Meet the New Kid on the Block: Male Studies

Men’s studies, one of the newest academic disciplines, now has some competition. Get ready for …. male studies?

According to Rutgers University professor Lionel Tiger, who cochaired with anti-feminist author Christian Hoff Sommers a symposium at Wagner College in New York to announce the creation of the Foundation for Male Studies, male studies bases its ideas on “the notion that male and female organisms really are different.” Unlike men’s studies, male studies focuses on the experience of being male without concern for feminist theory. In fact, feminism appears to be on the male studies hit list. Tiger calls feminism “a well-meaning, highly successful, very colorful denigration of maleness as a force, as a phenomenon.”

One of the supporters of the symposium, Men’s News Daily, is ready for the leap to male studies. Editor-in-Chief Paul Elam notes that the April 7 conference was “underscored by the sound of academicians citing the horrific results of feminist ideologues being in charge of university programs and the research they produce; and of those same ideologues having sway over university policies that affect young men.”

On that same website, Stephen Jarosek writes that that new discipline “provides the opportunity to establish a rigorous, innovative and interdisciplinary approach that is no longer hobbled by the agenda of the left.”

Elam and Jarosek might be more credible if they didn’t insist that the hard-won results of feminism are based on modern-day chivalry. Jarosek writes that women didn’t fight to earn their right to equal treatment under the law but that the Violence Against Women Act is equivalent to “the traditional obligation requiring men to protect their women-folk” and that affirmative action is “men offering up their workplace seats to ladies in the work environment.” He laments that “where old-fashioned chivalry conditioned men to treat women with respect, today’s anti-harassment laws and VAWA legislate for men to continue treating women with respect.”

What Jarosek and men like him don’t want to admit is that if men actually did behave in the way he describes, there would be no need for legislation. Of course this is a guy who believes a woman took his job, that it was his “workplace seat” to offer up in the first place.

Male studies is just one more attempt to mourn the fate of the American Male, Endangered Species. With each economic downturn or advance women make, the outcry gets louder. And while some academics may play to the current right wing zeitgeist and win a few supporters, they shouldn’t start tolling the bell for feminism quite yet. Its death has been pronounced one too many times for anyone to take such a proclamation seriously any time soon.

Photograph by Diana Blackwell // CC 2.0.

Comments

  1. oh. my. gawd.

    what. is. that. picture.

  2. Great article.

  3. I’m sorry… did he just accidentally suggest that treating women with “respect” is a bad thing?

    Because people don’t complain if legislation is passed which means they legally have to do something positive that they were going to do anyway – like wearing a seatbelt in a car, or not murdering people, or breathing. People only complain when behaviour is prescribed which they didn’t want to do in the first place, or they believe people shouldn’t have to do.

    Which is a roundabout way of saying that Jarosek doesn’t want to have to treat women with respect.
    Sounds like a real fun guy.

  4. Wow. Thanks for informing me. This is something new I can incorporate into my WS courses.

  5. i’m wowed too. i didn’t know folks could just “create a discipline.” a course, yes. a department, sure, but an academic discipline on a whim–oh my. i suppose it’s just another manifestation of privilege. ethnic studies, women’s, and queer studies departments exist because of political agitation, but males just speak themselves into existence because they can and there they are doing what they do best. thanks for the perspective, carmen.

  6. Thank you for introducing me to this perspective. Of course, we can’t encourage change without knowing all the obstacles.

    And wow, I don’t know if that photo speaks for feminism or not!

  7. The lament that “where old-fashioned chivalry conditioned men to treat women with respect, today’s anti-harassment laws and VAWA legislate for men to continue treating women with respect.” positions violence against women as not about protecting women’s personal safety and personal rights, but instead positions violence against women as nothing more than bad manners.

  8. Men just never tired of being in love with themselves. It isn’t just a summer thing.

  9. Valerie, you are so right! Women need to wake up to see that this “battle of the sexes” is very real. Any time women or people of color make a little headway, the gorillas (my apologies to real gorillas) come out thumping their chests wanting to run everyone else off “their” territory.
    Some males are so easily threatened b/c they are the weakest of the bunch. But cornered animals can be very dangerous…keep your eye on them.

  10. Hey yoteech-
    Isn’t that picture just hysterical? I wish I had half of their self love and self interest. Their whole history has been the universal human history. All religion and mythology has always been based around male thoughts, experiences and psychology. And unless college has changed suddenly, I think they offer courses that cover religion and mythology. I find Males Studies redundant.

    They do seem like they are cornered by I think that is just because the internet has allowed more ways for certain men to express that. Not all men hate women or even feminism. But all men self love in abundance. I just don’t know how they can be so full of self interest as not to seek out new theories or thoughts that someone else might have. Don’t they get bored?
    But they don’t get bored. It’s all Shakespear, WW2, Greek mythology and porn on a loop, over and over again.

  11. Biff Longcock says:

    Whoa ladies! Chill! What are you threatened by? Male Studies is not a reassertion of traditional masculinity. Look into it -it is about discarding traditional masculinity. Everyone will benefit from having happier and healthier males around. If you have brothers or sons, well – you will benefit! Male Studies will be looking at the various options open to boys and men, options that may never have been open before. Social, economic, reproductive and political options. Take a good look around you. Yes, the top 1% of all males are indeed living lives of privilege. Now lower your gaze down -way down- to the bottom 99% of males. No privilege there, ladies. Sorry about that. Under our new dispensation, males have no traditional baggage, and there is a need to address that. Women do not need husbands, nor do they need providers. Yes, there is Men’s Studies, but it is under the dominance of Women’s Studies. Women teach Men’s Studies because there are no male professors of Men’s Studies. Wouldn’t it be bizarre if only men taught Women’s Studies?

    Again, if you have sons or brothers, even if you don’t, -you’ve nothing to fear from Male Studies. No chest beating here. Nope.

  12. @Biff:

    “Whoa ladies! Chill! What are you threatened by?”

