I wrote recently about the virulent new campus threat of “brophobia.” This is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek borrowing of the style and terminology of campus crusades against “homophobia,” but it serves to underscore the hypocrisy. The same people who plead for “tolerance” have adopted the practice of taking a large minority of the population—biological males who identify as masculine—and describing their sexual preference and gender identity as “toxic.”
This brophobia is now so rampant, casual, and unchecked on our college campuses that it is becoming—what’s the word I’m looking for?—oh, yes, it’s becoming “systemic.” The practice of demonizing men for their gender identity is being institutionalized.
A Claremont College student group recently hosted a “workshop” at a university “safe space” to discuss “the mental health problems caused by masculinity.”
The group’s Facebook page described its agenda this way: “Masculinity can be extremely toxic to our mental health, both to the people who are pressured to perform it and the people who are inevitably influenced by it.” A man who attended the event—it’s a little unclear from the reporting whether he was the only one—told the Claremont Independent “that there was ‘a common consensus that masculinity is harmful both to those who express it and those affected by it’ among attendees.” Isn’t that amazing? They held a meeting to produce a common consensus to repeat the pre-approved agenda of the meeting.
Or consider the Duke Men’s Project—launched, naturally enough, by the Women’s Center at Duke University—that is “dedicated to interrogating male privilege and patriarchy.”
“The program consists of a nine-week curriculum in which a group of male-identified students meet weekly to discuss themes and learning objectives planned by the leadership team.” Participants will “critique and analyze their own masculinity and toxic masculinities to then create healthier ones.” Sounds like they’re going to be coming up with a lot more of these “consensus” conclusions dictated beforehand.
The goal is “questioning how you can be accountable to feminism, to the women in your life, and to the larger community.” So the attendees are “doing our own part to proactively deconstruct masculinity” and reconstruct it in terms that are “accountable to feminism.” That’s interesting.
The idea that men’s behavior has to be accountable to and respectful of women, and a rejection of a brutish concept of masculinity, is not exactly new. As I’ve noted before, a lot of contemporary puritanical feminism is a clumsy attempt to reconstruct the old Victorian morals that were knocked flat by a previous generation of counterculture leftists. For example, we used to have a concept that kept masculinity from being “toxic.” It was called “chivalry,” and its purpose was to direct masculine strength toward the protection of women. But that’s not the spirit of the new rules, which is to replace private morality with political dogma. The point isn’t to make men accountable to women, it’s to make them accountable to feminism—that is, not to actual people but to a political ideology. And by the terms of that ideology, it is masculinity as such that is the problem, and men are to be educated out of it.
The Duke workshops are aiming for a turnout of a whole fifteen men out of a total Duke enrollment of 15,000 students, so let’s keep a little perspective on this. But what is concerning is the whole spirit of the thing and the university’s support for it. After all, can you imagine the furor if a university group were planning nine weeks of meetings on “toxic homosexuality”? This campaign against masculinity is advance warning of the new code they would like to impose, and how they would like to impose it. The problem is that they want to turn today’s college experience into a form of re-education camp.
As with previous re-education camps, they are trying to train people out of their normal, natural preferences and train them to reflexively repeat the official dogma of the era. So they have targeted masculinity, which—aside from actually being considered a desirable trait in a man by most women—can claim such additional historical achievements as protecting the home, winning wars, and helping to propagate the species. Little things like that.
But I suppose it is precisely because masculinity is normal, natural, and necessary that they have to work so hard to re-educate it out of us.