University of Texas posters tell male students it’s OK to wear dresses, embrace ‘fluid’ masculinity

University of Texas posters tell male students it’s OK to wear dresses, embrace ‘fluid’ masculinity
MasculinUT is a University of Texas at Austin program that seeks to redefine what it means to be a man. (Image sources: UT Austin)

The University of Texas at Austin’s Counseling and Mental Health Center claims it wants to help male students redefine gender identity and develop a “healthier” sense of masculinity.

In an attempt to transform ideas about what it means to be a man, the center has rolled out a new series of posters through its MasculinUT program. The posters promote, among other things, being a man and wearing nail polish, dresses and makeup. One poster suggests men should wear flowers in their beards.

What is it promoting?

Some examples of captions on MasculinUT posters include:

  • “I don’t identify as masculine, it’s just imposed on my body. One way I embrace my femininity is by wearing make-up and doing my nails.”
  • “Even though I’m masculine, I can wear makeup, and if I feel like wearing a dress, I can do that too and it’s totally fine.”
  • “Something I’ve fallen in love with about being queer is that it’s you. You can be vulnerable. You don’t have to feel invalid in feeling strong or confident or feminine. It’s much more fluid to me than any one picture of masculinity.”
  • “There’s this recent trend that’s been going on on Twitter called “care-free black boy aesthetic, where men who are traditionally masculine have flowers in their beard or something. I’m glad that they’re trying to expand what masculinity looks like, but I wish it went further than that.”

Although preventing violence is a just cause, the campaign clearly promotes an LGBT agenda at a time when Christians are being punished for leading school students in prayer or for wearing a t-shirt with the words “just pray.”

Other examples include an image of a male nurse saying he feels love and compassion for patients, and a man saying he learned how to define masculinity by supporting his sister instead of being someone who would tear her down.

What are the program’s stated goals?

The website states its goals are to “promote healthy models of masculinities to prevent interpersonal, relationship, and sexual violence on campus. At the same time, this program was created as a resource and support for students who want to learn more about their masculine gender identities, including students traditionally understood as male, as well as female, transgender, genderqueer, and non-binary students who embody a diversity of masculinities.”

According to the program’s teachings, men suffer when they are told to “act like a man” or be “successful” or a breadwinner.

The university says it accepts feedback about the program by writing to: voicesagainstviolence@austin.utexas.edu