The Sexist

“Men’s Studies” Too Feminist For You? Meet “Male Studies”

Today in Inside Higher Ed, Jennifer Epstein profiles the newest academic discipline to emerge in the field of gender studies:  "Male Studies."

Male Studies made its official debut this Wednesday, when a symposium was held at New York's Wagner College to announce the formation of the Foundation for Male Studies. While the new discipline received the support of academics like Rutgers University anthropology professor Lionel Tiger and McGill University religious researcher Paul Nathanson, one contingent of scholars met the news with suspicion: Those working in the very much already existing discipline of Men's Studies.

So, what's the difference between "Male Studies" and "Men's Studies"?

According to Tiger, Male Studies emerged “from the notion that male and female organisms really are different” and the “enormous relation between . . . a person’s biology and their behavior." To the Male Studies set, "Men's Studies" has historically focused far too much on the social construction of masculinity, and not enough on the biological origins and purpose of "maleness." The Foundation for Male Studies states that its focus is on studying "the male as male":

A new academic discipline, male studies, explores the male as male, masculinity, and the lives of boys and men. This consortium brings together eminent scholars representing a range of academic disciplines, including anthropology, education, history, medicine, politics and psychology. Panelists together with teleconferencing scholars with take a fresh look at the male in history and a rapidly changing global culture. The male as male will be permitted to appear in all his complexity as new values are being forged and traditional values that have proven the test of time are affirmed. The consortium will set the stage for additional conferences and academic programs at institutions of higher learning and will support optimal conditions in which boys and men can thrive in all areas of their lives as male human beings.

But according to Robert Heasley, president of the American Men’s Studies Association, Men's Studies has already been performing the work of exploring males as males. "Men's studies came out of feminist analysis of gender, which includes biological differences," Heasley said. "[The Male Studies] argument is that they’re inventing something that I think already exists."

Perhaps the real distinction has a little something to do with that "feminist" thing. The American Men's Studies Association states that "Men’s studies includes scholarly, clinical, and activist endeavors engaging men and masculinities as social-historical-cultural constructions reflexively embedded in the material and bodily realities of men’s and women’s lives." But women's lives don't appear to be of much interest to the Male Studies set. According to Tiger, Male Studies was forged in contrast, not in concert with, feminism, which he describes as “a well-meaning, highly successful, very colorful denigration of maleness as a force, as a phenomenon.” Apparently, Male Studies was formed in order to study this phenomenon without the distraction of also occasionally thinking about women. So now, we need two separate disciplines devoted to studying men, because the first one just wasn't devoted enough.

Comments

  1. #1

    Maybe there is something to all this, because I feel this strong, some might say primal, male urge to punch Lionel Tiger in the neck.

  2. Amber from Atlanta
    #2

    I am a member of the American Men's Studies Association and honestly this new "Male Studies" is just funny. How do they justify wanting to study "males" in a vacuum? Do they know of some social, political, or "biological", experience that is void of the presence and/or influence of the female gender that no one else knows of?

    I would highly question the "eminent scholars" that would ever make such a claim.

    We live in a society that has gender diversity and every single one of us are shaped and influenced by this fact. Even If they had a new argument I am sure it would still fall under the work and mission of "Men's Studies".

    I can see the conference title now "Every Man is an Island: Male Studies and the Essentialization of every single man....ever"

  3. #3

    You guys need to learn more before you try to cover this subject.

    AMSA is a "men's" studies group. They aren't really scholarly in their approach. They are feminist activists, which is exactly what the panel on male studies was pointing to as the problem.

    All you have succeed in doing here is further conflating the issues, which I have to assume, given the leanings of your publication, was your intent.

  4. #4

    this is ridiculous

  5. #5

    Because, of course, in gender studies we only study the male insofar as it is not male, but it's never occured to us to study the male qua male. Whatever were we thinking?

    On a slightly more serious note, it's pretty amusing that these guys imagine anthropology and psychology to be fields where the social construction of masculinity is irrelevant and through which they can really capture the pure essence of maleness in order to admire and celebrate it in all its glory without the denigrating influence of ladythoughts.

  6. #6

    "a fresh look at the male in history"?

    You mean the majority of written history, which predominantly features MEN?

  7. #7

    "Academics" creating a discipline in order to enforce masculinity? That's just great.
    I also like how they talk about the "diversity" of maleness, when it sounds like they're splintering off from men's studies because the men's studies people's conception of maleness was too diverse. Acknowledge the diversity of men as long as you deny that men who aren't MANLY exist, or at least that they should exist!

  8. Amber from Atlanta
    #8

    Dear Paul,

    The Men"s Studies conference was just a few weeks ago. Like most disciplines there are advocates for this and that but it was mostly an academic conference. I am an academic and I attended sessions with papers and research and all that good stuff that scholars like to talk about. No confusion here.

  9. #9

    @Stegan, I have a similar female urge. That urge was inflamed I heard him on intelligence squared talking about the sex trade.

    This sounds like someone turned the "Men are dogs; thats just how they are" paradigm into a discipline to legitimize men acting like dogs.

  10. #10

    I agree with Mr Elam. If we want all things to be equal and we feel it is appropriate to have Women's Studies Classes then I believe it would be remiss to not also hold Men's Studies (or female/male studies depending upon the school and instructors).

    The argument that all history/sociology/anthropology could be classified as "men's studies" etc is not entirely valid because those fields are not intended to study the conceptions of masculinity or the biology of maleness. Women are grossly under represented in traditional history courses, sure, but that is not because we're so busy deconstructing gender norms of men/males.

    What's good for the goose is good for the gander and vice versa. Isn't that what equality means?

  11. pipi long stockings
    #11

    It's not that focusing on biological maleness is inherently a bad thing, but a whole class dedicated to, "men do this because it is in their nature" could very quickly become a very sexist and inaccurate class. I find it hard to believe there isn't some agenda behind this program. The "men and women are inherently different" argument has been used one too many times to support sexist gender norms for me to really trust them.

