Wall Street Journal has two articles on its website that deal with something that has fascinated me and a lot of my female friends for some time – the notion that most women our age seem to be extremely driven and ambitious, but the men we surround ourselves with, less so.
The first piece is an adaptation from Kay S. Hymowitz’s forthcoming book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys, taking a deep dive into the social and cultural influences which possibly gave birth to this breed of men.
The second is a defense of the 27 year old slacker, written by the Onion A.V. Club’s Nathan Rabin, making the point that some of these apparent slackers are really Mark Zuckerbergs in disguise.
Both make interesting and sometimes confluent points. Do I really want my 20 something year old friends who can barely take care of themselves raising kids? Probably not.
Ergo, the idea of having a “male studies” program in college is inane. It doesn’t solve the problem, but instead is simply a side-show that distracts from the main issues. It’s a means to profit off of the naive feelings and emotions of kids who lack the intellectual rigor to study a real discipline in college, but enough of their parents money they can afford not to (just like women’s studies, or any hyphenated American studies). It does nothing to help its participants. from Captain Capitalism: Why You Should Be Against Male Studies
I’ve heard this argument about gender-based studies before, and frankly I think it’s boring (and untrue.) When I took classes such as Womens Studies and LGBT Studies and African-American Studies in college, I did it to both understand myself and those that would be an “other” for me. I am a straight, white woman but in order to try and expand my view, get my head around things that I couldn’t inherently, and also make myself a more understanding, compassionate person, I took these classes. They made me better.
On my first day in womens studies, my professor made the point that the reason womens studies exists, in part, is because women are not equal to men. The day that black women (the most subjugated of all minorities) are no longer oppressed, the work of womens studies will be complete and its programs in college can be discontinued. Do I see that ever happening? To be honest, no, but I fight for that anyway. In what I am beginning to believe, the way men are socialized now is in response to the power women have gained since the Sexual Revolution and the second and third waves of feminism. Something is there to be explored.
Men’s Studies is not a discipline to reaffirm the patriarchy, or over-teach the presence of men, specifically white men, in history. It is a place where socialization, behavior, and hierarchies can be explored in the same way they are within a women’s studies discipline. By turning a critical and curious lens on themselves, I have no doubt men would be liberated by what they would find.
Foundational Texts: Weekly summaries of writing, film, art, and other cultural or scholarly outlets that will contribute to the mStud curriculum and reading list.
What’s In Your Wallet: A pictorial essay examining the contents of the wallet
Conversations with Men: 5 questions with men all over the city
Sacred Objects: An examination of objects dear to men – tools, iPhones, the riding mower, the corvette, the desire to name cars and possessions, truck nuts, guns, etc.
Every other Sunday (beginning 2/6):
Cultural Icons and Archetypes: Clint Eastwood, Hugh Hefner, Jesus Christ
Every other Sunday (beginning 2/13):
Men’s Products: Packaging and marketing reviews of razors, underwear, deodorant, etc.
Every other Monday (beginning 1/31):
Men in the Media: Who’s on the cover of this week’s/ month’s magazines? What do they represent about masculinity?
Examination of the Sub-species: the hipster, the metrosexual, the geek, the old man, etc..
Every other Monday (beginning 2/7):
Men and Power: Positive and negative uses in the hands of men
Every other Tuesday (beginning 2/1):
Evolution of Male Costume: Where we present and examine male dress from olden times to today’s modern-day hipster lumberjacks.
Every other Tuesday (beginning 2/8):
Transitions in the Male Life Cycle: puberty, mid-life crisis, andropause
Genesis of the Male Myth: childhood– where does the differentiation begin? Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, Mars and Venus on a Date
Men and Sexuality: How Gay Culture moves into the mainstream. How sex lives of men change in light of AIDS. Policies that affect sexuality (DADT)
Every other Wednesday (beginning 2/2):
Women and Masculinity: Women and Men who Subvert the Binary (i.e Androgyny)
Every other Wednesday (beginning 2/9):
Omega Males: Never-never land for men, peter-pan complex, men who never want to leave guyland, the culture perpetuated by Judd Apatow, etc.
The International Male: Customs, policies, societal norms, expectations of men in other countries.
Every other Thursday (beginning 2/3):
Male Mythologies: Religious and mythological examinations of men – Adam’s Rib, Greek mythology, etc.
Stereotypes and Etymology of Terms: the language of Male-Hood
Every other Thursday (beginning 2/10):
Cinematic Portrayal of Men: Men in film, men on television
Every other Friday (beginning 2/4):
Men and Redemption: Charlie Sheen, Ben Roethlisberger, Mel Gibson -How men get forgiven in culture, or do they?
Every other Friday (beginning 2/11):
Boys Club Deconstructed: Ivy Leages, Golf, ESPN, Pitchfork, Men’s Bath Houses, No Girls Allowed Signs