Mariposa Men’s

         Wellness Institute



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The primary mission of our organization is “to promote men’s emotional training through education and training.” In stating this, we are making a distinction between the physical and the emotional, in that our mission is to promote aspects of maleness that relate to feelings, such as men’s access to their deeper yearnings, joy, pain, grief, and the whole spectrum of possible human emotions. We are not as concerned about physical health, such as aspects of prostate cancer or disease prevention, not because we don’t care about those issues, but rather because other organizations handle those issues much better and there is no need to replicate such efforts.

Our perspective is that the traditional cultural construct that defines “manhood” is excessively constricting and straitjacketed. One one hand, many of the inferred and overt requirements of the patriarchy demand of men (and women) a kind of behavioral pattern which restricts their ability to express the full range of their humanity.  In particular, for men it requires that they suppress or ‘stuff’ their feelings -- or even an intimate knowledge of having feelings -- in pursuit of a brand of manhood which glorifies in not doing anything that could possibly be interpreted as ‘feminine’, as though that were negative. It is a kind of manhood which is predicated upon a “man = one up, woman = one down” model of sexism. It requires that men strive to create a dichotomous world where being a man is radically different than being a woman. We don’t feel that that is a very healthy model of manhood and will be discussing that, along with alternatives and proposed solutions, in more on this website, in our programs, and on our organizational blog.

On the other hand, because of the inferred and overt requirement that men in our culture ‘not feel’ or that the only feeling that is allowable is anger, males in American culture are often socialized to reject sensitive or caring feelings both for others and concerning themselves. When they do feel pain or grief in their lives, they ‘stuff’ those feelings. When they feel angst or anxiety about a social interaction, they sometimes express that discomfort by making the world around them even more negative by acting out in an angry or hurtful manner. Obviously, this stereotype does not apply to all males or the way in which males always express discomfort, but it would be ridiculous to ignore the profound amount of male rage and violence expressed in our society (and around the world) as at least a partial result of the inability of males to express their feelings or a ‘knee-jerk socialized pattern’ of expressing their discomfort with angry outbursts. We, as an organization, plan to address male violence at the same time that we are addressing healthier ways to express feelings.

Additionally, male sexual trauma (males who have are being or have been sexually traumatized as either children or adults) is far more widespread than our society is willing to admit. Given even the conservative estimates about sexual abuse, that 1 out of every 5 girls and 1 out of every 7 boys “have been or are being sexually abused”, that translates into approximately 25 - 28 million females and 20 - 24 million males who are sexual trauma survivors. Yet, while there is a widespread societal acknowledgement of female sexual trauma, there is an almost equal societal ignorance (and even chosen blindness) about the extent of male sexual trauma. There are many articles in periodicals about males as sexual perpetrators, but few articles about the frightful number of males who are victims of sexual trauma, perpetrated upon them by both other males (fathers, siblings, strangers, partners, etc.) and females (mothers, babysitters, partners, etc.). It is our contention that at least part of the reason for this cultural ignorance is the restrictive nature of the cultural construct of ‘manhood’, which demands that men never admit to being victims, at the cultural penalty of ‘not therefore being seen as men.’ Yet, in many cases, this victimization occurred in infancy, when as children they were totally dependent upon others -- no less than the dependency of female children.

For now, we want to note that we will be addressing those issues on this website and in our programs. There are many other issues as well (noted on the Homepage) that we will discuss at length on this forum and in presentations to the public about issues that affect males, in both positive and negative ways. We encourage our readers to return periodically to this forum, read our entries, and feel free to comment on the information. Together, we hope to assist in the manifestation of a world where both women and men are fully functioning human beings with complete access to the full range of their feelings and the expression of those feelings.

Mariposa Men’s Wellness Institute was founded in 2001

to help men become emotionally healthy.

Our Mission