  12. #12

    Alex, no one is debating the validity of Men's studies. Its existed for a long time, and is actually a pretty crucial element in women's studies as well ("gender studies"). Male's studies suggests, from its douche bag founders' description, that its going to study maleness, sans social constructs, in which case it seems as if they want to validate the long standing belief of douche bags that they get to act like douche bags because their DNA tells them too.

  13. #13

    The dispute over names seems more like a power play between different academic groups than anything else.

    Also, from just the light reading it seems like I would like support the Men's Studies faction, especially considering the also study difference.

    One concern I think comments in this post bring up is the idea that biological difference is not an important area of study. I know in my gender studies classes, this was given almost no coverage.

    I think people confuse this concept of difference by claiming that its trying to justify oppression or more colorfully men's way of justifying being douche bags. The reality however is that there are some generalizable differences, some of which have to do with biology, between males and females. If there weren't then we wouldn't have those categories or feminism.

  14. pipi long stockings
    #14

    of course there are biological differences, but it's pretty difficult to separate those behaviors entirely into "nurture" and "nature". I think most behaviors are a mixture of both.

    that's why quotes like “enormous relation between . . . a person’s biology and their behavior.” is very tricky.

    There are so many bogus studies claiming that women are bad at math, like pink, like dolls, etc... because it's "in their nature"

  15. #15

    It seems to me that there is one central misunderstandings behind this development: Biology - as a discipline - is not in itself void of socio-cultural influences. Our "biological" knowledge is inevitably shaped by the assumptions that prompt our research questions and condition our interpretations of scientific result. In this respect, and as discussed by the eminent German historian Gisela Bock, sex and gender (as categories) are not unrelated. However, sex (as defined by science) must also be viewed as a socio-cultural construction. Every society constructs "biological truths" about maleness and femaleness, but when these "truths" are developed, the scientists are active interpretetors of otherwise "mute facts". Without the scientist's interpretation, biology is mute and, as a result, our (: humans') beliefs, assumptions, etc. greatly condition what we define as "biological facts". We would be very arrogant if we believe that modern science has successfully freed itself from the inclination to pass "biological value judgments" when mute scientific facts are turned into interpretations.

    This said, I do not entirely reject that there indeed are differences between males and females that may condition our behavior. Yet, when we try to identify these, we must be as humble and sensitive as we would be when examining masculinity and femininity as socio-cultural categories.

  16. #16

    Megan: the majority of history doesn't just feature men, it features a particular kind of men and a particular approach to them... generally fairly heavily centered on the influential ones.

  17. #17

    The Men's Studies field is not just activism, it includes talented scholars such as Michael Kimmel who are doing great work on exploring masculinity from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

    I agree with the author of the post; male studies seems to be opposed to that, and most of the "scholars" they have lined up have written some very dangerous, misleading work. Paul Elam (a commenter above), for instance, regularly posts on a website I won't dignify by linking to with articles attacking anything related to feminism, women's equality, and any kind of critical examination of masculinity. They are trying to take the scholarship backward and reinforce essentialist myths of "maleness" that limit and I would say are degrading and harmful to both men and women. This Male Studies stuff is just another level of the backlash.

  18. #18

    And I'd all like to thank "Dude" for illustrating the kind of dazzling insight will surely feature at the next male studies conference. Nothing hateful, bitter or misogynistic about him at all...

  19. Amber from Atlanta
    #19

    Great points Gender Nerd and JD.

    I would just like to point out that Dude illustrated a lot of what everyone who has criticized "Male Studies" have said. Men's studies absolutely analyzes and discusses so-called "double standards" regarding violence between men and women. Yes, Men's Studies is related to Women's Studies because of an analysis of gender, social constructions, etc, but does not sacrifice addressing real issues that males face because of it. It is stupid to assume that anything related to feminism automatically means discounting male experiences within gender and society.

    And no, treating men and women (and any subordinate minority) EXACTLY the same is not what equality is about...at least not right now or anytime in the near future. This is not to deny the experience of gender oppression of males but simply realizing that males experience oppression differently. Sex-blindness, color-blindness, and any way of not seeing oppression does not mean it does not exist and does nothing to keep it from existing.

    But I digress...

    Biology is socially constructed and people pretend it is objective. There are no hard and fast rules for masculinity vs. femininity. Male Studies is stupid.

  20. #20

    But according to Robert Heasley, president of the American Men’s Studies Association, Men’s Studies has already been performing the work of exploring males as males. “Men’s studies came out of feminist analysis of gender, which includes biological differences,” Heasley said. “[The Male Studies] argument is that they’re inventing something that I think already exists.”
    Yes because the only valid analisys of gender if a feminist analisys right?

    From what I've seen so far those complaining about male seem to think that "feminism has done that already". Seeing as feminism is about giving voice to people who really didn't have a voice before is it really that hard to think that just maybe there are "othered" voices out there that they have not already covered?

  21. #21

    The kind of "male studies" they're talking about appears to center a particular sort of male: cis, white, heterosexual, aged 18-50, middle-class, conforming to gender roles, socially and culturally conservative. Occasionally other men get mentioned in this sort of narrative, but typically it's to co-opt their experiences for the benefit of the aforementioned group (e.g., black men's experiences with law enforcement, boys' experiences with education) without actually giving them a voice.

    The issues they focus on are the ones that they see as being in their direct interest: in all cases their approach is more akin to a lobbying group than an academic field, because in each case it seems to come down to "what's in the immediate interest of normative white guys?" I've never seen these folks complain about benevolent sexism directed at men, or about gender policing that harms non-normative men.

  22. #22

    jfpbookworm: Wouldn't surprise me. From what I can tell, women's studies is much the same, except that it centers women who are: cis, white, either heterosexual or lesbian depending on the program (but not generally both), aged 18-50, middle-class, conforming to somewhat different but no less arbitrary gender roles, socially and culturally liberal.

  23. #23

    Yeah, Dude, because there's absolutely no critical analysis of gender in women's studies, and certainly no disagreement among feminists. It's all about passing laws to promote women at men's expense.

    But if thinking you got a zing in makes your day, bless your heart.

  24. #24

    Dude,

    Thanks for mansplaining all this to me without actually reading or appearing to comprehend my comment. So very, um, manly* of you.

    *My apologies to the many men out there who are actually capable of reading/listening to a woman's comment before dismissing it and mansplaining to her why she's so veryveryvery wrong.

  25. #25

    makomk: While there are valid criticisms that feminism has historically privileged, and continues to privilege, the experiences of white middle-class women, it is much easier to find criticism of that and feminisms that are much more acknowledging of intersectionality and the need to

    I've never seen an MRA that's willing to accept that men who don't fit the norm of the middle-aged straight white guy (especially gay or trans men) have just as much claim to masculinity as that normative guy, and that the validity of their concerns doesn't depend on whether those concerns are shared by middle-aged straight white guys.

  26. #26

    Is this about men...or is it about discrediting feminism?
    Studying men and masculinity is a great idea. "Proving" women aren't equal to men, is not.

  27. #27

    I know its intimidates you ladies that men actually "gasp" might have their own studies like women have theirs maybe their will be feminist bashing in the male studies program(I hope their is) but I doubt its going to bash half the population like womens studies does.

    You love flinging around the misogynists(the feminists favorite word) yea and you feminists are all the same(man haters) maybe your too blind to see how ignorant and hateful you are but if you bit####(feminsts) werent man hating harpies then their would be no need for male studies.

  28. #28

    Well, as a guy, I'm not intimidated, I'm just annoyed that the (IMO necessary) study of masculinity keeps getting co-opted by folks who would rather police it than analyze it.

  29. #29

    I being one of the founders of all things MALE feel amply qualified to answer your concerns, Amanda.
    1. Well yes we understand studying one gender in a vacuum to the exclusion of the other gender is a wrong headed measure, and certainly not the tact that Womyns ("y" my own) have taken, we feel that men, as superior beings (outlined in our Male studies charter), deserve this separate, but equal academic treatment.
    2. While some people may think that women are suitable to occupy any station a man may occupy(see Berlin, Irving 1946, Annie Get Your Gun), we have long since tired of our traditional retort, "No you can't."
    3. As all members of the group have a penis (or plural in two cases penii), we have gained intimate understanding of the station, roles, and general awesomeness that this organ has granted us.
    4. Paper titles like "Womyn get me a beer and I'll let you drivel on about a rape culture," "Why can't you make this like my mother?" and "Cooking, cleaning, and sex. The role of the modern woman in my archaic mind" were just asking to be written, but lack a credible backing organization to fund a proper journal in which to be published.
    Please direct any further questions on the above article, or the above group to Cpr127@yahoo.com with the subject heading "questions and comments on the natural order of things"

  30. #30

    @Amber from Atlanta and JD,

    The question I want to ask is, why are you so threatened by this field of study? It is well known that Men's Studies is but the poor stepchild of Womyn's Studies. It is taught by womyn. Male Studies will study males objectively, free from the homo-normative classes of Womyn's Studies. Not everything is a social construct. Males behave differently than females. We tend to be not in favor of divorce, as we know it is detrimental to the children. Women initiate 70% of all divorces. Women perpetrate 50% of all domestic violence. Women use children as pawns in family court to alienate fathers. They do it because they can, and because it is fun, in the sadistic sense. Have you ever once addressed these issues in Men's Studies?

    Wake up, Amber, JD.

  31. #31

    Anything free from the claws of feminism and feminist studies is a good thing. Afraid of counter-courses starting?

  32. #32

    Biology is socially constructed and people pretend it is objective. There are no hard and fast rules for masculinity vs. femininity. Male Studies is stupid.

    If biology is a social construct and is purely subjective, why do scientists use biology to explain the workings of other species on this planet?

    Feminism has a host of poorly conceived, illogical concepts, but the notion that one's sex is wholly unrelated to one's biology and genetics is by far one of the more inane ideas. It makes no logical or rational sense, and it completely undermines the other convoluted theory that "there are no hard and fast rules for masculinity vs. femininity." It also undermines the theory that people can be born in the wrong sex's body.

    If biology plays no role in determining one's sex, then technically there are no such thing as men or women. These classifications would be arbitrary, rendering it impossible for one to be "born" as one or the other, in the same way that one cannot be born "goth" or born "hip hop" or born "American." If that is true, then it is also impossible for a person to possess a male mind in a female body because there would be no such thing as "male" or "female" to begin with. Dressing like the "opposite" sex or having "sex reassignment surgery" would be pointless because there would be no other sex. More importantly, if one's sex is not related to a person's biology, why do people who transition between sexes take hormones associated with the opposite sex? If biology is just a social construct and is not objective, testosterone and estrogen should have no effect a person's body at all.

    The concepts of being able to adopt masculine or feminine characteristics and transitioning between sexes hinges on there actually being opposite sexes and genders, which in turn implies that they are more than just social constructs. Most people may cannot tell the gender or sex of a person with a foreign name based on that name because names are social constructs, and so certain markers in one language do not apply, exist, or mean something different in another language. However, most people can tell the gender or sex of a person by looking at them because, despite relying on certain cultural things like a person's clothing, we rely on biological markers, markers that most people who transition adopt so as to appear to be the opposite sex.

    The notion that sex, gender, and biology are just social constructs is purely subjective. Obviously, something like science may annoy feminists because it comes across like "mansplaining," but wholly denying the provable and demonstrable makes feminists look... well, stupid.

  33. #33

    Majority ofpeole are brainwashed by media companies who distort their pattern of thinking. Most people have no clue that they were manipulated by others.It is a good idea to make American men realize that they have been brainwashed to believe its their fault. Most American guys like to feel like a man by joining the army , playing violent video games, pumping muscles but they have been castrated by the media,police, legal system in every way possible. Society thinks that young American men should be domesticated.The study might get interesting results.You might have never noticed this: In America, men prey on each other while women prey on men. Women crush and domesticate men in whichever way possible.Women are the dominant sex in this country.

