Founded in San Francisco, California in 2008, the Men’s Story Project (MSP) is a replicable storytelling and community dialogue project that brings critical exploration of social ideas about masculinity into public forums – via men’s own, less-often-heard voices and stories.
The mission of the MSP is to strengthen social norms around the world that support healthy masculinities, violence prevention, and 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 maleness share candid, personal stories with a live audience, on topics such as sexuality; gender identity; friendship; romantic and family relationships; 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 and other aspects of identity. The stories collectively celebrate men’s humanity and note costs of dominant notions of manhood for the presenters and people of all genders around them.
Presenters share their stories in diverse mediums (e.g., poetry, monologues, music, dance), and the stories are followed by a facilitated audience-presenter dialogue and a community resource fair. These live events can be filmed to create social media, documentaries, and accompanying curriculum. MSP presenters have included students, artists, activists, athletes, veterans, celebrities, and other community members, of many walks of life.
Our 28 MSP productions thus far in the U.S., Canada, Chile, Gaza and the West Bank have been overwhelmingly positively received, and we are proud to collaborate with groups including Planned Parenthood Generation Action, UN Women, Amnesty International, and Harry Belafonte’s Sankofa.org.
To create the productions, MSP presenters participate in an eight-week series of educational and creative workshops focused on themes of Celebrating, Challenging and Resisting – where they learn and reflect together, build community, and hone bold original works based on their own lives.
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 are encouraged to form around this work, if such groups don’t already exist locally. Students can seek course credit for their participation, and we also encourage folks to conduct evaluations of their productions (which makes for a great paper or thesis).
We invite groups far and wide to get involved in creating MSP initiatives and join our growing network of folks of all genders taking action for gender justice! We provide rigorous training and coaching for groups creating MSP productions, and will support you along the way. Contact us anytime, and we look forward to working with you!