Saturday, April 10, 2010

Men's Antifeminism and the Woe-Is-Me(n) EMBARASSMENT of "Male Studies"!

 [image of "Male Studies" is from here]

Okay, so "Male Studies" now no longer means what you see above. Oh, no. 

Hey, I'm no prude. I'm all for the  artistic representation of the adult nude human form: male, female, trans, or intersex. Actually, given how the female form is so exploited and overdrawn already--disproportionately by white het men, let's make it policy that white het male artists can ONLY draw the adult male form from now on! 

I'm sorry to say, THAT sort of sketching is not the "male studies" that's NEW on the academic or social scene. The NEW "Male Studies" is far more sketchy indeed.

What follows next is from *here*.

Thank you, Molly. For just saying it like it is: "Male Studies" is a pathetic woe-is-me(n) embarassment! What, do they sit around and stare at their dicks? What is it about "males" that needs such study? Enough with the studying. How's about men start STOPPING MEN'S atrocities against WOMEN!! Read on people, if you wish. It's just too absurd to believe what "males" are up to now. If this doesn't demonstrate that privileged white het men have WAAAAY too much time on their hands, when their hands aren't occupied either punching out their wives and/or girlfriends, strangling women in prostitution, holding down the girls they assault inside and outside their own families, taking photographs illegally of women and girls they are violating visually, or just wanking off to internet pornography for the 100th hour that week, then I don't know what!

The misguided, embarrassing war against feminism rages on



[via Broadsheet*]

There’s something that makes me really uncomfortable about people who get nervous and defensive about feminism.  It’s embarrassing in its unwarrantedness, the same way its embarrassing when people are violently homophobic.  To disagree is one thing, but to wage a war against something as tolerant as feminism with such vehemence just screams insecurity.  The same way that people who wage wars against homosexuals are often insecure about their own sexuality.

That’s how I felt when I learned about the group of intellectuals (?) who came together to finally fight back against the faceless, all-powerful monster known as feminism– which, I guess, was getting too big for its lady-britches and needed to be taken down a peg.  As described in an article in Inside HigherEd, these “scholars of boys and men” decided to fight back by creating a discipline called Male Studies.  Tracy Clark-Flory provides an excellent explanation of men’s studies, which already exists, which is I guess too pansy and feminism-loving for the “scholars of boys and men.”  So they created male studies, with the explicit purpose of excluding existing feminist and gender theory.  Feminism, as described by ManBoy scholar Lionel Tiger (roar!), is:
“a well-meaning, highly successful, very colorful denigration of maleness as a force, as a phenomenon.”
I am so tired of people’s willful misunderstanding of feminism as a war against men.  I’ve written about this before, and Chloe Angyal has a wonderful piece in the Guardian that talks about the systematic misrepresentation of feminist ideals and the resulting reluctance of young women to identify as an f-word.  And while, thankfully, gender equality has improved over the years, to call the feminist movement “highly successful” is a misrepresentation, given the powerful stigma against it that still remains strong.  And to call it a “denigration of maleness” is just willfully and demonstrably false.

In addition to seeing women’s studies as an “institutionalization of misandry,” the Motherboy scholars also believe that the whole power thing long associated with maleness and masculinity isn’t fair.
“today’s discourse on individual men is not a discourse of power — men do not feel powerful in today’s society.”
Fair enough.  But how is it logical to then, in turn, attack a movement whose aim is to empower all individuals, regardless of gender, race, class, sexuality, or ability?  Again, there seems to be a lot of willful misunderstanding here:
Primary and secondary schools, as well as higher education, have been so heavily influenced by feminism, Tiger said, “that the academic lives of males are systematically discriminated against.”
I don’t know what primary and secondary schools these Boyz II Men went to, but I wish I had known about them when I was a child.  I cannot recall hearing the word “feminism” used in a non-derogatory way ONCE until I went to college.  And again, I can’t emphasize this enough: feminism is not about disempowering males.

To talk about the changing roles and representations of maleness in society is an important discussion to have.  But these BoyMan scholars are so obviously threatened by women that they feel the need to create their own discipline, rather than to operate in the tolerant, already existant institution of men’s studies, just because those men’s studies pussies don’t exist in an exclusive dichotomy against women’s studies.
The final paragraph of the Inside HigherEd article is hilarious:
Edward Stevens, chair of the On Step Institute for Mental Health Research, said he wants to see male studies search for ways to improve male academic performance. “What are the ethical concerns of devoting 90 percent of resources to one gender?” he asked (though without explaining exactly what he meant).  “What are the unintended consequences of the failure of our academic institutions to consider the 21st century needs of males?” (emphasis added)
I’m not even going to go into an explanation of how, historically, the “needs of males” have been the default needs of everyone, and that much of education is already male studies due to the, you know, historic and institutionalized marginalization of women. I don’t want to be a ball buster or anything.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, all this talk about the “scholars of boys and men” has left me with a powerful urge to watch the Arrested Development episode “Motherboy XXX,” or listen to some Boys II Men songs, or maybe that Beyonce song “If I were a boy.”  And if I were a boy, I hope I would be happy to have women’s studies and men’s studies and a tolerant, interdisciplinary system of talking about gender and difference, without feeling the need to wave my dick around and make my own No-Girls-Allowed club.