  34. #34

    Anonymous, you are an idiot. That said, men prey on both sexes and so do women. Hence all these "mean girls" shows out recently. And hey, there's that whole "sexual assault" thing that disproves you're little argument about men not preying at all, the poor helpless dears.
    The fact that you consider the way people interact as "preying" on each other is sort of worrying. Women aren't trying to crush or domesticate anyone, we just don't want to be the only ones having to do the dishes. Of course, to you that must mean that dishes will crush the souls of men, but not the souls of women. Ya prick.
    Women are up to staying indoors and being all bloody domestic, but if men share the burden it proves they are not dominant! Oh no!!!! Not men becoming less dominant and women leaving the home! It will crush and annihilate the poor men, who apparently have been castrated by the big bad legal system that says they can't "prey" on women without her at least having a chance to win a legal battle.
    Anonymous, you are a coward and a fool. At least have the courage to sign your name when you want to be a creep. Or are you too scared some big bad ol' feminist will come get you?

  35. #35

    Hey Scary Joann,

    "we just don’t want to be the only ones having to do the dishes"

    Well boo fucking hoo. I'm soooo sorry to hear of your troubles. You were born to do dishes you rotten little cunt. What the fuck do you do for society? What value do you add? Do you have a degree that is not from the social sciences or humanities? Lemme guess -you have a BA in Sociology. Well thank you very much for your contribution. Now go make me a sandwich.

    I guess you weren't aware of it, so I am going to remind you. Everything you see around you was designed and built by men. Everything. Your house, the electricity, plumbing -all of this is part of a sophisticated network you know nothing about. Maybe we're tired of fixing these things. Did you ever think of that? So why don't you do us all a favor: buy a gun, load it with bullets, put the barrel in your mouth and pull the fucking trigger.

    The days of we men listening to your fucking sob stories are over. Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself just what the fuck kind of a contribution do you make. If you are the typical american woman, the answer is not much. Can you cook? Can you work? Can you do these things with your mouth shut, or do you feel the need to be on your cell phone chatting with grrrlz about oppression?

    If you can't do something as simple as dishes, if you can't cook, if you are overweight slob, if you do not know how to repair an electrical problem, or a roofing problem -THEN SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH.

  36. #36

    @ Biff: "We tend to be not in favor of divorce, as we know it is detrimental to the children. Women initiate 70% of all divorces. Women perpetrate 50% of all domestic violence."

    Whoa! For reals? I'd like to see where you plowed up these bogus statistics.

  37. #37

    The field of bullshit?

  38. #38

    @Toysoldier

    Although your sentence is incomplete, I get the impression that you disagree and wish to polemicize when you write that, "The notion that sex, gender, and biology are just social constructs is purely subjective ...".

    I fully understand the need to disagree, especially because it is clear that you have not understood the ways in which biology (and other sciences) function. Few scholars/scientists would argue that science is purely subjective. Most agree that the if an experiment is well-constructed, the actual facts may indeed be objective. The problem is, that the facts do not tell us much and, when these mute facts are interpreted, it requires the active participation of humans. It is through this process of interpretation that objective facts risk being turned into subjective biological value judgments. I suggest you explore the work by Evelyn Fox Keller and Helen E. Longino in order to develop a more informed understanding of science.

    It is at once naive and arrogant to assume that the sciences have achieved objectivity. Only a non-scientist, a bad scientist, or an uninformed individual would insist on this objectivity.

  39. #39

    Few scholars/scientists would argue that science is purely subjective.

    That is true, which is likely why the vast majority of the individuals positing that biology, sex, and gender are social constructs are not scientists. The few who do make those arguments, such as Longino and Keller, are not representative of the academic and scientific communities. Likewise, those two academics are highly influenced by their political ideology, which biases the conclusions they reach.

    It is at once naive and arrogant to assume that the sciences have achieved objectivity. Only a non-scientist, a bad scientist, or an uninformed individual would insist on this objectivity.

    Then it is safe to say that you are a naive and arrogant non-scientist, bad scientist, or uninformed individual since you provided the names of two feminist academics so as to help me "develop a more informed understanding of science," a move that implies you find Longino's and Keller's opinions objective, or at least more objective than any other academic.

    Allow me then to offer you some advice: pay attention to your own arguments before you start insulting other people's intelligence.

  40. #40

    The latest issue of Scientific American actually has a rather interesting article that's relevant to the discussion. An example: "Boys and girls are different, but most psychological sex differences are not especially large. For example, gaps in verbal skills, math performance, empathy and even most types of aggression are generally much smaller than the disparity in adault height... When it comes to mental abilities, males and females overlap much more than they stand apart." The next paragraph, as well: "...few of these sex differences are as fixed, or hardwired, as popular accounts have lately portrayed."

  41. #41

    @Toysoldier,

    Please do present an argument that successfully demonstrates that science/scientific conclusions are objective.

  42. #42

    @GenderNerd,

    You can peddle that shit for a cup of coffee at a greasy spoon, but I doubt you would even get that. Science isn't objective, huh? Oh right, I forgot -"Women just know". How silly of me. Physics, chemistry, biology -it's purely a social construct, isn't it? There are no laboratories, no tests, no hypothesese.

    Here is a lesson I think you need. Listen to Richard Dawkins views on women in science. The notion that 'women just know' is met with derisive laughter, as it should. Nice try though, cupcake.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzNwjfbVt-U

  43. #43

    @GenderNerd,

    Are you drunk? Seriously, are you claiming science is subjective? Have you never heard of mathematics? Geometry? Physics? Ok, if I must tell you. There was this guy named Einstein. He came up with a theory, it kinda changed the world. Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.

    Are you suggesting that e = mc2 is not an objective fact? Are you saying that this is a sexist statement? If so, I will ignore you. You are a fucking child.

  44. #44

    Doesn't the fact that real live honest to god men are right here, on this blog, telling you that the existing "Men's Studies" classes aren't good enough tell you something?

    I don't know if this new program will be any better (or worse) but I'm willing to at least wait and see... unlike feminist bloggers apparently.

  45. #45

    If you have ideological issues with Keller and Longino's very thorough work, I would suggest that you engange wtih Bruno Latour's work.

  46. #46

    To gender nerd:

    The soul, perhaps, is a gust of gas and wrong is a form of right-- but we know that Energy equals Mass by the Square of the Speed of Light." - Morris Bishop

    And we can build bombs with it. Enough said, and enough time wasted on your "argument".

