Individuals at the University of Regina are being asked to confess their sins.
But not in the traditional religious sense.
Instead, a Masculinity Confession Booth has been sporadically set up on campus lately, as both men and women are being challenged to openly discuss hypermasculinity.
“Telling boys to ‘man-up’ or telling guys that they shouldn’t cry or calling them names that might be associated with something feminine as an insult,” described Roz Kelsey, a professor on campus and also the chair of the Man Up Against Violence movement, which oversees the booth initiative.
“There are these underlying currents of things that we do and accept as normal that need to be challenged.”
She called the booth a safe space where people can publicly or anonymously reveal examples of hypermasculinity they have encountered or have been a part of themselves. Kelsey said they wanted to do something different that would catch people’s attention.
“One of the toughest things is to get people talking about it,” she said.
While it’s no secret women have always been dictated to about what it means to be a woman, Kelsey continued, she said men have never been asked openly and consistently what it means to be a man. For many, she said you simply just assume you know.
That’s why Kelsey and her team what to discuss this issue, so that this type of behaviour can be identified and changed.
While the booth isn’t a permanent fixture on campus, Kelsey said if there is enough student interest they’ll set it up again in the future and may even look at extending the initiative online so those both on and off campus can weigh in.