The Men’s Story Project: Promoting Healthy Masculinities via Men’s Public, Personal Narrative-Sharing

  • Tal Peretz
  • Jocelyn LehrerEmail author


The Men’s Story Project (MSP) is a scalable social and behavior change communication initiative that fosters critical reflection and dialogue about masculinities by creating public forums where men share non-fiction, personal narratives that challenge male norms and model healthy, gender-equitable masculinities. Via focus groups and in-depth interviews, this qualitative evaluation study examined impacts of the MSP for 20 MSP presenters and 31 college audience members who attended an MSP production at a public university in California in the Spring 2009 semester. Key thematic findings for MSP presenters included value placed on the men’s group experience; having their stereotypes and prejudices challenged; empowerment and healing; reinforced commitment to cease/prevent men’s violence; and expanded gender justice engagement. For audience members, key thematic findings included gaining an expanded conceptualization of masculinity; learning about intersectionality; having their stereotypes and prejudices challenged; and finding significant overall educational and social value in the MSP. The MSP’s effects on audience members were facilitated by experiences of emotion, empathy, parafriendship and role modeling elicited by the first-person narratives, and the social learning environment fostered by the collective, public experience. Directions for further international research and practice are discussed.


Masculinity Masculinities Narratives Testimonials Gender-based violence Intersectionality Role models 



This research was supported by Award Number T32MH019105 from the National Institute of Mental Health. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Mental Health or the National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest Statements

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures involved in this study, which involved human participants, were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social WorkAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Bixby Center for Global Reproductive HealthUniversity of California-San Francisco WashingtonUSA

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