Masculinity State

Posted in Uncategorized on November 3rd, 2010 by bl1y

The fem-nets have been all a-buzz lately about three Syracuse grad students who have launched a site called MasculinityU.

MasculinityU is a new national initiative geared toward engaging young men in redefining masculinity and encouraging them in taking an equal role in ending gender violence.

Here is a list of the topics they say they will discuss:

  • Gender Violence
  • Sexual Assault
  • Rape
  • Relationship Violence
  • Redefining Masculinity & Gender Roles
  • Peer Pressure
  • Help-Seeking/Depression Isn’t Masculine
  • Holding Men Accountable
  • Violence in Popular Culture
  • Capitalism and Media’s Influence on Rape Culture
  • LGBTIQ issues
  • Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard. In high school, college or workplace.
  • Intersectionality

MasculinityU has taken the question “What should it mean to be a man?” and answered that it should be defining yourself first and foremost by violence and sexism towards women, and to a lesser extent being namby pamby girly men, if that’s what you want.

WHAT?!

Yes, violence towards women is bad. Rape is bad. Beating the shit out of kids for being gay is bad. But, these are not the issues that are at the core of masculinity, nor should they be.  This is not a redefining of masculinity, or a reconstruction of it.  This is the deconstruction of masculinity as its own concept, and converting it into nothing more than another shiny bauble in the Gender Studies trophy case. (In fact, two of the creators are pursuing advanced degrees in gender studies. The third has a degree in psych and child family studies.)

It would be perfectly fine for these three men to create a website aimed at fighting violence against women.  But, it’s pretty damn insulting to start an organization designed towards defining masculinity in terms of violent crime, sexism and homophobia, even if the purported purpose is to then fight that definition.

Of course, it would be even better to fight violence against all people, especially since women are only one third of violent crime victims, and about a fifth of murder victims. [Source]  But, crimes against women count more than crimes against men because… you know, we value them more I guess. [Source]

Now, it would be pretty weak for me to criticize what MasculinityU thinks is the core element of masculinity without providing a different choice.  I haven’t thought long enough on this to say I’m 100% satisfied with my answer.  Odds are there is something that’s even more to the point, but this is good enough for right now, and certainly more important to masculinity than this MasculinityU shite:

Craftsmanship.

At our core, men have an innate desire to build things (and to a lesser extent, maintain and repair them).  What do we like to build?  Anything. If it takes skill and can be improved through time and effort, men will build it.  We build buildings, cars, spaceships, art, literature, mathematics, electronics, barbecue pits, cheeseburgers, whiskeys, SEC championship football teams, farms, factories, tools, universities, medicines, roads, walls, ditches, armies, governments, and civilizations, and after that, we build monuments to all the shit we built and the fine men who made them.

Of course, being a man is about a lot more than just this.  It’s also about honor, and courage, and sucking the marrow out of the bones of life.  It’s about standing up to the evils in the world, but also about knowing life is meant to be enjoyed, and that means making time for Manhattans, Mario Kart, football, and fucking.

So, why do the creators of MasculinityU have such a myopic view of what it means to be a man?  Probably because that’s the exact same view that’s held by feminist academia, and these three young men aren’t just advocates, they’re looking to make a buck at letting women of the ivory tower hear their views repeated back to them from someone with an Adam’s Apple.  That’s right, MasculinityU isn’t just an advocacy group, they are professional gender studies speakers.

And on that note, I leave you with this, Penn and Teller’s Bullshit episode where they discuss college and the crushing wave of political correctness.  Make sure you watch the part with the cultural auditor.  Also, at the end the kinda ditzy girl says pretty much the most intelligent thing about diversity ever.

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