    Wow, Biff, that rings a bell! Sounds like a dismissive dude who has enough privilege to ignore what is being said, or at least to be a selective listener. Just fyi, starting off this way is pretty off-putting to most intelligent people, and you’d probably have an easier time getting your point across if you avoided using patronizing language. Maybe you can come up with a curriculum to teach the poor, disenfranchised bottom 99% of men how to convey their oppression in a way that doesn’t smack of smugness and entitlement. It couldn’t hurt!

  13. Biff Longcock says:

    @Annie,

    I think once you get in touch with your feelings you will see that I was not being smug nor entitled. Granted, telling someone to ‘chill’ does sound paternalistic. However, in this instance I felt it was warranted. For instance, here is a quote from Valerie:

    “But all men self love in abundance. I just don’t know how they can be so full of self interest as not to seek out new theories or thoughts that someone else might have. Don’t they get bored? But they don’t get bored. It’s all Shakespeare, WW2, Greek mythology and porn on a loop, over and over again.”

    Is it just me, or are those statements bogus? Isn’t ‘all men self-love in abundance’ a form of hate speech? Isn’t that bigotry? Why is misandry the last acceptable bigotry? In other words, how is that different from saying, ‘all black people love watermelon’? Please explain.

    “I just don’t know how they can be so full of self interest as not to seek out new theories or thoughts that someone else might have.”

    Male Studies is a new field of endeavor. There does exist Men’s Studies, but it is under the flagship of Women’s and Gender Studies. Male Studies wishes to study the phenomenon of misandry in our culture. Additionally, Male Studies challenges core tenets of Feminism, which is that gender is a social construct. Obviously, Men’s Studies cannot challenge this, as it is under the control of Women’s and Gender Studies.

    “It’s all Shakespeare, WW2, Greek mythology…”

    How odd that someone would find Shakespeare, History and Greek Mythology unworthy of academia.

    “Men just never tired of being in love with themselves. It isn’t just a summer thing.”

    Hate speech.

    “Any time women or people of color make a little headway, the gorillas (my apologies to real gorillas) come out thumping their chests wanting to run everyone else off “their” territory. Some males are so easily threatened b/c they are the weakest of the bunch. But cornered animals can be very dangerous…keep your eye on them.

    Hate speech.

    “The lament that “where old-fashioned chivalry conditioned men to treat women with respect, today’s anti-harassment laws and VAWA legislate for men to continue treating women with respect.” positions violence against women as not about protecting women’s personal safety and personal rights, but instead positions violence against women as nothing more than bad manners.”

    That isn’t hate speech, but it is bigotry. VAWA violates the constitutional guarantee of equality under the law. There is no VAMA, and men are recipients of 50% of all domestic violence.

    “I suppose it’s just another manifestation of privilege. ethnic studies, women’s, and queer studies departments exist because of political agitation, but males just speak themselves into existence because they can and there they are doing what they do best.”

    Males did not just speak themselves into existence. This is long overdue. A culture that denigrates the experience of one half of the population cannot be healthy. Oh and as for people of color and queer studies, they see what is happening and are switching sides. They’re tired of feminism, too, and are coming over to our side now.

    “People only complain when behaviour is prescribed which they didn’t want to do in the first place, or they believe people shouldn’t have to do.”

    Wrong. People only complain when they are unjustly being taken advantage of. As Christina Hoff Sommers says, “There are 112 institutions dedicated to the advancement of women. For men there are zero. How ethical is it to have 100% of federal funds going to one gender?”

    Misandry is so pervasive that we can’t even see it. But as these comments prove, as long as men are fair game to be made fun of, it will remain the last acceptable bigotry.

  14. @Biff,

    I don’t know what you think my feelings have to do with any of this, maybe you could elaborate. It’s funny that you chose to open with another dismissive and patronizing line. It sounds like you either didn’t read or didn’t understand my previous comment. I’m actually surprised at how clearly you proved my point. You can talk all day about misandry and how unfair the world is for men, but you’ll lack crediblity as long as you incorporate cliche statements that have nothing to do with anything, like:

    “I think once you get in touch with your feelings you will see that I was not being smug nor entitled.”

    I mean what could be more smug then the first half of that sentence? It’s comical!

  15. Carmen Siering says:

    Thanks to everyone for the comments. I want to clear up a couple of things that have been said.

    Biff commented, “There is no VAMA, and men are recipients of 50% of all domestic violence.” While both women and men are the victims of domestic violence, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, of the 691,710 instances of intimate partner violence committed in 2001, 85% were against women. Additionally, according to the National Violence Against Women Survey, conducted jointly by the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women suffer more severe physical violence than men. For example, women are 7 to 14 times more likley than men to report serious physical attacks (beatings, strangulation, threats of weapons or use of weapons). Additionally, the BJS reports that 33% of female victims compared to 4% of male victims were killed by an intimate partner.

    The other comment I would like to correct was also made by Biff. He wrote, “Women teach Men’s Studies because there are no male professors of Men’s Studies.” Not true! I know several men who teach men’s studies. And I’m sure the men who are members of the American Mens’ Studies Association would also beg to differ. So would scholars in the field, men such as Michael Kimmel and Harry Brod.

    As for those of you commenting on the photo–I didn’t pick it! You have to admit, it’s an eye-catcher.

    Thanks again for your comments. I’m glad I could post about something that has stirred up so much interest.

  16. This so-called discipline has an overt agenda. With so many courses already taught on the subject of men, masculinity and gender, you’d think Lionel Tiger, Christina Hoff Sommers, and others of their ilk, would simply get on board and support existing programs.

    But they’re not and there’s a reason: Male studies has an insidious agenda. It’s no random coincidence that Hoff Sommers is affiliated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Male studies is essentialist and anti-feminist — ironic since feminism is a powerful tool for investigating the politics of gender, race, class, sexuality, etc. Feminist inquiries include focusing on men and/or masculinities. We’re already doing it. Creating male studies is a means to achieve conservative political ends and is attempting to do so by coopting gender issues.

