Brown University flaunts 'Unlearning Toxic Masculinity' guide

Brown University teaches a course on the way strict definitions of masculinity allegedly have toxic outcomes on men’s health and how those definitions can be unlearned.

The Ivy League University’s health services initiative, BWell Health Promotion, advertises a social well-being guide called “Unlearning Toxic Masculinity,” which claims that set definitions on the meaning of masculinity are damaging to men’s health.

The expressed goal of “Unlearning Toxic Masculinity” is to “help those socialized as men to unlearn some of the notions that have led to such profound harm being enacted toward others and toward themselves.”

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Brown University claims that men are socialized only to express anger, which it then argues causes men to show their emotions through violent behavior. This anger allegedly plays into the kind of violence that, according to the post, exists throughout college communities. 

The post also claims that men have been “conditioned to view sex” from a position of  power, leading to various cases of “sexual assault and other forms of interpersonal violence on college campuses.”

There aren’t many spaces where men can have a truthful dialogue regarding their feelings and how best to handle conflict, according to the post. BWell ensures that the school will invest in creating “safe spaces” for men on campus to unlearn the things they’ve been taught about masculinity and manhood.

The guide links to videos posted by the BWell Health Promotion’s YouTube channel about conversations on masculinity. The videos are titled “Masculinity 101” and feature interviews with students about three different themes pertaining to toxic masculinity. 

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One student interviewed suggests that white people and fraternities are significant influencers in the culture of toxic masculinity at Brown.

“Especially, just looking at Brown in general, as a primarily white institution with, like, a small but still present Greek influence, there’s still a lot of, like, unhealthy—like, there’s very much unhealthy toxic masculinity. And that resonates in party culture, frat culture, blacking out, a kind of asserting dominance.”

“I know there’s men at Brown that, like, essentially use their title as a feminist or someone that is, like, aware, in order to, like, seduce women,” another student states. 

A third student touches on the value in setting aside your toxic masculinity and the value of coming to terms with it.

“It’s hard, because it’s easy to fall back into what you’re used to, it’s easy to fall back into the easy thing, but it’s worth not being an exploiter and a harmful person. It’s worth loving. It’s not worth excluding yourself and excluding others. I think it’s really, really worth it to come with open arms to everyone,” the student says. 

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