Male student looking at the camera as the other students look at books

A male-positive approach to literature

The new male studies offer an affirmative alternative to traditional gender scholarship on boys and men.

Unlike pervasive men’s-studies research, Male Studies inquiries are essentially male positive: their methodologies not only celebrate men who embody different masculinities, but also critique —and suggest strategies for overcoming— systemic inhibitors of masculine affirmation.

Misandric constructions of masculine identities in gynocentric educational environments have resulted in males experiencing serious education deficits. This paper reports on a qualitative study undertaken in a British-Literature course on Victorian Manhood that offered students a male-positive approach to understanding the texts and their contexts and that solicited their written feedback on what they had learned from this experience.

The Victorian Manhood Question

Since the fourteenth century, men’s identities and conduct had been conceived of as a question of manhood; manhood had elucidated men’s difference from women and boys, men’s sexuality, men’s duty to society, and men’s courage. Manhood, moreover, had traditionally been contingent, a reputation that a man had to attain and maintain. In newly industrial nineteenth-century Britain, the manhood question considered traditional and new ways a man might grow into and sustain a meaningful, productive, and commendable type of manhood.3

My Victorian Manhood Question course examined these traditional and new ways of attaining and sustaining manhood within four topics:

  • Contending Manhood Identities in George Eliot’s Adam Bede, (a novel set in the early nineteenth century when proto-industrial manhood began to contend with gentlemanliness as the measure of a man);
  • Industrial Manhood (which examined debates by Thomas Carlyle, Thomas Babbington Macaulay, and Karl Engels about the consequences for men of submitting themselves to be labor as manufacturing tools);
  • Artistic Manhood (which examined works by John Ruskin, Matthew Arnold, D. G. Rossetti, Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde that explored art’s role as moral edifier, social unifier, or antagonist to industrialization), and finally
  • Imperial Manhood (including W.E. Henley’s “Invictus” and Kipling’s “If—” which encouraged male stoicism in the name of empire building).

Throughout the course students were encouraged to consider the extent to which the question of manhood had changed or stayed the same for men in the twenty-first century.

What Students Claim to Have Learned from the Course

I offered an end-of-the semester summative assessment that asked the twenty-two participating students to write about their most important lesson, concept, or experience gained from the course, and I used their papers as the basis for a qualitative study of what they had learned from this male positive educational experience.

To encourage the students to express themselves freely, I graded this assignment only on whether the work had been satisfactorily completed, not on what was reported: students who adequately completed the assignment were given full credit for it.

For the study I grouped their papers into three categories:

  • first, those safe, stock responses that merely reiterated either points made in class or traditional gender-studies commonplaces (five students chose to write those);
  • second, those papers that demonstrated their authors’ ability to undertake a male-positive approach to understanding manhood in both the texts we read and broader socio-historical contexts (thirteen students wrote such papers);
  • and finally, those works that bore witness to their authors’ decision to embrace aspects of a male-positive philosophy, one that celebrates masculinities, critiques their construction, and potentially resists pervasive gynocentric and misandric representations of men (four students’ work provided such evidence).

I will only discuss those student responses from the latter two categories because they offer clear evidence that this course successfully enabled more than three-quarters of the students to understand and apply the salient concepts of the course to the literature, its respective contexts, and their lives.

Among the respondents who successfully applied a male-positive approach to the texts and their broader contexts, both women and men commented on the normative gynocentrism they experienced in literature classes.

Janey, for example, marveled that the course enabled her, “to look at gender roles in a different way.” Moreover, she noted that “literature… isn’t all about women,” that after “analyzing women’s roles in literature for the majority of the time [she] has been studying English, it was refreshing to focus on something new.”

Mickey similarly noted that “it is refreshing to have the male gender” studied “in a positive light,” that “the texts… read throughout the course… were a refreshing change from the norm.”

Both genders also commented on how misandric assumptions pervade our society: Elsie remarked that the course successfully “allowed [her] to see that men shouldn’t always be seen in a negative way as today’s society tells us we should” and Roger noted that Kipling’s advocating for stoicism in the face of adversity in “The White Man’s Burden” “stands for the greater burden of all men [commonly and regularly] portrayed in the media.”

Women and men, however, differed in their reactions to this misandry: the former were surprised at the profundity of the social pressures and the responsibilities inherent in the manhood question and the latter felt vindicated that their experience was being afforded dignified recognition.

Ella appreciated learning about the “the duties and pressures different cultures and time periods put on men”; moreover, she came to appreciate that “men have always displayed tremendous effort to help others besides themselves.”

Christine acknowledged the inadequacy of her “stereotypical view of men” to account for the complexity inherent in male-positive criticism: she concluded that as a result of examining “the manhood question, and defining manhood,” she now understood that “a man is very multidimensional.”

Among the male students, Theo remarked on the “enormous pressure on men to live up to [society’s moral] standards”; in addition he appreciated that “respecting these pressures and treating men with dignity” was inherent “in a male-positive approach” to literature.