  17. Biff Longcock says:

    That is patently false, Shira. Men’s Studies is a division within Women’s and Gender Studies. Male studies wishes to break free of feminist ideology, which is intolerant of opposing views. Women’s and Gender Studies draw their conclusions from Sociology and Sociology alone. Male Studies will be interdisciplinary, including anthropology, biology, psychology, and medicine. How can this be a bad thing? And where do you get this notion that is essentialist?

    Is it right that men learn about what it means to be a man from a feminist? Men’s Studies is yoked to ideological feminism. It teaches men to hate themselves and their bodies. How ethical is it that 90% of federal funds go to women’s groups, and 10% to men’s?

    All words you say I can just as easily turn against you: “Creating Women’s Studies is a means to achieve feminist political ends and is attempting to do so by coopting gender issues.”

    Do you see my point?

    We’ve had forty years of institutionalized misandry. It’s time for a change.

  18. Heavens, is that a Men’s Rights troll I see striving mightily to defend the indefensible? Misandry is the last acceptable bigotry? This culture demeans everyone and everything in one way or another, but if there is one last acceptable form of bigotry, it would be misogyny. Naturally men who believe in chivalry cannot understand why feminists would not equate chivalry with respect. Chivalry was the means by which men could pretend women did not merit respect or legal rights. The reversals Biff poses are standard men’s rights propaganda, which they think are so logical and self-evident, but then, reality rarely fazes defenders of conventional wisdom.

    • "This culture demeans everyone and everything in one way or another, but if there is one last acceptable form of bigotry, it would be misogyny."

      Mmmhmm. Misogyny. That's what motivated several thousand men to drown in the ocean so that women could have all the life rafts,with that whole Titanic thing. It's so acceptable to hate women that we're taught to open doors for them, pull out chairs for them, buy their food on dates and even die for them.

      Misogyny, the entire culture is riddled with it.

      Damn those men!

      "The reversals Biff poses are standard men's rights propaganda, which they think are so logical and self-evident, but then, reality rarely fazes defenders of conventional wisdom."

      Yep,yep. Like the conventional wisdom that the Earth is round. Round shapes are oppressive to women. Obviously, geometry is misogynist. So let's all pretend the Earth is flat instead,because it makes women feel better. That is, unless you hate women and you're one of those damn misogynists.

  19. lilacfeathers says:

    This just seems like some bitter old man who left his wife and barely pays any support for his four children came up with this concept! What a notion! That women’s studies are affecting men’s “self-confidence” is just a lie! I think the media (AXE Body Wash) and peer pressure amount to several men feeling like they should just be idiots like what is portrayed out there. Feminism states that people should be treated as equals! I’m sorry but its a sad day when men need to create a genre that strokes their egos!
    Also those people who say that they are intolerant of men do not represent all feminists just a small handful. I’ve more men in my life who hate women than vice versa! So, listen up! Women still get paid 75 cents to the dollar that a man gets…. Is that fair men? I don’t think so… don’t just assume women are out to break men’s confidence. We have better things to do like get some social change started for us!

  20. >>Women’s and Gender Studies draw their conclusions from Sociology and Sociology alone. Male Studies will be interdisciplinary, including anthropology, biology, psychology, and medicine. How can this be a bad thing? And where do you get this notion that is essentialist?<<

    I find this statement rather hilarious as a sociologist. Ironically most anthropology programs are in sociology departments. Obviously you know nothing about women's studies (which frankly isn't all that shocking) considering it draws from fields such as psychology, biology, anthropology, medicine, history, biblical studies, philosophy, political science, and the list goes on. Not all those fields are linked to sociology. The fact you see women's studies as a sub-field of sociology is rather amusing. I think you are getting it confused with feminist studies within sociology, which is a sub-field of sociology, just like criminology, political sociology, urban sociology, etc.

    Before you go talking about any academic field, why don't you do some research on them first?

  21. Biff Longcock says:

    Aletha,

    If you are against chivalry, then we are on the same side. Chivalry oppresses men as well, but I fear not enough men are even aware of this. It is my sincere hope that Male Studies will address this, and none too soon. Was troll necessary. I doubt it, but with the amount of hate there is in the world, I guess I should not be surprised. I want to make it very clear, men do not want to reassert traditional masculinity. Male Studies is set up to free men of the yoke they are currently under. One can only wonder why women oppose this. We both agree chivalry is misogyny. It`s time to open men`s eyes up to their options, so they do not have to protect and provide for women. I`m not sure I know what reversals you are talking about. Please explain.

    Lisa,

    If you are a sociologist than it is no surprise you resent a new field of academia such as Male Studies. Men`s Studies is under the flagship of Women`s and Gender Studies, which is totally 100% dominated by feminist ideology. If you dispute this, I cannot believe you are being truthful. It is you who amuse me. Watching you squirm is fun. With the aid and assistance of persons like the notable Christina Hoff Sommers, Male Studies will be tapping into federal funds that normally go to Women`s Studies. Your supply line is getting cut off. The days of open bigotry against males is coming to an end; I`m happy to be a witness.

  22. WELL! By golly gee, I dare say I must thank my lucky stars and skirts that men have given us everything we have and bow in supplication to their generosity!

    …seriously…I can’t believe people think this is intelligence…

  23. @Biff:

    Do you know what feminism is? I’d be interested to hear your definition of a “feminist.” You commented that, “as for people of color and queer studies, they see what is happening and are switching sides. They’re tired of feminism, too, and are coming over to our side now.” What evidence do you draw this conclusion from?

    And besides, feminism is not “a side.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” In other words, feminists are concerned about equality for both men and women. Feminism is NOT misandry. The fact that so much of feminism focuses on women’s rights is not because feminists care only about women’s rights, but because so much inequality and discrimination against women still exists. But feminists recognize how sexism has negative affects for both men and women. Even Ms.Blog does–check out the recent post on the new Wheaties Fuel cereal.

    Your comment that “Creating Women’s Studies is a means to achieve feminist political ends and is attempting to do so by coopting gender issues” does not make sense because “feminist political ends” would be beneficial to men and women. Dr. Christopher Kilmartin is an author who acknowledges men’s studies as a part of feminism. You might be interested in his book, The Masculine Self, which looks at the many issues men face, and it does so with respect and acknowledgement of women’s issues.

