Just when we think College Campuses couldn’t get any sillier we learn that others have apparently accepted that as a challenge.
The bastard cousin of “White Privilege” appears to be “Toxic Masculinity.” Whereas the first pejorative chides people over the sin of being born white, the second aims it venom at those with the temerity of having an “XY” chromosomal structure.
At the University of Oregon students are invited to attend a “healthy masculinities conference.” According to their flyer, the he-men will “engage in collective imagining to construct new futures for masculinities, unrestricted by power, privilege, and oppression.” After all, who wants to be restricted by power and privilege? And how many times have I been unduly oppressed for being able to read a road map!
It gets better. The organizers promise the conference will explain “the histories and legacies of Eurocentric masculinities and how they influenced and continue to shape modern global masculinities.” Indeed it should be interesting to find out how my paternal ancestors who cut down trees and brewed beer in northwestern Germany passed on to me a penchant for leaving the toilet seat up.
There’s more. Ithaca College will host a workshop on “masculinity and violence” during its MLK Week celebrations, where students will “examine hegemonic masculinity and its role as the wheel that rotates a cycle of violence” while empowering “willing individuals to begin to recognize, acknowledge, own, and disrupt the toxicity of manhood in order to end violence.” This is word salad, sprinkled with steroids. This is a classic example of using a hypothesis (all violence stems from masculinity), and using that to form a false conclusion (if men would stop acting like men there would be no violence.) A High School sophomore on the debate team would be dismissed for using this kind of reasoning.
Closer to home, at Duke University, they’re looking for applicants for their “Men’s Project.” Its billed as a “nine-week long discussion group” that will “examine the ways we present—or don’t present—our masculinities, so we can better understand how masculinity exists on our campus—often in toxic ways—and begin the work of unlearning violence.” This is the same campus that denigrated an entire lacrosse team 12 years ago for allegedly engaging in gang rape. They didn’t; but the same hysteria that fuels this anti-masculinity sentiment was a prime factor in smearing two-dozen innocent men. You would think they had learned their lesson. But maintaining The Narrative® doesn’t allow for introspection or correction.
But the Dukies aren’t content to stop there. The course description further reads, “Duke is an environment where some are rarely made uncomfortable while others are made to bear the weight of their identities on a daily basis—we aim to flip that paradigm.” So, if you’ve felt comfortable in your skin all your life, we’ll change that. We will make you UNcomfortable. All under the rubric of “fairness,” of course.
It is also worth noting that the Duke effort is overseen by the school’s Women’s Center. Yes…men LOVE it when women tell them how to behave…almost as much as liberal women enjoy having something “mansplained” to them.
At Brown University…an Ivy League school that you probably cannot afford…their “B Well” center hosts weekly “Masculinity 101” workshops for “students who identify as men.” The premise is that “men will often resort to violence to resolve conflict because anger is the only emotion that they have been socialized to express.”
“BWell is investing in creating safe spaces for men to unpack all of the things they have learned about masculinity and what it means to be a man. The goal is to help those socialized as men to unlearn some of the notions that have led to such profound harm being enacted towards others and towards themselves.”
This is the same mindset employed by those who automatically assume men are guilty whenever he is accused of sexual misconduct. It is the same mindset that insists we bypass certain legal protections for the accused. It is an evil mindset.
The good news is that if you are worried that you have “Toxic Masculinity,” you don’t. Teaching men that the core of their identity is rotten is not going to solve a thing. In fact, I would say Toxic ANTI-masculinity is even worse. Working from the assumption that men are primal beasts who are raping and pillaging everything in sight is not a healthy viewpoint. It turns you into a useless screeching harpy. It turns you into someone willing to suspend due process and the presumption of innocence. Worse yet, we ignore you—which pisses you off to no end.
REAL gender equality accepts and uplifts traits we associate with masculinity and femininity—while accepting variants. Real gender equality does not rely on tearing one set of traits down and making those who possess those traits feel ashamed about it. We would not tolerate a study on “Toxic Femininity,” so we should not tolerate the opposite either.
I am going to close with a picture of me that reeks of Toxic Masculinity. I’m posing here after a workout where I lifted a lot of weights and produced many guttural sounds. I am posing with a growler full of 9.8% ABV ale. After the picture was taken, I consumed the ale while watching sporting events where masculine men were beating the hell out of one another. After that, I smoked a large Honduran cigar and likely belched and farted a time or two. And my wife was totally cool with it. I feel better just thinking about it.