  47. #47

    "Men's studies" is a feminist invention, designed to redefine us in their terms. By contrast, male studies is instigated by men, not by pansies or male feminists, but by proper men. Which is why we are more likely to take it seriously.

    If that gets up the noses of the legions of American man-haters, who cares? Not me.

  48. #48

    Biff:

    I believe that what "gendernerd" is claiming is that all scientific interpretations of experimental results are subjective. Kind of ironic in view of the fact that we may very well live in a superdeterministic universe thus throwing all notions of subjectivity out the window : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superdeterminism

    In any csse, if there were really much of a problem with "subjectivity" in the interpretation of scientific results we'd expect to see:

    A. Less agreement then seems to be the norm about what an experiment means for a given field.
    B. Lack of follow up experiments. If a whole field merely consists of subjective interpretations then it would be impossible to know how a given experiment really "fit in" with the existing data and thus to have any idea of how to usefully add to it.
    C. Lack of applications. The fact that suspension bridges exist is an every day validation of the usefulness of calculus for example. The fact that atom bombs exists proves not only that E=mc squared is correct, but that the "interpretation" of the scientific results that Einstein took to get there was correct as well.

    None of those critiques that gendernerd linked to are particularily new or useful or very -in my opinion- insightful.

  49. #49

    Hey pussy longcock, I have more guns in my house than are in most fucking hardware stores, I can fix a toilet and the electricity AND the car. I can also do it without strutting around screaming how difficult it is to fix things. I have cooked, cleaned, fixed shit, and learned to write professionally. I contribute articles to the local paper, I'm a certified massage therapist (those count as contributions) and when my ex boyfriends toilet kept breaking I was the one who knew how to do plumbing.
    I'm twenty (no degree yet). I helped raise my sister and learned to do my mom and dads roles, and know what, good fucking thing too, because tomorrow is the first anniversary of my dads death and it's been me, not my crackhead/newly imprisoned older brother who has held shit together.
    Unlike your pussy ass who can't do a dish and will eventually die from inability to cook for yourself, I can run my own fucking life without someone there to do chores or fix shit for me.
    I don't know what you're hoping for. You don't want to do dishes, or fix things. What do you expect to contribute then? You're super rational opinions?
    I am an Average American Woman. I'm changing my oil later today then taking my dads old revolver out to let some stress out. And know what I can do? Unlike you? I can clean it. I can clean a sink, and a gun, and then fix the sink and go load my own ammo.
    At twenty years old I write, have a profession, can take care of cars, horses, and paint a house. Any examples of what you can do? Can you... lasso a calf? Help a cow give birth? Break a fucking horse? Even saddle one? Can you even load a gun alone dumbass? Fuck, I bet you couldn't even lift a fucking bail of hay.

    And while I am the one doing all this "man work" you're the one with a fucking blackberry or some shit. Go text your mom and tell her the big bad feminist made you feel small by being more capable than you, who probably has a BA in nothing, and never quite made it to college.
    See, this is your problem, you assume that someones life is going to be ruled by their goddam genitals. But in reality, the only person getting held back by their own lack of dick is you.

  50. #50

    @ScaryJoann,

    I see I was wrong about you...maybe. Well, your sisters have thoroughly destroyed the institution of marriage. *You* may be a fine individual and it sounds like you are. But the vast majority of whores that are women have killed any last remaining hope for marriage between men and women. You are still young, so here is a little school:

    When women get bored they divorce, and when they do they get everything. The house, the assets, financial support, and the kids. Women get it all. Men, on the other hand, get a one bedroom apartment.

    Male Studies was established to give men options. Millions of men cannot have a relationship with a woman under today's toxic conditions. That you feel you are being exploited by having to do dishes is incredible. You own marriage, full stop. Men have no say in matters of marriage. We are your pets. I want to repeat: in the event of a divorce, which women overwhelmingly initiate, women destroy men. Women will use their own children as ransom, to further exploit the father. You may not know this yet, but since women mature much faster than men, I think it is safe to say, you do.

    If you are a modern american woman of 20 years of age, it is safe to say that you have already had lots and lots of sex, and are already rationalizing how you can exploit a man, how to get a child out of him, and if need be, how to financially ruin him. If you haven't been thinking these things, trust me, you will very soon. All women do. You are no exception, cupcake. Please don't tell me "I'm not like that". Please.

  51. #51

    note to scary joann - The exception does not disprove the rule.

  52. #52

    Please do present an argument that successfully demonstrates that science/scientific conclusions are objective.

    I never stated that science or scientific conclusions were objective. One could infer that from my prior statement, but that would be one's assumption, not my actual position. Those who believe biology is a social construct and is subjective must present an argument that successfully demonstrates that claim. Engaging in a list of logical fallacies does not constitute an argument, although it does suggest the inability to present one.

  53. #53

    Longcock (which yours probably isn't). I never plan to get married, ever. I also never plan to have kids, ever. Neither does my boyfriend, who think's you're pathetic. Also asshat, we are both homeless and the vast majority of breadwinning comes from me, though we support each other depending on who has a job at the time.
    Also asshat, my parents got divorced and many a time I talked with my dad about laws. Women getting things is dependent on the state laws, california they might, but in Utah they get very little. There are plenty of families where men get the kids and house. In our case, mom got us because dad didn't want us... despite that he had the house. So life isn't fair to anyone, especially in divorce.

    Most importantly, you are fucking disgusting and terrifying. I sincerely wish I could meet you in person so I could pistol whip your egotistical ass. Men use kids as ransom just as often, and kids aren't fucking innocent either. My brother played people against each other a lot. My dad cheated on my mom and kept her in the house doing dishes and homeschooling us for as long as I can remember.
    I am not an exception. I will say it again. This is not uncommon. I am an Average American Woman.
    Furthermore, out of many of the women I know the things I do are basic. I have a friend who's one of the most respected horse trainers in our area two years out of high school.
    The reason I know how to make my own ammo, shoot, and fix shit is because people I knew saw fit to teach me. They didn't constrict me to making them fucking sandwiches. If you want women to all be able to do this shit, stop acting like it's unnatural to us. Shouldn't men be equally able to cook? If you're so against marriage then it makes sense that both sexes should do things equally in order to not need to marry at all.
    Also, if women were encouraged by you to do more than dishes, I bet they'd be happier, less bored and less likely to divorce you.
    I mean hell, I have a powerful urge to cut you and I just barely met you.

