Orientation and Awareness Campaigns Forum – Notes

9 AMS of UBC SASC Healthier Masculinities Program


  • Target audience: students
  • Run by the UBC AMS student union as a division of the Sexual Assault Support Centre.
  • Two mandates
    • Engage men as active allies.
    • Foster communities and conversations of healthier masculinities.
  • 20 volunteers per year divided into smaller groups run monthly “Let’s Talk” discussion groups, special events (this year was a full day of workshops called “Let’s Come Together”), and outreach (this year created a bystander intervention video with real student stories).
  • One 30hr/week staff coordinator also runs “men’s circle” discussions on masculinity and mandatory workshops for every UBC fraternity member.
  • Funded by student fees–the SASC receives $9/student and Healthier Masculinities receives a portion of that funding (original initial funding was a civil forfeiture grant).
  • Best outreach among men is word of mouth.

Messaging and Branding

  • Healthier masculinities are a diverse process not a singular final product.
  • For “men and masculine-identifying people” to include masculine-leaning or male-aligned nonbinary people.
  • Do not hide the intersectional feminism! But consider when creating branding that words like feminism and patriarchy are “allergy” words for men and can lead to disengagement.
  • Program volunteers have been harassed by men’s rights activists:
    • Need to consider the current political climate when designing program materials


  • Target change at norms of masculinity to change men’s behaviour.
  • Masculinity norms = what it is to be a man and how a man must act:
    • Need to address norms of masculinity that facilitate sexual violence, not just add consent as an add-on to the patriarchy.
    • Asks men–what ideas was I raised with and how do I critically engage with and reframe them?
  • Strategies for engaging men
    • Acknowledge men’s anxieties and desire to do the right thing.
    • Directly acknowledge preconceived notions of what consent training is to defuse resistance.
    • Bystander intervention as a positive “hero” role for men.
    • Men respond to numbers and scholarly citations—need it to be “proven”
    • Good tactic to address challenging statements is “where did you learn that?”.
  • Research shows that men-only spaces are more effective in changing attitudes and intentions than mixed-gender spaces.
  • How men act is highly influenced by what they think their peers’ perception of them will be
  • But men underestimate other men’s discomfort with sexist language – this is called pluralistic ignorance
    • Teach men that you can always not laugh or ask questions even if not able to directly address a comment.