The Texas Blazers aim to be visible allies on campus against gender-based violence. The MenCanEnd project produces a steady stream of opportunities for men, particularly those not usually engaged, to get connected with gender-based violence prevention. By explicitly linking the idea of unhealthy masculinity to rape culture, we hope to do primary prevention work to reduce violence in our world.
Our organization's definition of healthy masculinity includes any expression of masculine gender that de-emphasizes dominance, emotional repression, and sexual aggression, and emphasizes emotional intelligence, self-love, and empowerment. We believe that masculinities are not inherently harmful, but that they must be examined in relation to other social and cultural identities.
Currently, the Texas Blazers are organizing round table discussions with other men's organizations about their experiences with masculinity, as well co-hosting a fishbowl discussion about the social constructions of male identity with VAV, where people of all gender identities and expressions are welcomed to engage in dialogue about masculinity. A video series is also being produced, and will showcase individual stories from people and their experiences with how they were taught about masculinity.
Started by the Fall 2015 New Guy Class of Blazers, last year the MenCanEnd project held a variety of events, including a screening and facilitation of the documentary "The Mask You Live In", a fair of campus and local resources for survivors, and a fundraising banquet for the Voices Against Violence (VAV) Survivor's Emergency Fund, featuring UT's Vice-President of Student Affairs, and a performance by Spitshine Poetry . At the conclusion of the fundraiser, Texas Blazers donated $4,500 to the fund. For more information about the Survivor’s Fund, visit VAV’s website.
More future events are currently being developed by a committee within the organization. If you, your organization, or college would like to join the movement please contact Aaron Burroughs, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or questions regarding the initiative.