the harmful consequences of pornography and emotional labor.

Duke recently hired a Men’s Engagement Intern who will make $9 dollars an hour to help foster a “collective buy-in on the part of men,” according to Campus Reform.

The program was created in 2016 and revamped with more spots for admittance after a successful first year.

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