by Boysen Hodgson
The New York Times published an article featuring the ManKind Project men’s work. https://nyti.ms/2zXWmQf
The online title, “These Men Are Waiting to Share Some Feelings With You; In meetings and retreats, chastened menfolk are working on their feelings.” went live on Saturday December 8, the print version, which was the front page of the Style section, was Sunday December 9 “The New Iron Johns; In meetings and retreats, chastened menfolk are working on their feelings.”
Here is the link to the story:
Thanks to some amazing generosity and courage from men in Metro NY Tri State, especially to the Sage Talisman I-Group, who welcomed the reporter, Hannah Seligson, and the photographer, Casey Kelbaugh (whose Instagram from the night is featured) to a 20-man circle that she described as moving and very diverse (even in New York City). Scott Fried, who is quoted in the article, kept in close contact with Seligson through the past month, answering questions about the processes we use in groups, our facilitation training, and ManKind Project history.
In addition to the members of the I-Group, Seligson spoke to actor and New Warrior Eka Darville about how the work has affected him being a young Dad and a person of color in the USA and Australia. Seligson said she has had a number of other conversations as well. The article also talks about EvryMan, a complementary but totally separate organization with some connections to MKP that we’ve written about here.
Many have wondered, Why is MKP such a well kept secret?
For many years, MKP was cautious about what we shared. Were we ready for the world? Was the world ready for us? I think there is shame in there, tied to the old story of masculinity, often referred to these days as ‘the man box.’ What we do in our men’s groups breaks with many ‘traditional’ socialized traits that most of us have been taught. Men don’t share what feels vulnerable … What if everyone knew that I broke down? That I’m afraid? That I long for love and long to feel powerful? That I feel uncertain or powerless? That I need support? Or even that I want to be seen, acknowledged, and celebrated for pursuing the best of who I can be?
The article quotes Socrates, “Know thyself.” In a subsequent radio interview, Scott Fried, slightly expanded this to say, “Know thyself, and learn to love yourself.” The ManKind Project welcomes men from all backgrounds and walks of life to discover the “gold and shadow” of who they are, and to integrate both. We’re men mentoring men through all the ages and stages of our lives.
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The cover story in this week’s Sunday Styles section of the @nytimes is a story I worked on with @seligsonh about the recent proliferation of men’s groups such as the @themankindproject and @_evryman_ in context of the #metoo movement, male privilege and toxic masculinity. These groups take many forms, employ a variety of techniques and are taking place all across the country but the main objective seems to be to create a safe space for men to exhibit vulnerability, shame, fear, anger and helplessness in the empathetic company of other men. In the short time I spent with them I saw a remarkable amount of eye contact, authentic participation, attentive listening, explosive rage and uncontrollable sobbing. There may be some disagreement about the methods and models but one thing is clear: there are many men making earnest attempts to improve their emotional awareness and personal accountability. This can only be of benefit not only to them and the other men around them but to the women and children in their lives.
The pain in the world is now motivation enough for us to step outside our collective comfort zone.
The world needs more stories of men willing to get fully real and vulnerable to see who they really are. May this openness inspire courage in men to break out of isolation and begin their men’s work.
We remain committed to becoming an increasingly diverse and affirmative community. I believe the best thing we can do as New Warriors and as an organization improving the world is transparently share and compassionately explain what, why, and how we do what we do.
Now is the time to be out there.
And without a doubt, this article will certainly move us in that direction.
Communications Director, MKP USA
NWTA April 2004, New England
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