    The problem with the Male Studies Foundation is that it entirely misinterprets/misrepresents the goals and values of the feminist movement. If the organizers behind the Male Studies Foundation truly understood the tenets of feminism, they would see that male studies is a part of feminism, not an opposition to it.

  24. Biff, for another example of feminism’s concern for males, read Michael Kimmel’s post on the new Iphone App: http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/03/23/iphone-helps-you-man-up/

  25. joyce gelb says:

    there is nothing new about men’s studies. it has existed for years. A former grad student class mate of mine, Warren ? , pioneered it in the 60′s. but this one is anti feminist given the cast of characters. surely that should be noted more clearly. Joyce

  26. joyce gelb says:

    the name I was trying to think of re: an early effort at Men’s Studies (and one that was largely pro-feminist) was Warren Farrell.

  27. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    HA HA HA, A SUB-FIELD OF SOCIOLOGY.
    THAT’S LIKE BELIEVING SCIENCE IS A SUB-FIELD OF MALE STUDIES. OOPS!–IT IS!!!

    AT ANY RATE, I CAN’T BELIEVE LIONEL TIGER IS STILL ALIVE. DIDN’T HE GET SQUASHED LIKE A BUG BACK IN THE 70′S WITH HIS NARROW CHEST-BEATING, MALE-CENTRIC, SELF-SERVING SCIENTIFIC BRAVADO….AND GOT HIS RIGHT-WING ARSE PUT TO PERMANENT EXTINCTION?!

    FURTHERMORE, MEN HAVE FOR TIME IMMEMORIAL LEARNED WHAT IT IS TO BE A “MAN” AND THE PLANET // AND COSMOS! // HAS TAKEN IT’S TOLL AND SUFFERS GRAVELY FOR IT.
    THE WORLD DOESN’T NEED MORE DICHOTOMOUS PROTO MALES BUT A MUCH FURTHER INTER-RELATED EVOLVED SPECIES, ONE NOT IN WORRY OF EXTINCTION…BUT LARGELY, ONE HARDLY GESTATED AND BORN YET.

    WE WHO THINK BEYOND OUR OWN TERRITORIAL PISSINGS ARE STILL PATIENTLY AND FRUSTRATINGLY WAITING. :\
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  28. @Biff… I wouldn’t care if a man taught Women’s Studies. I don’t think that would be weird at all. It would be weird if he was prejudiced against women and belittled the concept, but a man who cared enough to teach Women’s Studies and actually supported what he taught? I think it’d be awesome.

    By the way, your name is “Longcock”.. I sure hope your opinions were disregarded simply based on that fact.

  29. Yeah, that last name is one reason I suspect a troll. Practically everything Biff says is a reversal; in case what that means is not clear, it means the reverse of what he says is a lot closer to the truth than what he says. News flash, Biff, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. You may say you are against chivalry; that makes me doubt you understand the term, and it certainly does not put you on my side, since the reasons I oppose it and your reasons are more likely dissimilar than similar. If you think feminism is oppressive to men, and that Christina Hoff Sommers is “notable,” get a clue. You have not the slightest notion of what you are talking about, but as I noted, your misconceptions are standard men’s rights propaganda.

    By the way, Warren Farrell was accepted as pro-feminist for awhile, but then he turned against feminism, became a men’s rights advocate, and nowadays sounds more like Biff than a feminist. I would not be surprised if he is involved somehow in this male studies movement. At any rate, at this blog defending male studies (http://www.the-spearhead.com/2010/04/09/male-studies-program-already-under-attack/), there is an ad for “Warren Farrell’s Seminal Book,” The Myth of Male Power.

  30. @Aletha,

    What exactly do you mean by chivalry? I thought it only had one meaning. If men oppose chivalry, and women do too, doesn’t that mean they are in agreement?

  31. Perhaps chivalrous men think chivalry has only one meaning, but the meaning Mr. Jarosek gave it, “where old-fashioned chivalry conditioned men to treat women with respect,” is not how I see it at all. Feminists have called this the pedestal syndrome; men put women on an imaginary pedestal, queen of the domestic sphere, which in practice meant women were deemed weak, delicate, inferior, emotional as opposed to reasoning or logical beings, and thus in need of male protection. This was the rationale to justify deeming women unfit for the male sphere, i.e. the world of work, politics, business, sports, voting, rights, i.e. just about any role besides caretaking, for which women are supposedly destined by biology. When this country was founded, married women had no rights at all, literally the property of their husbands, who by law could and did treat their wives like slaves. Does that sound like respect? I do not think so.

    For an example of modern chivalry in action, I suggest checking out Men are Better Than Women. I do not wish to post the link, but it is easy to find.

  32. Ok, I get it. But after reading the above posts, it does say that Biff and most men today are opposed to chivalry. So I guess I am a little confused. If Male Studies will be reinforcing the notion that chivalry is wrong, and it sounds like it is, isn’t that a good thing?

  33. What is a ‘dichotomous proto male’?

  34. “If Male Studies will be reinforcing the notion that chivalry is wrong…” If that is true, it is for the wrong reasons, because the proponents of male studies equate chivalry with feminism, which they see as oppressive to men. It is hard to know what is behind that tortured logic, but it appears they are lamenting that chivalry is not enough for women, that overreaching laws are now in place that force men to respect women (not that the laws do anything of the sort, but they are better than relying on chivalry). Biff says he opposes chivalry, but I do not know what he means by that, let alone feminism, since his misconceptions about feminism, while all too common, are way off base.

    Anyway, I do not think this blog was meant to teach confused men Feminism 101. Read some books, guys, and I do not mean the tripe written by Christina Hoff Sommers.

  35. It isn’t complicated, Aletha. I know exactly what Biff means. Chivalry is what it says it is. It means men don’t have to save women- ever. It means and end to women and children first. It means an end to male only registration in the selective service. It means men aren’t the only ones to go down in the Titanic. It means if two people -a man and a woman – see a house on fire, then the woman can’t just stand there and cry while the man runs to save people.

