Founded in San Francisco, California in 2008, the Men’s Story Project (MSP) is a scalable/adaptable storytelling and community dialogue project that brings critical exploration of social ideas about masculinity into public forums – via men’s own voices and stories.
Our mission is to strengthen social norms around the world that support healthy masculinities, violence prevention, and intersectional gender justice.
We work toward this mission by helping local groups create powerful live story-sharing events; social media and films based on these live events; accompanying educational tools; and ongoing gender justice collectives. The MSP is rooted in a feminist, anti-racist, intersectional framework.
Storytelling: For preserving and passing on traditions, challenging and breaking traditions, and creating new traditions.
In each Men’s Story Project production, diverse men, boys, and folks who identify in any way with masculinity share candid, personal stories with a live audience (in person or online), on topics such as family and romantic relationships; sexuality; gender identity; friendship; gender-based violence (survivorship, former perpetration, intervening, etc.); HIV/AIDS; men’s mental and physical health; gender equality; journeys of personal change; and intersections with race/ethnicity and other aspects of identity. The stories collectively celebrate men’s beauty and humanity, and address costs of harmful notions of masculinity for the presenters themselves and people of all genders.
Presenters share their stories in diverse mediums (e.g., poetry, prose, music, dance, visual art). The stories are followed by a facilitated audience-presenter dialogue and resource fair. The live storytelling events can be filmed to create locally-relevant social media and documentaries as well as accompanying discussion guides or curriculum. MSP presenters have included students, artists, activists, athletes, veterans, celebrities and others, ranging in age from 12-82 thus far!
Our 40+ MSP productions thus far in the U.S., Canada, Chile, Gaza Strip and West Bank have been resoundingly well-received. We have been honored to collaborate and partner with many groups over time, including UN Women, Amnesty International, MenHealing, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, University of Alabama, Colby College, Emory University, and many others. Please see our Network page for an overview of our collaborations.
To create the productions, MSP presenters participate in a weekly series of 7-8 educational and creative workshops – where they learn together, build community, constructively challenge each other, and hone their stories.
MSP productions can be regularly-occurring (e.g., yearly campus productions, touring groups) and integrated with broader education programs (e.g., as public culminations of multi-session programs with men). MSP Collectives or other ongoing gender justice groups can form around this work, if such groups don’t already exist locally. Students can seek course credit for their participation, and we also encourage groups to evaluate their productions (which makes for a great paper or thesis).
We invite campuses and organizations to get involved in creating MSP initiatives and join our growing network of groups taking action for gender/social justice! We provide training and coaching for groups creating MSP productions, and will support you each step of the way. Contact us anytime, and we look forward to working with you!