  54. #54

    @Biff Longcock...

    Are you suggesting that e = mc2 is not an objective fact? Are you saying that this is a sexist statement?

    From Postmodernism Disrobed by Richard Dawkins...

    The feminist 'philosopher' Luce Irigaray is another who gets whole-chapter treatment from Sokal and Bricmont.* In a passage reminiscent of a notorious feminist description of Newton's Principia (a "rape manual"), Irigaray argues that E=mc2 is a "sexed equation". Why? Because "it "privileges" the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally necessary to us" (my emphasis of what I am rapidly coming to learn is an 'in' word). Just as typical of this school of thought is Irigaray's thesis on fluid mechanics. Fluids, you see, have been unfairly neglected. "Masculine physics" privileges rigid, solid things. Her American expositor Katherine Hayles made the mistake of re-expressing Irigaray's thoughts in (comparatively) clear language. For once, we get a reasonably unobstructed look at the emperor and, yes, he has no clothes:
    "The privileging of solid over fluid mechanics, and indeed the inability of science to deal with turbulent flow at all, she attributes to the association of fluidity with femininity. Whereas men have sex organs that protrude and become rigid, women have openings that leak menstrual blood and vaginal fluids... From this perspective it is no wonder that science has not been able to arrive at a successful model for turbulence. The problem of turbulent flow cannot be solved because the conceptions of fluids (and of women) have been formulated so as necessarily to leave unarticulated remainders."

    (* Intellectual Impostures by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont)

  55. #55

    @Biff: The way you speak about women is toxic. And from the behavior of the rest of the He-Man Woman Hater's Club, I can only assume you are typical.

    Idiot.

  56. #56

    George: How can "male studies" be about men if you all are going around deciding that lots of men aren't "proper men" because they're "pansies" or "male feminists"?

    Is male studies really "white middle-aged middle-class straight cis role-conforming male studies"?

  57. #57

    @jfpbookworm,

    We've already been through this ad nauseum. Read my above posts. The 'I am going to shame you because you are privileged' attack isn't working.

    *sigh*

    Ok, here we go again. Men's Studies is controlled by Gender Studies, which is under the direct control of Women's Studies. Whenever Men's Studies wishes to broach new ideas, it must ask permission from Women's Studies. Men's Studies professors are all -wait for it- women. Not only that, they are radical feminists.

    Men's Studies has one approach: sociology. In other words, everything is a social construct. Period. End of debate. If you wish to contest this, you will fail.

    Male Studies is a rejection of the feminist control of Men's Studies. This is why you feel threatened. As a straight, white, middle-aged, middle-class cis gendered privileged woman, you are threatened that change is coming. You needn't be. Male Studies is not a reassertion of traditional masculinity. It is the realization that males have options. We will therefore be looking at males from a multi-disciplinary angle: biology, psychology, anthropology, etc. Men's Studies does not.

    Males have a right to free themselves from the tyranny of matriarchal oppression.

  58. #58

    By the way, let's just say for the sake of argument that Male Studies is “white middle-aged middle-class straight cis role-conforming male studies"...don't we have an obligation, in a democracy, to cater to the needs of the majority?

    I fully expect Male Studies to be inclusive of the disabled, persons of color, transgendered, the aged, and any and all minorities.

  59. #59

    The only person I saw shaming anyone was the guy claiming that other men were not "proper men" because they were "pansies" or "male feminists."

    I fully expect Male Studies to be inclusive of the disabled, persons of color, transgendered, the aged, and any and all minorities.

    I hope that's the case, but from what I've seen so far it hasn't been.

  60. #60

    As a straight, white, middle-aged, middle-class cis gendered privileged woman, you are threatened that change is coming.

    I'm amused at the assumptions here.

    FWIW, I'm a man; I'm just sick of being told by people of any gender that I have to jump through hoops to be a "proper man," and this "male studies" seems to be an attempt to use academia to legitimize said hoops.

  61. #61

    The only person I saw shaming anyone was the guy claiming that other men were not “proper men” because they were “pansies” or “male feminists.”

    Really, jfpbookworm, you don't think that Garland referring to some of the commenter's here as members of the "He-Man Woman-Haters Club" was an effort to shame them?

  62. #62

    Again with the sticky apostrophe key. That should read "commenters" not "commenter's".

  63. #63

    For Sarah, who requested sources for statistics indicating that women initiate 70% of divorces (give or take a bit...the rate has fluctuated between 60 and 70%, with the fraction initiated by the woman being about 5% higher when only marriages with children present are included), and 50% of domestic violence (a study from the journal "Violence Against Women" acknowledging the existence of some 200 studies confirming that DV is performed roughly at parity in the two directions).

    Note that the link I provided for which spouse is more likely to initiate divorce is a report from 1988; the CDC stopped aggregating national data on the matter then, but more recent surveys have corroborated this result (although I unfortunately do not have a link).

  64. #64

    Dear Dude and Mr. Longcock,

    I'm sorry you're so oppressed. Here, have a Tonka Truck.

    Regards,
    The One Who Thinks You Must Be Either Kidding Or Lobotomized

    Dear Crazy Joanne,

    You rock. If you were on the same continent as me and less straight...ooh, girl. :-D

    Regards,
    Inappropriate Seeking Same

    Also, general comment:
    If women initiate 70% of divorces, what does that tell you about the men they no longer want to be married to?

  65. #65

    Crazy Cat Lady:

    Since most women who divorce don't claim abuse, perhaps it says nothing other than that many women - with children or not - are overgrown children who are easily bored with having to deal with any marital obligations.

    I mean if we are going to be snarky and all.