    It is very clear and your attempt to not understand is obvious. You can’t have it both ways: the perks of a damsel in distress and the perks of full citizenship. This is modern privileged feminism. Male Studies, it is my hope, will train men to stop ‘rescuing’ women when it is high time you started pulling your weight.

    This also is what you want, we both want this. You don’t want to be condescended to and treated like a child. What other way are you talking about? What is this ‘master plan’ you see behind the drive to debunk chivalry. Please explain.

  36. I just wish men would stop distorting feminism, but I know how unlikely that is. “Modern privileged feminism” is an oxymoron if I ever heard one, but it is common parlance among men’s rights activists. I thought I made perfectly clear why chivalry and feminism are not remotely equivalent, but it is the agenda of proponents of male studies to conflate them, to cast feminism as being all about privileging women and denigrating men, a convenient reversal to hide the fact that feminism is opposed to privileges for either gender at the expense of the other. What is this attempt to oversimplify, chivalry is what it says it is? That has never been the case. Chivalry has been a cloak to make the oppression of women seem like the natural order of things. I see no resemblance between the reasons men like Biff and Dave and Mr. Jarosek and Mr. Elam have for opposing chivalry and the reasons feminists oppose it.

    To say that men’s rights activists and feminists want the same thing is grotesque and beyond insulting. The former want to pretend feminism has won, that there is no longer any problem with discrimination against women, that things have gone so far that the situation has actually reversed, that domestic violence is committed as often by women as men, that women are coddled and not pulling our own weight, that if laws against discrimination and sexual harassment and violence against women were repealed there would be a level playing field. If male studies were truly intended to promote equality by debunking chivalry, I might be inclined to support it, but it appears to me it is intended to debunk feminism, and its proponents make no bones about that.

    • "To say that men's rights activists and feminists want the same thing is grotesque and beyond insulting."

      You're right.

      Men's rights activists want legal equality between the sexes.

      I imagine that concept is grotesque and insulting to the sex that receives 1/1000 of the death sentences for committing the same crime as a man (murder). I see you carping on that 75 cents to the dollar quite a bit, which is a result of your choices, I never see you complaining that only 2.8% of those executed for murder in the entire history of the United States have been female.

  37. >>It means if two people -a man and a woman – see a house on fire, then the woman can’t just stand there and cry while the man runs to save people. <>This is modern privileged feminism. Male Studies, it is my hope, will train men to stop ‘rescuing’ women when it is high time you started pulling your weight.<<
    Any man who is a feminist knows he doesn't have to 'rescue' a woman. He knows they can pull their own weight.

  38. Alright, let me put it this way: You and I both know that if a catastrophe struck and a real crisis appeared, it would be men that would be the first to be called upon to do the dirty work. Feminism has removed all perks and privileges of being the ‘disposable sex’. Men willingly donned the protect and provider role because there was a premium paid for such a role. Now that premium is gone but the stigma of not ‘manning up’ remains. So let me be clear: Men are sick and tired of being told to ‘man up’. YOU women still demand this, and it has led to an asymmetrical arrangement between the sexes. Male Studies will ensure that men are no longer tied to this yoke and have it written into the law

    The fact that you still want men cast into the outdated role of pack mule is evident.

  39. Biff,

    We’re not talking about Men’s studies here, we’re talking about “Male Studies”, which is a curriculum newer than male studies, and is all to readily considered a discipline. Apparently there is a big difference between men’s studies and, as Rutger’s University calls it, the new “Male Studies”.

    Please read through Carmen’s article again, and more carefully this time.

  40. “You and I both know that if a catastrophe struck and a real crisis appeared, it would be men that would be the first to be called upon to do the dirty work.”

    Thats bull. You know as well as I do that women rushed into the Two Towers to help the victims of 9/11 right along side men.

    “Men are sick and tired of being told to ‘man up’. YOU women still demand this, and it has led to an asymmetrical arrangement between the sexes.”

    Not all women tell men to “man up.” If you seriously think that then you forget that feminism trys to eliminate ALL sexism, including sexism towards men.

    • Do your research. No women died pulling anyone out of those building because there are less than 50 female firefighters in New York,despite feminists efforts to push women into the role in the eighties and millions of dollars spent revamping fire stations to accommodate all the females supposedly clamoring to get in.

      "If you seriously think that then you forget that feminism trys to eliminate ALL sexism, including sexism towards men."

      If that's the case, then why do men not have any reproductive rights? You've had yours for 40 years. What's the matter? Are you just horrible at fighting sexism or what? How long would it take to get women on board for paying for their own children? Yes, I said it, THEIR children. Men have no legal rights to their biological offspring and can be ejected from their role as fathers at a woman's whim.

      When are you gonna change those signs to read "My body, my choice, my responsibility"?

      The answer is obviously never.

  41. wow, I meant Twin Towers, I was watching Lord of the Rings… oops… my bad.

  42. I think that when “a real crisis” appears and there is “dirty work” to be done, the 84,000 female police officers, 6,200 full-time women firefighters, and 202,000 women soldiers presently serving in the U.S. military (with over 160,000 females having served in the battle zone of Iraq, where the distinctions between “combat” and “non-combat” roles have long since faded away) are also among the first called into action. So the old stereotype of men bearing the entire burden of going “into harm’s way” while women all sit safely at home quietly doing supportive things is obsolete and irrelevant, and never accurate to begin with. Those who face danger are entitled to well-deserved individual honors, regardless of sex. But the practice of giving a kind of “affiliational glory” to all men for the deeds of some, and thereby justifying male privilege or preference, as was common in the past, is just as invalid as blaming all men for the misdeeds of some and discriminating against all men. Feminism teaches that we should be judged as the individuals we are, on our own unique strengths, weaknesses and abilities, and not on the strengths, weaknesses and abilities someone else thinks we “probably have” or “should have” due to our gender. So whatever dangers await us in the 21st Century will be faced by those most able to deal with them, and whatever honors or privileges may go with having faced those dangers will be shared equally by those individual men and women, because neither “men” nor “women” as a class are brave or cowardly, strong or weak. Only individual men and women have those characteristics and should be treated accordingly in a just and rational society.

