Dr. Helen

The World Needs More Positive Views of Men, Not Toxic Films

I came across an interesting post by current radio host and ex-PJTV host Tony Katz on the virtues of men:

It’s OK to be a man. And it’s OK to act like a man.

Unless you go to college. College, it seems, thinks being a man is nothing more than a catch phrase for being an unrepentant rapist even if you’ve never had such a disgusting thought in your life, nor actually commited the violent act! In college, being a man means you’re unable to find love, incapable of dealing with your feelings, have (or one day will have!) contributed to the degredation of all women everywhere and, therefore, must be neutered in public and private.

College can be a nasty place.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison (a school you go to when you’re not smart enough to get into Cal-Berkeley, and a school you send your kids to when you hate them) has initiated the “Men’s Project.” The six-week course:

…creates a space for critical self-reflection and dialogue about what it means to be a man and how masculinity impacts us and those around us

Sounds harmless enough. Until you realize that you don’t reflect on what a man thinks about what it means to be a man. Rather, you reflect on what some social justice harpy says you should reflect on. Mainly, why are you such a disgusting, violent freak?

Don’t believe me? Here’s the first line from the Men’s Project on the campus website: (emphasis theirs)

Media, hook up culture, alcohol, violence, pop culture; expectations around masculinity impact all of us

I’ve been a man all my life. My father was a man. My grandfathers were both men. My great great great grandfather was a man, as was his father before him. And never once did any of them think being a man was about alcohol and violence…

Just two lines later, in the same paragraph:

These conversations can help us better understand ourselves and empower men to work as allies to promote gender equity and social justice.

No. They can’t. Nothing associated with social justice can help men, nor can it ever empower men (or women, or thinking people in general,) because being a man has nothing to do with gender equality and social justice.

At Gettysburg College, male students are required to watch a movie on “toxic masculinity.” The film, “The Mask You Live In,” attempts to link the idea of masculinity to violence. In this case, to perpetrators of mass shootings, including the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead.

According to sources, the film maintains that the statement, “be a man” is the single most destructive thing a growing boy can hear.

I remember reading about this toxic film when I was writing my book Men on Strike. It was directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom who wrote it “after falling pregnant with her son.” That phrase makes it sound like she contracted herpes as opposed to being blessed with a baby boy. That probably says it all about women like Newsom’s view of masculinity: as a virus to eradicate.

It would be funny, except this toxic film is shown to young men in schools and colleges–where I doubt they are balancing their toxic view of masculinity with more positive ones such as my book, Warren Farrell’s or Christina Hoff Sommmers. This one-sided view of masculinity is the real crisis in our society: it is turning men into Pajama boys whether they want to be one or not.