  66. #66

    Arbitrary, I echo crazy cat lady in this, my mom initiated the divorce after enduring my father mentally abusing and almost imprisoning her for twenty years, as well as having an open affair. She may have asked for it, but I don't blame her. My father was an amazing person, though not necessarily an amazing partner.
    Crazy Cat Lady, I have a boyfriend, but I'm queer. If you ever want to visit my continent, please look me up as my area has an alarming shortage of people who aren't straight and white and anyone new to mix it up is always welcome.

    Personally, just to get this out there, FUCK MARRIAGE. It's a tradition created by and for white, western, cisgendered people and revolved around rules that exclude everyone else for as long as possible. The reason I never see myself marrying is because I never see myself agreeing to honor and obey fucking anyone. Also, as long as it is illegal in any US state for me to marry a woman, I don't plan to marry a man either.

  67. #67

    oh, and clarence, the vast, vast majority of abuse cases in the US are not reported. these women are already leaving someone they've been with for a long time, and poured themselves into. They often don't want to damage them further, are afraid, or ashamed. Sometimes they just want to spare the kids from knowing.
    You're an ass, and you and longcock are clearly miserable, lonely, self pitying and self absorbed. Too much so to do any clear research.

  68. #68

    This "Male Studies" is just propaganda, plain and simple.

  69. PlusSizedWomanist
    #69

    So will this Male Studies be inclusive to the intricate intersectionalities that occur within the male group? Or is it just the cis, white, ablebodied heterosexual male that will be analyzed? Because if it is the latter, then it will not be an effective course.

  70. #70

    backlash backlash, backlash backlash*

    Their defensiveness is pathetic. A response to a response to the status quo isn't actually a response. It's just the status quo. Eh, I don't think that was very clear. What I mean is, this "Male Studies" BS as its defined isn't necessary to "contrast" or provide an alternate viewpoint to feminism, because most of our culture IS a contrast to feminism! All they're doing is seeking to validate the status quo.

    *to the tune of Dora the Explorer's backpack song

  71. #71

    Men's Studies includes vocabulary, terminology, and useful ways of thinking about how men function in a greater context. This includes discussion of how men can shuck the rigid constraints that lower their quality of life. Feminism for men means eliminating conflict and harmful behavior on the part of both genders. *shrugs* Nothing happens in a vacuum and all the guys I know have benefited from feminism.

    Also, I know this comes as a shock, but... heterosexual feminists like to have intercourse with men. If there were no heterosexual feminists then maybe you could make an argument about about misandry, but as a heterosexual feminist I prefer to sleep with men I like. It's in my best interest to communicate with men what I will accept as behavior, and I fully expect the same communication from men. If those boundaries are not acceptable to either of us, then we don't interact. It is not a difficult concept, though it does require maturity, self-confidence, and communication.

    What I boggle at is the man-hating sentiments expressed by the people in favor of Male Studies. "Men have no say in matters of marriage. We are your pets" according to Biff Longcock. It could be true in some instances because of issues or if the guy gets off on being a pet. However, I could just as easily say that women have no say in matters of marriage. We are your maids. My statement is valid because I have anecdotes! I don't buy any grand generalizations of the entire institution of marriage based on the dysfunction of someone's immediate peer group.

    In reference to the earlier-mentioned 'toxic conditions', what toxic conditions are being referred to? The fact that women are less willing to put up with immaturity, lack of communication, and blatant disregard for their humanity? The 'millions of men' spoken of, if they can't get a date from ALL the women they talk to... perhaps the women aren't the source of the problem? Occam's Razor, that. If you try a computer power cable in a dozen different wall sockets without it turning on and other items plugged in turn on just fine, maybe it's not the wall socket that's the issue.

  72. #72

    @Alii,

    the question you need to ask yourself is, why do you feel threatened by Male Studies?

  73. #73

    If science is objective, then why are there ongoing debates about such things as cosmology and global climate change and human nutrition? Objectivity would mean that once evidence has settled a matter, it's settled, not up for debate.

    But science has proven that the Observer is entangled with the Observed, and they influence each other, which means that scientists bring their prejudices into the laboratory and the classroom, so some of what we all view as the scientific consensus is actually just prejudice driving the "results." Two great examples of this would be "The Bell Curve" and "IQ & the Wealth of Nations."

  74. #74

    lionel tiger has one of the best names ever, but oh ye gods and little fishes, is he an asshat!

  75. #75

    But e = mc squared is still an objective truth.

  76. #76

    Ask yourself, why are all of the women who comment here against Male Studies. It is fear of change, and fear of the loss of privilege.

    I used to work with a Philippino seaman. He worked so that he could feed his family. We all know that men who are without jobs or money lead lives of sexual scarcity. If he did not send money home it would certainly lead to marital discord. How is this not oppression? Where are the feminists when a Philippino seaman needs help?

  77. #77

    "is it just the cis, white, ablebodied heterosexual male that will be analyzed? Because if it is the latter, then it will not be an effective course."

    Male Studies will pander to the truth -not votes.

    You just admitted feminism was a political lobby group, not a group concerned with truth and justice.

  78. #78

    @merielle,

    oh yeah? well you are a douchenozzle!

  79. #79

    @Harry Finkbein

    I do not agree with the theoretical basis for Male Studies and have explained why it is ill-founded.

    Did I mention feeling threatened? Please quote my post so I may clarify.

  80. #80

    @Alii,

    "Men’s Studies includes vocabulary, terminology, and useful ways of thinking about how men function in a greater context. This includes discussion of how men can shuck the rigid constraints that lower their quality of life. Feminism for men means eliminating conflict and harmful behavior on the part of both genders. *shrugs* Nothing happens in a vacuum and all the guys I know have benefited from feminism."

    What is of critical importance, Alii, is that Men's Studies is under the flagship of Women's and Gender Studies, which is rigidly controlled by feminist dogma. Professors of Men's Studies are almost entirely women, and furthermore, radical feminist.

    Many women have responded, "Too bad, take it or leave it. Suck it up." This attitude wrt Men's Studies demonstrates that women wish to control what it is men study and how it is men think. Men want other men to help think about men's issues -not feminists. I think that is fair. If you believe it is unfair, please explain.

