Man Up and Open Up’s 60-minute conversations center on our society’s idea of what it means to be a “real man,” and aim to use peer-to-peer discussions to expand that definition. These facilitated discussions question participants’ assumptions of masculinity, unmask gender pressures and privilege in our society, and build in younger students a critical consciousness of gender media messages while linking gender pressures to sexual violence prevention with older students, all so that students can reflect on their own attitudes and better empathize with those in their local school, team, or community and the diverse global society beyond.
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“I took away an understanding that the discussion was not just about the ‘black and white’ aspects of male violence – ‘date rape’, sexual assault etc. – but also the subtle ways in which we as men can carry and conduct ourselves, as well as look out for those around us, in a way that ensures that even unintended actions do not put women in uncomfortable situations…I think any time you leave a discussion with a broader or fresh perspective on an issue or subject, then that discussion was well worth having.”
– Colby Mens Lacrosse Player
“I liked how he was so open to our ideas. I also liked how he showed us how much pressure we exert on ourselves, both boys and girls and how we can help each other as a community to relieve some of this pressure.”
– Student, Burke Mountain Academy
“What a great choice and what a great program Eric Barthold seemed to run. [My son] actually talked a bit about it when he got home (knowing I would be thrilled that he’s getting that kind of thoughtful social awareness education at school). He’s usually a clam about life unless it’s sports, so the fact that he spoke so enthusiastically says a lot.”
– Mohawk Trail High School Parent
“Eric engaged [the male students] in a way that I have not seen any other guest speaker accomplish. His ability to get to the core of the issue, dissect gender stereotypes and behaviors, use humor and storytelling, and talk openly and honestly about issues facing the male population today, is unmatched.”
– KUA Assistant Dean of Students
“I learned that men and women are not treated in the same way, and that can only be changed by a large portion of the general community taking a stand and saying that it is wrong. I also learned that trying to fit into the stereotypical “man box” is not something we should try to fit into, and that the media tries to play up that kind of man.”
– Student, Carrabasset Mountain Academy