  43. I disagree with you David. You have offered the PC definition of feminism, which is the state-sponsored version of female supremacy. Feminism has never admitted that women do use sex as way of rewarding and punishing male behavior. You are both a mangina and a white knight, sir. Because you -and women- have never looked beyond the personal, you have failed to observe the cause and effect of human action. It is estimated that if current trends continue, one third of all american men will not be able to find wives, nor will they have a chance at successful reproduction. Is this a vision you wish you to see, sir? Males as second class citizens?

  44. Women have never looked beyond the personal, so have failed to observe the cause and effect of human action??? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Such silliness does not do you credit, Dave. No doubt you have not checked out my web site, for instance. I have engaged with men like you on my blog. My friends and I founded a political party over thirty years ago. We never looked beyond the personal, huh? Why is it many of your arguments, as a man so opposed to chivalry, sound so much like the arguments of men who favor chivalry? You cling to your stereotypical beliefs about women and feminism like a security blanket. A man comes along to challenge you and you dismiss him as a mangina? Gee, how creative! I suppose that is more polite or politically correct than calling him a henpecked wuss or pussy? You have shown your true colors, but I still wonder, are you just a troll making outrageous statements for laughs, or a men’s rights activist making a fool of yourself?

  45. Relax, other “Dave”: Your suspicion and obvious fear that Feminism may be cloaking a drive to establish “female supremacy” can be easily tested and dismissed ! No one who favors establishing female privilege or dominance would ever want to outlaw all discriminations based on gender by amending the U.S. Constitution to say “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Feminists invented the Equal Rights Amendment almost nine decades ago, wrote that text, have vigorously campaigned for it, and will continue to do so until the E.R.A. has firmly embedded in our Constitution the principle that any law which discriminates against women OR MEN should be presumed unconstitutional.

    Your assertion that women use sex as a way of controlling male behavior, and that this is an unfair use of power suggests only three remedies : (1) Women should freely give sexual favors to men on demand, regardless of their individual behaviors, even if in some cases those behaviors are irresponsible or abusive, (2) Women should take vows of lifelong celibacy upon reaching puberty which renounce use of their “sexual power”, or (3) Women should have sex only with other women so as to leave men free and uncontrolled. Be careful what you wish for, because they might choose (2) or (3) and you might get the blame from a lot of frustrated men …..

    Yes, it’s true that life has become tougher for some men in some ways since U.S. feminism was formally launched in 1848. Men no longer enjoy the privilege of only competing against other men in the most prestigious and lucrative occupations. They must now compete with highly talented and equally ambitious women, which means that as is inevitable in any competition, some must lose out. But those who succeed now have something valuable their predecessors didn’t : the knowledge that they aren’t just the “best man” for the job, but simply “the best” for the job. And yes, it’s true that as women gained rights in the work place and were no longer shut out of entire occupations, or paid such a fraction of men’s wages that they couldn’t support themselves, they stopped marrying out of a need to be financially supported, and brides raised the bar for grooms beyond simply being a “good provider.” But if the women who marry today do so out of affection for an equal, rather than out of economic need or because they were programmed to see themselves as a subservient “helpmate,” then it seems to me that this is also good for men. At least good for those men who have some self-confidence and don’t need a woman to be a perpetual child, or to pretend that she is less intelligent, strong, or talented than she really is, so that he can delude himself into thinking that he’s more intelligent, strong or talented that he really is.

    If substantial numbers of heterosexual women use their hard-won economic and social freedoms to stay single, or to have and raise children on their own, then instead of criticizing them or their choices, we should be asking what kinds of attitudes and behaviors the men they meet must be displaying to make so many women consider all of them an impediment to their aspirations rather than a potentially supportive partner who’ll help them fulfill any dream they may have in return for the same consideration.

    I totally agree that no one should support women’s rights out of some misguided sense of chivalry. They should support it for the same two reasons as equality for all formerly or presently oppressed groups : (1) It’s simple justice. There is NO rational or moral justification for the socially dysfunctional idea that people should be forced into prefabricated “roles” at birth that entitle some to privileges or opportunities denied to others, or deny them the full expression of the wide spectrum of human emotions or needs. (2) Equality is in our own self-interest. Wasting the talents of anyone robs us all. The human genome hasn’t changed since long before the beginning of recorded history. If women can excel today in fields such as law, medicine, politics, music, art, science and literature, then they could have had that same major impact in all those fields in every society in every century if given the opportunity. But instead, all of us, for all time, were deprived of their genius by those who used every tool at their disposal to discourage or prohibit women from exhibiting their abilities in any area other than homemaking, childbearing and parenting, all but the second of which can be equally shared with a partner, freeing both to express their other abilities and bring maximum benefit to society and satisfaction to themselves.

    As revolutionary and difficult to imagine as “absolute sexual equality” is, you need to visualize it in order to get over the idea that society must either regress back to a repressive patriarchy or forward to some equally repressive matriarchy. Neither is viable, and either would eventually join its siblings, monarchy and slavery, in history’s dumpster because the universal human desire to be free and treated with the kind of real dignity and respect that only goes to an equal is stronger than the desire of some to oppress, control and exploit, whether overtly through legal restrictions or covertly through rigid “roles” which teach that characteristics and behaviors which naturally lead to wealth, power and success ought to be encouraged in one group, while discouraged in another. The good news is that equality is by definition a two-sided coin, assuring identical rights and responsibilities for both groups that are equalized. So by working for it, not only are women’s rights assured, but men’s as well, and we’ll both get what we want : our HUMAN rights.

