For so many men+, traditional masculinity doesn’t fit. There are spoken and unspoken rules that dictate how men are supposed to dress, walk, stand, talk, screw, look and feel that may not be in alignment with who you really are. Because of this, traditionally male spaces can feel tremendously alienating. The locker room, the basketball court, or the corner bar: can you truly be yourself there?
But then what? If you don’t fit into patriarchy’s boxes of who a man can be, where do you go when there’s seemingly no other socially sanctioned way to be? What are the options? Pretend to be a bro and suffer from living out of alignment with who you truly are or step outside of prescribed social norms and risk the consequences. Compulsory masculinity is a trap.
You also have an awareness of how patriarchy affects the women in your life, and you try hard not to unintentionally contribute to that. You’re pretty sure you must sometimes commit micro-aggressions, but who helps you to see them? Are there men in your life who keep you accountable to your egalitarian ideals? You know better than to ask the women in your life to educate you about how to do better, but then how else are you supposed to learn?
Beyond the political issues, who can you talk about your feelings with? Most men have few, if any, that they can be truly vulnerable with. You know that expecting your girlfriend or sister or women friends to do emotional labor for you isn’t right, but when there’s no man you could feasibly show your heart to, what else are you supposed to do?
Patriarchy is set up for your advantage, there’s no arguing that. But the male privilege you didn’t ask for comes at a high cost.
Undoing Patriarchy is a course is for men who are trying to subvert patriarchy while also trying to survive it. There’s shame-free space to talk about all of these issues and more. You’ll self-reflect how you might be unintentionally causing harm to the women in your life and what you can do to change that. You’ll build platonic male intimacy and have opportunities to practice new relational skills on your own and with each other. Together, we collectively create a vision for a future free from patriarchal masculinity.
What is this course?
Undoing Patriarchy is an 8-week course to learn specific practices for undoing your own internalized patriarchal conditioning.
You’ll work with a group of other men+ in a structured way to break down some of the biggest stumbling blocks for people trying unlearn their patriarchal habits. Utilizing lecture, discussion, and experiential learning, it’s one part academic class, one part support group, and one part daily-life crash course in undoing deep-seated patriarchal conditioning.
The course will cover communication, intimacy, leadership, nurturance, vulnerability, consent, and criticism, among other things. Undoing Patriarchy is intended as a continuing exploration of these topics, not an end point or a merit badge.
How does it work?
We meet every week for 2 hours. We alternate every other week between lecture sessions and discussion sessions. Each lecture session will introduce one tenet of patriarchal conditioning, establish what it looks like when it’s showing up in a harmful way, and explore how we might shift it towards healthier alternatives. You’ll get homework assignments to explore in real life through writing, conversation and real-life application. There will be time for Q+A.
Discussion sessions are dedicated to conversation and reflection on the previous week’s topic. These sessions are intended to deepen relationships and build connections that will hopefully extend beyond the length of the course. We’ll share our experiences and struggles, and give and receive support.
Every participant also receives a one-on-one session with Bear during the course. These 50-minute sessions are intended to help us get to know one another, to create accountability, and to deepen the learning.
Who is it for?
This class is designed for men+.
What do I mean by men+? This language is meant to include interested cisgender men, transmen, assigned-male non-binary folks, and anyone else who is interested in undoing the internalized patriarchal conditioning meant to benefit them.
Because patriarchy doesn’t stand alone in the systems of oppression we live within, we’ll be addressing the ways race, class, sexuality and gender identity intersect with patriarchy. This course is open to people of all races and sexual orientations.
Who are you?
My name is Bear Hebert, and I’m a writer, life coach, artist and activist. I’ve been thinking about and working against patriarchy arguably for my whole life but certainly for the past fifteen years. I’m a white, queer, working-class, genderqueer human. (They/them pronouns for me, please.) I was born and raised in south Louisiana and I’ve lived in New Orleans since 2004. I have a background in feminist and LGBTQ activism and anti-racist cultural organizing.
Why are you teaching this?
I’m teaching this course because through my relationships with men+ I’ve dated and been friends with, I’ve seen the ways that internalized, unconscious patriarchal conditioning holds men back from intimacy, vulnerability, and connection. Patriarchy gives men+ privilege, but it strips them of their humanity as well. I’m invested in helping men+ to unlearn these unconscious patterns because I believe this work is essential for the liberation of all people.
Where is it?
There are two options!
Online via Zoom, a free video conferencing platform.
In-person in New Orleans! Location details TBA.
To clarify, you attend only the online session or the in person session, not both.
When is it?
Tuesdays from 6-8pm Central time
October 22-December 10, 2019
Mondays from 6-8pm Central time
October 21-December 9, 2019
What is the cost?
Shame-free payment plans are readily available! You’ll pay $100/month October-January. Simply use the discount code PAYMENTPLAN at checkout.
If finances are a hurdle, I encourage thinking creatively. How might you fundraise or otherwise acquire the money? Who might help you pay for this work? Who do you have in your network with access to funds?
A limited number of need-based reduced cost spots are available for folks with marginalized identities. No one turned away for lack of funds; contact me for other options at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fine print: Space is limited to 12 people/session. A minimum of 6 students required for the course to run. Payment plans are contractually binding for the full amount of the course. No refunds or exchanges for any reason. If you have accessibility needs either online or in person, please be in touch.