    Also, I would not take a few comments you have read here as an indication of the theoretical basis for Male Studies. That Biff Longcock believes women control marriage doesn't tell us anything about a Male Studies curriculum. I'm sorry he feels that way, but that's all.

    I would think you would welcome an increase in communication between the sexes. Do you really think that this is some sort of baseball league, where men get together and chew tobacco? It is an academic discipline, devoted entirely to male issues. Women already have it -Women's Studies. All men want is the same thing, but written, directed and fully OWNED by men. Not feminists.

    Now, I can understand if women are nervous. Lionel Tiger and Christina Hoff Sommers have stated that they will be openly challenging some aspects of feminist dogma. They will also be taking money from federal coffers, where previous monies would have gone to women's groups. You might be interested that what I see men discussing is chivalry. Men want out of the gender binary trap. It seems to me that women have wanted out for decades -now men want out. What makes women nervous is that they may have to do things they never did before. Pay for dinners. Hold doors open. Pick up hammers and nails. Hard work, etc etc.

  81. #81

    I'm gonna go ahead and say: If maleness is such a phenomenon, why is it considered normal in every area of "anthropology, education, history, medicine, politics and psychology"???

  82. #82

    @Harry Finkbein - I believe that a reactionary position towards the assumed control of "what men study and how men think" is counterproductive. Women's Studies and feminist theory provide valuable tools that Male Studies could utilize. As men in the introspective contemplation of men, Male Studies proposes to abandon the critical theory of an entire related field because it was developed by women. That is poor academic practice in addition to being sexist.

    I believe it is very fair for men to participate in (and lead) dialogs about their roles in society and the boxes they are placed in. I, however, do not believe that Male Studies will be able to join productive dialogs as long as it takes a separatist stance. Men's Studies is an outgrowth of Women's Studies, sure, but that means the field benefits from a shared vocabulary.

    I am unsure what aspects of feminism constitute the dogma you speak of. I do not recall being indoctrinated into feminism and ordered to toe a party line. In fact, the primary point of my prior post is that feminism is not a threat to men. If Male Studies really is about developing positive and healthy self-conceptions, such as deconstructing chivalry and gaining financial independence for both sexes, and not about simply being anti-feminist, then Male Studies should not object to using feminist theory as foundational prior research where pertinent. There is a lot of ink spilled within the realm of feminism that speaks on those very same topics with the very same goals.

    I would love increased communication between the sexes. I do not feel that setting up Male Studies as something separate-but-equal facilitates communication. The 'fuck you feminists' basis does not accomplish anything but draw lines in the sand. I personally think that communication between the sexes (or anyone at all) happens when both parties do not feel they are required to defend themselves.

  83. #83

    I wish I knew more of that subject to be able to discuss... However I do feel like the male studies might not be going the right way, after all.
    We're observing a sex war going on lately and there's no discussion about it wherever we go...
    Am I alone in this or anyone thinks the same here?

  84. #84

    The whole tone of this discussion is offensive and the vocabulary and language used by all genders is aggressive. Obviously no consensus (if that's what you think the point of communication ultimately is) can be reached.

    I think that, upon reading a bit on the Symposium's web site (www.malestudies.org), I am in favour of male studies. Studying males in a vaccum may be a bit disturbing, but exploring men as beings whose nature lies- at least in part, possibly in great part- in their biology seems reasonable.

    A lot of people here seem not to understand some terminology. I am male, but I am a feminist. I may prefer some other term (it does somehow "sound" wrong), but essentially feminism means to me a belief in the innate equality (equality, not sameness) of everyone. That's in my interest, even if my gender was previously the dominant one. Alii is right: as a male (more critically, as a human being), feminism has been good for me. It's given males and females ways to communicate more effectively with one another, and that communication is critical to my happiness. And, like I said, equality is in my interest: just because I am male doesn't actually mean that I would be materially or otherwise successful in a society that rejects equality (based not only on gender, but thanks to feminists also ethnicity and religion).

    I am grateful for feminism and the equality and ever-improving means of communication it has afforded us. But I am certainly intrigued by the possibility of studying myself. Thank you, Alii, for acknowledging that males ought to lead dialogue about what it means to be male. I really question why it needs a shared vocabulary with feminism, though- possibly it should be viewed as separate from existing gender studies.

  85. #85

    I'm sure this has been stated before in this forum, but it bears restating: the name of this blog is highly appropriate.

  86. #86

    When men start getting killed, raped, beaten, and abused by women in anywhere near the proportion that women are by men, we'll start talking about "matriarchal" oppression. When women start getting paid for their domestic labor and make more than men do for the same jobs, we'll start talking.

    Until then, teh Big Bad Masculine Mens whining about "oppression" is farcical.

    Amusing, though. Amusing.

  87. #87

    This isn't a judgment on the utility of Male Studies.

    Just an observation:

    The backlash to the - perceived? - discrimination against men as fathers, husbands, and, well, "men" may not be welcome, ... but it's real. It's also broadly conceived throughout the English-speaking world. It's foolish in the extreme to dismiss it out of hand or to ignore it.

    The intellectual arm of this movement is not entirely irrational or misogynistic. A lot of it will ring true to many men, and women. A very large number of non-Feminist-identified women have signed on already, and more will likely do so.

    Like it or lump it, "male studies" and advocates are going to be pushing hard at the borders, and the groundswell advancing them won't easily be resisted once this gains momentum.

    No judgment there; just noticing the inescapable trend.

    It's going to become very, very important to start developing non-reactionary, inclusive, highly rational, evidence-based and non-ideological criticism.

    Many of these MRA activists and their allies will not be intellectually easy to dismiss.

    Not to admit the need to do this is the height of hubris and doesn't speak well of academic Feminism's ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

    The simple logic that men, of any ideological stripe, are best equipped to study what it is to be men and the effects of social paradigms on men, is going to be extremely compelling and difficult to refute.

    Careful and measured and well-considered responses will be necessary. There's too much chest-beating and self-congratulation going on in progressive academia.

    Our younger scholars are in for a surprise if they think this sort of challenge will be easy to deal with.

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