  46. @Aletha,

    For the umpteenth time, how is men not wanting to be cast into traditional roles an attempt to cling to chivalry? How is wanting women to also be registered in the selective service, chivalrous? How is referring to David as a mangina, chivalrous? You claiming that I want to be chivalrous is a reinforcement of the male gender binary trap. Are there no other roles for men to have? May I disagree with another man and not be chivalrous, or is that an impossibility, in your view? Moreover, after repeatedly telling you that men want out of the chivalry trap, you have consistently come back and reasserted it, without offering a definition or explanation as to why. It is perfectly clear that you want men to be chivalrous, because it keeps men pinned down into a safe little pigeonhole. It allows you all the perks of equality, plus some more doesn’t it? Men not wanting to be chivalrous means women will have to pay for dinners at least half of the time. It means you will have to open your own doors. In short, it means equality of the sexes. Now please, come back and tell me I am trying to be chivalrous, I really need a good laugh.

  47. @David,

    I did indeed say, “Feminism has never admitted that women do use sex as way of rewarding and punishing male behavior.” However, not once did I say this was an unfair use of power, nor was that even inferred. If that is what you understood it to mean, might I suggest you not read into it a meaning that isn’t there -simply take it at its face value. Nonetheless, by your response you admit that women in fact do use sex to reward and punish male behavior, as is evidenced by your three remedies. Let the record show that it is you who offer three remedies; I am not seeking a one.

    It is curious that you allude to women who choose to remain single or to raise children as single mothers and ask the question, “What is it men can do to become better partners to these women?” In other words, it is merely assumed that it is men in need of improvement. There is no need to probe deeper into the affairs of human society, because to you, it is men a priori that must correct their behavior. Do you not see the fallacy? You have forced both men and women into a gender binary trap: if women are to be single or single mothers, it cannot be by choice, it must therefore be the fault of men.

    You have made an excellent case for the full participation and equality of women. The only problem is, I don’t know who you are talking to. Did I ever say I was against female equality? Please review my posts, and if possible, cut and paste where I specifically said I was against women’s equality. I want to make it very clear, men do not want to reassert traditional masculinity. Male Studies is set up to free men of the yoke they are currently under. One can only wonder why women oppose this. We both agree chivalry is misogyny. It`s time to open men`s eyes up to their options, so they do not have to protect and provide for women.

    Male Studies is about choice, and the freedom to exercise options. Neither you nor Aletha have made mention of this. Instead, you have resorted to the same tired gender binary roles that have inhibited healthy male and female growth. You have stated that I need to envision ‘absolute sexual equality’ and get over ‘traditional patriarchy’ and ‘oppressive matriarchy’. Indeed, what did you think i was saying? What part of “I don’t like chivalry” do you not understand? How many times do I have to say it? Until I am blue in the face?

    Furthermore, you didn’t elaborate as to what ‘absolute sexual equality’ is. Please explain. Again, I remind you that feminism has never gave an honest look at human sexuality. Do you believe that monogamy is the natural state for men and women? Do you even have a position? There are literally thousands of academicians who do not believe man’s natural condition is monogamy -yet you assume it is. Why? However, many anthropologists as well as other thinkers on this subject believe male and female sexuality is entirely different, and not necessarily complimentary. Women tend to be hypergamous, that is, they marry up, or look for mates who are socially dominant. Males, on the other hand, are polygamous, that is, they look to spread their seed as often and as much as possible. Nothing in this behavior suggests monogamy. Do you agree/ disagree?

    In the final analysis, I have never once said I opposed the equality of women, and I have challenged you to support your assertion that I have with evidence. I have asserted that feminism has failed to provide enough solutions for all of the human race. Indeed, I believe feminism is only concerned with female supremacy, not equality. VAWA, for example, violates the guarantee of equality under the law, by giving special status to one gender. VAWA is not an assertion of equality, but of supremacy. If you disagree, please explain. Additionally, there are 112 federally funded institutions devoted to the advancement of women’s issues. Men have zero. The National Organization For Women is also federally funded. 60% of college graduates are women; loans, bursaries, and grants are tilted in favor of women. Male suicides outnumber female by a ratio of four to one. Prison populations are overwhelmingly male. These issues are never addressed by feminism, which is why Male Studies has been developed. It is true that the top 1% of men live lives of extraordinary leisure and privilege- but the bottom 99% do not. When feminists claim they want equality, they want it with the top 1%, not the bottom 99%.

    Now if you could address these issues I would be happy to engage you!

  48. Dave, you completely missed my point, but that was only to be expected. You really do not get it. Either that, or you are a troll just here to make trouble. Trolls generally harp endlessly on their own points, distorting all arguments that contradict them. I did not say or imply you are trying to be chivalrous, just that your arguments are too similar to those who defend chivalry to be coincidental. It is in your interest to not see the similarity. The answer to that riddle is, your opposition to feminism and the opposition of the chivalrous to feminism are two sides of the same coin, namely sexism.

    “It is perfectly clear that you want men to be chivalrous, because it keeps men pinned down into a safe little pigeonhole.” That is an example of your distortion of my arguments. It suits your fancy to believe that. Do you actually believe chivalry ever created any kind of safety for women? That is the myth of chivalry; the reality is completely different. Another myth is the notion that there would be a level playing field if there were no laws against discrimination. In an ideal world, perhaps that would be possible, but this world is still way too sexist and racist for that. You are the one attempting to pin feminism into a pigeonhole, which you call female supremacy. I do not like pigeonholing of any kind, not of women, men, animals, politics, nothing. I oppose determinism and essentialism, and their implications. Unfortunately the phenomenon is all too common, and I do not see male studies doing anything to liberate anyone from pigeonholing; it just wants to promote its own stereotype of feminism in order to destroy it. You can call that promoting equality, but do not expect anyone reading here to be fooled.

