Would a real man major in 'men's studies'?
As if women's studies weren't frivolous enough, SUNY Stony Brook is now offering degrees in “men's studies” as well. I thought all I needed was a full-length mirror, but evidently there is more to learn.
Michael Kimmel stood in front of a classroom in bluejeans and a blazer with a pen to a whiteboard. “What does it mean,” the 64-year-old sociology professor asked the group, most of them undergraduates, “to be a good man?”
The students looked puzzled.
Dr. Kimmel is the founder and director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York system, which will soon start the first master’s degree program in “masculinities studies.”
He is the author of more than a dozen books, among them, “Angry White Men,” “Manhood in America: A Cultural History,” “Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men” and the “Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis,” of which he was a co-editor.
I guess you could say that Dr. Kimmel wrote the book on the penis. All that's missing is a how-to guide.
He is the founder of an academic journal devoted to men and manhood. He has studied manhood in more than a dozen countries.
But a full-fledged program for the study of masculinity, Dr. Kimmel said, would incorporate scholarship across disciplines -- from social work to literature to health. It would ask questions like: What makes men men, and how are we teaching boys to fill those roles? It would look at the effects of race and sexuality on masculine identity and the influence of the media and pop culture. It would also allow scholars to take seemingly unrelated phenomena — male suicide and the fact that men are less likely to talk about their feelings, say, or the financial collapse and the male tendency for risk-taking — and try to connect the dots.
This is all pedantic psychobabble. It's about as useful as majors in black studies or gay studies or women's studies. I can't help but wonder if it will be co-opted by the male gay mafia and used for recruitment.
The problem is that this "subject of study" is so obvious. If you're a man, you know what it means to be a man. If you're a woman, you know what it is to be a woman. If you're a feminist, you know what it means to be a self-hating woman. And so on.
What's next? A major in "eating studies"? "Sleeping studies"? Showering studies? Sex studies? Toilet studies? Universities make a mockery of themselves by creating such intellectually spurious, and quite useless, areas of study.
This article was produced by NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.