*          *          *

What follows is the original piece from Broadsheet @ Salon.com, linked to at the beginning of the last article.

Watch out women's studies, here comes male studies

Not to be confused with men's studies, this new academic discipline is determined to take down feminism


iStockphoto
This week, a group of scholars gathered at a conference to plan for a new academic discipline: male studies. Women have women's studies, and now men will have men's studies -- fair enough, right? Only, men's studies already exists; it has for some 30 years. This male studies movement is an entirely different beast, and one that is not particularly fond of feminist theory.

Inside Higher Ed reports that the discipline will be dedicated to "exploring the triumphs and struggles of the XY-chromosomed of the human race -- without needing to contextualize their ideas as being one half of a male-female binary or an offshoot of feminist theory." Paul Nathanson, a religious studies researcher at McGill University, tells Higher Ed that "the institutionalization of misandry" is "being generated by feminists," although he generously adds, "not all feminists." Lionel Tiger, an anthropology professor at Rutgers University and the chair of the men's studies symposium, calls feminism "a well-meaning, highly successful, very colorful denigration of maleness as a force, as a phenomenon."

From this perspective, feminism is the mortal enemy of maleness; like Tom and Jerry, these things are driven by a desire for the other's destruction. Here the difference between male studies and men's studies becomes clear: Men's studies, like women's studies, is an offshoot of gender studies. It's influenced by feminism but is grounded in a critical exploration of the social and biological differences between men and women. Male studies claims to do the same thing, only its proponents have a stated vendetta against feminism.

Inevitably, men's studies will be confused with its new confrontational and divisive counterpart, which is awfully sad. I remember wishing my college women's studies courses would talk more about men, which is to say that I wished for the broader perspective that men's studies embraces. Now male studies has arrived on the scene to turn this into yet another battle between the sexes. Grab your armor, because this one's gonna be bloody.



4 comments:

JENNIFER DREW said...

Male studies???? Fact is male studies have existed for centuries and it was/is called 'the study of man kind. Note the word 'mankind' not humankind or womankind but 'mankind.' The so-called arrival of 'male studies' is not a new discipline, rather it is more of the same male supremacist/male domination propaganda.

Once upon a time it was believed the only beings defined as 'human, worthy of study and much pompous discussion and dialogue was male/man/men. Women however were not viewed by these menkind as human because they were defined as inferior/defective/not male. So, whenever menkind engaged in chatter/dialogue/debate concerning those peculiar defective beings 'women' they always defined woman/women as in relation to the only group defined as 'human' ergo the white male.

Tracy Clark Flory is incorrect - women's studies was created first as a disclipline not Gender Studies.

In the late 20th century Women's Studies was created to enable female students and women learn how they as a group have always been subsumed and controlled by men - because women as I said above are not 'human.'

Horrors - this couldn't be allowed, so 'gender studies' was created in order to appease men and make the false claim 'gender' is the real issue and 'gender' alone is supposedly responsible for men's domination over women, rather analysing how male power operates and how patriarchy is a system created and defined by men in order to dominate and oppress the other half of the human race - women. Then 'men's studies' was created, because women's studies was not sufficient without studying men from the feminist perspective.

Now, we have 'male studies' - not a new discpline but a very, very old one and yes it can be traced back to the innumerable 'panics' concerning men supposedly in danger of extinction; masculinity becoming effeminised; women taking over the world.

Patriarchy is not noted for being rational and logical despite claims men are supposedly innately rational and subjective. Says who? Why male supremacists of course. Which is why we have these MRAS claiming 'Male Studies' is a new discipline. Feminists are not fooled that easily.

Gioia said...

thanks for your blog, brother.. I put it in my blogroll
; )

Julian Real said...

If "Male Studies" truly attempts to take up any space at all in academic instituations, and the white het class-privileged men who propose it aren't laughed off campuses--or kicked to the curbside, well, this is a new day in academic support of male supremacist mind-fucking.

And I surely hope that day never arrives.

And thanks for noting that about Women's Studies coming first. "Gender Studies" has been one of several disciplines to erode funding from what were once quite radical Women's Studies programs. Alas... now we have to study "gender" and "men" too. And now... males??? Did anyone ask if the study of males is going to be limited to homo sapiens. If male studies come to pass, surely someone ought to organise to get it to include males of ALL species! (Or, um, isn't it being utterly speciesist?)

Julian Real said...

Gioia,

Prego! Sei molto gentile.

ho bisogno di fare pratica con il mio italiano

Visit here any time, per favore.

Ciao!