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Male Studies (As Opposed to Women's Studies)

On Monday, the New York Times reported about the creation of a "Male Studies" program at Wagner College in Staten Island.

Christina Hoff Sommers, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of "The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men" decided to throw in her two cents (and really, that's what it's worth) saying, "I am concerned that it's widespread in the United States that masculinity is politically incorrect."

Dr. Lionel Tiger, a professor of anthropology at Rutgers, and supporter of Male Studies, identifies feminism as the root of all evil, calling it, "a well-meaning, highly successful, very colorful denigration of maleness as a force, as a phenomenon."

Wow. Where to start? Well, first of all, the last time I checked, any course with the word "history" in it is generally the study of the actions of men. Now, I can't say for certain if that's true at the university level, but I know it is for sure at the high school level. My current history book has neat little side-bars about notable women, as if to say,"Hey, kids, every 20 pages out of this 1000+ page textbook we're going to devote 4 sentences to a GENUINE FEMALE!" Progress, clearly.

But seriously, masculinity politically incorrect? REALLY? So the fact that there are dozens of hyper-masculine action movies that come out each year to great commercial success...thats just a coincidence, huh? Oh, and what about the fact that guys who are even slightly feminine are terrorized in high schools across the country (I have seen this firsthand, don't even try to deny it)? I think that theory needs some work.

And can we please stop enforcing the idea that feminism is man hating? IT IS NOT MAN HATING!! Maybe if these people who hate feminism so much bothered to sit down and talk to an ACTUAL feminist (not a stereotype), maybe do some reading, they would come away with a different conclusion.

I'm not saying feminism - or the field of women's studies for that matter - is without its problems. I've been researching women studies programs across the country myself, and the general theme is that though they may be called "Women's Studies" programs, they are almost always more focused on the intersection of race, class and gender than just studying women.

Maybe instead of "Women's Studies" and "Male Studies" we can just have "Gender Studies." Would that be so bad?



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Julie Zeilinger
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