  49. Other “Dave” : The reason you have to spend so much time telling and re-telling your co-bloggers that you’re “not against equality for women” is because your definition of feminism is so radically different from theirs, that of “Webster’s dictionary” and most everyone else outside of Male Studies classrooms. By using “feminism” as a label to describe those “only concerned with female supremacy” instead of “the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes,” it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that your hostility to feminism (as you uniquely define it) is hostility to women’s equality in general rather than to certain specific issues. But just one reason your definition is as rare as it is incorrect is that it’s inconsistent with the massive amounts of time, money and energy spent by several generations of feminists on a Constitutional ban on ALL forms of discrimination against either sex : The Equal Rights Amendment. Why – despite it being offered at numerous sessions of Congress over the decades – would allegedly superiority-seeking feminists have vigorously and so far successfully fought adding a provision to our amendment which would allow the upholding of any laws passed for the benefit of women ? Such a “Women’s Rights Plus Privileges” amendment could probably have been successful on many occasions since E.R.A.’s introduction to Congress in 1923, but our original gender-neutral E.R.A. (now H.J.R. 61) still awaits re-passage by Congress and yet another equally massive second attempt to get the 38 state ratifications needed, because absolute Constitutional equality is what we want, and if we have to work another 87 years to bring men’s rights into the Constitution simultaneously with women’s, then that’s exactly what we’ll do.

    I looked back through my posts, and failed to find the word “monogamy” so I’m not sure why you said I believe “man’s natural condition is monogamy.” But coming from someone so opposed to categorizing people by gender in the old, rigid “bipolar gender roles,” your description of human sexuality as described by “many anthropologists” seems strangely traditional. If men’s and women’s sexuality is “entirely different” and women naturally express their sexuality by tending to “marry” someone of higher social status (“marry” being a term normally considered synonymous with monogamy) while “men” (apparently all, and not just some men, many men, or most men) want as many partners as possible, then it does bring to mind one of the oldest and most pervasive “bipolar gender stereotypes” of all, the roles of premaritally chaste and post-maritally faithful females, versus promiscuous, “boys will always be boys” males. Had I expressed my actual opinion on human sexuality, I would have said that like every human characteristic except the possession of specific reproductive organs that define gender, the differences between some men and other men, and some women and other women are vastly greater than the differences between the average man and the average woman. (That’s instantly obvious with characteristics like height and weight, not so easily apparent in regard to psychological traits.) Mutual monogamy – even for a lifetime – is a satisfying and inherently equal choice made by many women and men, and is natural for some and not for others. However, it is by no means the only morally acceptable choice available to all. But those other morally acceptable choices must be based on equality as well. If you want no sexual restrictions on yourself, impose none on a partner. If you want a strictly monogamous partner, then set the example in your own life. Genes impel, not compel, so women and men CAN choose to be totally faithful – or be serial adulterers. They CAN be exceedingly responsible and still have quite active sex lives as singles – or they can be totally irresponsible. Human beings can create and be happy in a wide and delightful variety of equal relationships, and are fortunate to have a variety of sexual orientations as well. What I support as a feminist and someone whose core value is equality is not a single lifestyle for all sexually active people, but a single standard for all regarding what constitutes sexually acceptable behavior. It’s one part of a universal standard that applies to everyone and every human activity : Treat others with the same dignity, respect and consideration that you’d want for yourself, try to foresee any reasonable consequences of your actions, and be willing to take responsibility for those potential outcomes, “worst-case scenarios” included. The issues society should be concerned with are not trivia such as the gender of someone’s partner, but things like whether an encounter was between those mature enough to give sexual consent in the first place and was, in fact, fully consensual, and free of deception and irresponsibility as well. I applaud those who do research in the critical area of human sexuality, and hope their results are widely read by the general public as well as peer reviewed. And I also presume you join me in opposing any misuse of their findings to update an old adulterers’ defense that “The Devil made me do it” to a genetically-based “My D.N.A. made me do it” excuse, and that Male Studies and Women’s Studies classes should both teach that the traditional double standard of sexual behavior for males and females has no justification or place in a society of equals.

  50. @Aletha,

    “I did not say or imply you are trying to be chivalrous, just that your arguments are too similar to those who defend chivalry to be coincidental.”

    How are my arguments similar to those who defend chivalry? If you cannot or do not wish to explain this to me, then I can only presume that you are arguing in bad faith.

    “It is in your interest to not see the similarity. The answer to that riddle is, your opposition to feminism and the opposition of the chivalrous to feminism are two sides of the same coin, namely sexism.”

    Why do you make statements and end them abruptly, without supporting them with proof or evidence? In logic, this is called ‘ipso facto’, or ‘by the fact itself’. You are offering me your conclusion, without telling me how you arrived there. Please explain.

    “Do you actually believe chivalry ever created any kind of safety for women? That is the myth of chivalry; the reality is completely different.”

    Whoever said anything about safety? Men behaved chivalrously so that they could get laid, end of. There is no other purpose for chivalry. It was women who demanded chivalry from their mates for almost all of Christendom. Prior to the birth control pill, a woman who was sexually active was taking a tremendous risk. Chivalry was the code that women enforced, so that worthy suitors were of value as mates. Please do not make me explain the history of marriage, and the fact that chastity, virtue and chivalry were codes of conduct fully enforced by women.

    “Another myth is the notion that there would be a level playing field if there were no laws against discrimination.

    Whoever said I was against laws which prohibit discrimination? Please point to where I said this. Again, I do not who you are talking to or what you are talking about. I am in favor of laws which prohibit discrimination.

    “I oppose determinism and essentialism, and their implications. Unfortunately the phenomenon is all too common, and I do not see male studies doing anything to liberate anyone from pigeonholing; it just wants to promote its own stereotype of feminism in order to destroy it. You can call that promoting equality, but do not expect anyone reading here to be fooled.”

    It is feminism which is determinist and essentialist. It is a movement for the supremacy of one gender: white, middle-class western women. All other women come second and last on the hierarchy are men -this is feminism. It is not about equality -it is about power. Your opposition to Male Studies speaks volumes; it is your fear of the truth which threatens you. Re-read everything I have written. Not once did I say I was against women, equality or in favor of discrimination. You merely assumed I was. I am in favor of raising the consciousness of men, which you are obviously against. Do you know who is in favor the most for Male Studies? It is the mothers of boys, that is who.

    You are not fooling anyone with your appeal to emotion, Aletha. You have not supported your assertions with facts, proof or evidence. Your opposition to Male Studies proves you are a female supremacist, pure and simple.

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