The Corner

Politics & Policy

Colleges Should Stop Treating Masculinity as a Problem


Many college professors, eager to find fault with the world, blame “toxic masculinity” and try to make their male students feel guilty. That fits in perfectly with the “woke” mindset, but, argues Canadian professor Judyta Frodyma in today’s Martin Center article, it’s a bad practice.

She writes, “As a lecturer in the humanities I have had the privilege and challenge of moderating discussions of controversial topics, often based on literary texts. Over the past two years, the number of students self-censoring or not speaking when a topic is seen as ‘not for them’ has increased dramatically. Insteadmany of them visit during office hours or write in course feedback to express their concerns about their ability to engage in their own education. In most of these cases, these students are male.”

Professors, particularly those in the humanities and those numerous “studies” programs, often believe that men are a big part of the problem and do exactly what they say society does to all the groups they favor — marginalize them.

“The increasingly toxic and exclusive intellectual climate in universities,” Frodyma continues, “is perpetuated among students. Yet much of what happens in the classroom is downstream of what happens in campus culture, and administrations respond in kind (perhaps excessively so, to the detriment of those they are trying to protect). Systemic change of gender relations is critical, but it cannot occur when half of the student population feels they cannot participate in the debate.”

True enough, but I’m afraid that many faculty members aren’t really interested in debate. They’re sure they have all the answers and don’t want opinions from men poisoning the atmosphere.

I think that Frodyma sticks the landing as she concludes, “Universities need to find a way to reward listening as well as talking, and to re-invite men into the conversation. Lecturers must learn to moderate in a way that creates difficult discussions for everyone involved. Involving all students and welcoming their views so long as they engage in open debate, gives students a true education without demanding ideological conformity.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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