News & Politics

Stanford U. Teaches ‘Male Privilege’ With Its 'Men and Masculinities Project'

Stanford University, photo by Robbie Shade (via Flickr)

Stanford University is pushing the myth that male identity is a “social privilege,” despite numerous studies indicating that men disproportionately suffer from unique issues that circumvent their economic, educational, and social pursuits.

The claim was made by the school’s Men and Masculinities Project. The project aims to convene male students with counselors to help them develop “healthy and inclusive male identities,” almost as if male students oppress women by their very existence.

“We acknowledge that male identity is a social privilege, and the aim for this project is to provide the education and support needed to better the actions of the male community rather than marginalize others,” explains Stanford officials.

Instead of aiming to help men regain parity with women in academia — men nationwide are less likely to attend college, and less likely to graduate in four years than women — the school instead aims to help men “redefine masculinity.”

College men should be “active agents of positive and sustainable change on campus and in the community, striving to understand male privilege, redefine masculinity, [and] dismantle systemic structures of power and oppression,” the program states.

Of course, men do enjoy certain privileges in society. They don’t have to worry about sexual harassment and stalking to the same extent as women, and they are far less likely to find themselves victims of sex trafficking.

But privilege isn’t a black and white issue. To acknowledge the plight of women — especially regarding sexual abuse — shouldn’t preclude a discussion of the issues that men face. Yet that is precisely what the Stanford University program does.

The issues that men face start young. Men are significantly more likely to face issues in K-12, and are significantly less likely to graduate from high school, a disparity that is even more pronounced in minority and working-class communities.

Men also are less likely to attend college, disproportionately less likely to graduate, less likely than single women to become homeowners by age 30, far more likely to be in dangerous fields of work, and significantly more likely to be homeless. Men are also far more likely to remain homeless — nonprofits and state services prioritize women and their children.

Men are also nine times more likely to die on the streets, according to a study by the University of Sheffield in the UK. I’d cite the American numbers on this, but unfortunately there’s little funding, and thus published research, on the issues that disproportionately face men.

Reached by PJ Media, Stanford University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin claimed that the school’s Masculinities program is a “student-initiated effort.” However, this claim is contradicted by the school’s website, as the program is organized by school officials. Lapin did not immediately respond to follow-up inquiries, including one asking if any aspect of the Masculinities program is mandatory for male students. She declined to clarify aspects of the program curriculum.

Lapin did note that the project recently was placed under control of the Women’s Community Center (WCC) at Stanford. According to its website, the WCC aims to teach students about “gender, equity and identity” with an “intersectional” approach.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen.