Josie Lehrer on the Men's Story Project

How can storytelling help foster healthy masculinity in a time of #MeToo and Time’s Up? How can social learning help us examine and challenge gender norms to promote health, peace, and justice? 

In this episode of FoossaPod, Lee-Sean Huang interviews Dr. Josie Lehrer of the Men’s Story Project, a movement building project for healthy masculinity. The project uses the power of storytelling and social learning to promote community, health, and peace-building. 

Highlights from Dr. Lehrer

"I think this moment of #MeToo and Time’s Up is one where men must take a stand for the prevention of sexual assault and harassment, and for healthy masculinities. And I think we need to have a public conversation about healthy masculinities broadly."

"The basic format for the project is pretty straightforward: it’s the creation of live productions–public events–where curated groups of boys and men, and folks who identify with maleness in any kind of way, share very personal stories that they have crafted, with a live audience. And those stories have the purpose of examining and challenging masculinity norms."

"There is a very wide range of health and justice issues that are deeply entwined with social notions of how men and boys should be as 'men.'"

"All humans deserve an equal opportunity to live with health, peace, and justice. The issue of masculinities is a high leverage one."

"One of the things that I have been very moved by is just to learn about the power of overtly stating that with this project, our intention is to create an unusual public moment of truth."

"If you could really say it, what would it be? That’s what we really want to hear."

"We as human beings are wired viscerally to grasp authenticity. We know it when we see it."

"Part of the effort of this movement is to help everyone see that there is a place for them to talk about these things and to help make it normal for men to look critically at male norms. And to start to question them, and to start looking at their impacts across diverse domains, and to start thinking about how they themselves can be actors for making a more equitable world."

Music from this episode: “Deluge” by Cellophane Sam, via the Free Music Archive