Sam also noted that “very few people take the time or effort to consider how the men in society are perceived and the pressures that are placed on them”; he was grateful that the course afforded him “a deeper and more cultured understanding of [manhood and masculinity]—something he “thought” he had “figured out.” Sam concluded with satisfaction, “that is all you can really ask for from a class.” These male students clearly felt pleased that the course had respectfully addressed their educational needs.

Unique to the men’s responses to the course was an appreciation of both the male-appropriate content of the course—evident in those readings that sought better to understand men’s experiences— and the interest that the course stimulated. after remarking that “there is a lot of pressure put on a man to fit [socially determined, changing roles], Kelvin, for example, discovered that “it’s through literature that we can understand the thoughts and feelings [a] man has [when] he undergoes scrutiny which truly defines [his] manhood and masculinity,” and Adrian concurred that the central issues of the Victorian Manhood Question, “are qualities we [men] still hold onto [and] try and mold ourselves accordingly… because of all of the success” that accompanies them.

These men certainly understood that the course encouraged a greater understanding of men’s experience of the social pressures inherent in the manhood question in both the Victorian era and the twenty-first century.

Three students praised the male-oriented literature and male-positive approach to it for effectively generating interest in the course topics: Charles remarked that the course “was more interesting to [him] than most literature courses” because it “focused on… masculinity and literature” and this “allowed [him] to learn more because [it] avoided the drollness of most literature course” and “allowed [him] to think more open-mindedly about literature than most courses offered” at the college. roger concurred, praising the course for offering “something more relatable [to him], mak[ing] things much more interesting and keep[ing him] engaged.”

Among the three men who valued the course for being interesting was one who saw similarities between the male-positive aspects of this approach to manhood and his personal struggle with his work ethic and self-confidence.

Collin noted that the topic of Victorian manhood “gave the course an interesting twist that made it enjoyable.” He candidly acknowledged: “I have struggled with self-confidence in all areas of my life,” and in the process of working hard to improve [his] self-confidence, he came to “agree with the Victorian concept that hard work and confidence prove a person’s manhood.” Collin clearly saw the benefits of a male-positive approach to understanding his own experience and was one of four to adopt aspects of its philosophy as his own. Like Collin these students understood that there are similarities between the laudable struggles of Victorian men to attain and sustain manhood and their own twenty-first-century struggles.

Nat, for example, noted how lessons learned in the class —and particularly the strong male character in Henley’s “Invictus”— will “allow [him] to be a better man” and “attain manhood.” Two students, however, took their male-positive involvement further: choosing to commit themselves both to adopting a male-positive philosophy in their work and their lives and to critiquing and resisting the misandry they encountered.

Ted recognized how the gynocentric nature of his education had caused him to internalize misandric ways of thinking about men. He remarked that misandry, “is similar to the mindset… present in previous courses [he had taken]”; moreover, he felt, “finally to take a class that focused on the elimination of [misandry] was [both a relief] and enlightening.” Ted shared the following reflection: “I was very interested to see how my thoughts about men had been tinted/shaded from past classes, and I was eager to try and eliminate this type of thought process. This aspect of the course educated me on how to look at men and comment on their actions without coloring my thoughts with a bitter tone.”

Alex similarly adopted a male-positive attitude to his educational experience and his extracurricular life, striving for a persistent healthy resistance to the gynocentrism he had encountered in class and at home. “Throughout my life I had never really thought about a male positive approach to anything” Alex remarked; “this class has really taught me to look at stories through multiple lenses because I will always read and analyze stories with a slight male-negative view out of habit, but now I know to stop and look at the same story from a male-positive view in classes and in life.”

In sum, Alex committed himself to becoming what he succinctly expressed as “a better me based on what I want and not on what others project onto me.” Collin, Nat, Ted, and Alex demonstrated through their thoughtful work that carefully accommodating male students in literature courses can have profoundly positive impacts on their lives.

Conclusions

From this teaching experience I offer two interesting observations: first, men of varying levels of academic preparation and commitment to studying literature (reflected in their final course grades) benefitted from a male-positive approach to Victorian literature. The students who either successfully undertook male-positive readings of the texts and their context or chose to adopt a male-positive philosophy represented various levels of academic achievement (their course grades ranged from A though D+).

Indeed, those male students who had found the concepts taught in this course sufficiently useful to adopt a male-positive philosophy were men who experienced different levels of academic success in the course.

Second, only male students were in the latter category of male-positive adopters. No women in the class demonstrated a commitment to future allied behavior.

This qualitative study suggests that a male-positive approach to teaching literature —and other courses— could beneficially engage men in exploring their identities through literature and in all aspects of their lives; this approach could also help them build the confidence to demand environments that would succeed academically. Doing that would require them to challenge the gynocentric bias they encounter in academic environments. Moreover, adopting a male-positive approach would not disadvantage women students; they performed as well as the men on the assessments in this Victorian Manhood course.

Although none committed herself to male-positive allied behavior, the women in the class gained a better understanding of men’s identities and an appreciation of the costs and benefits inherent in males’ negotiations of the manhood question.

_______________________

Addendum: The New Male Studies and a Male-Positive Approach to Reading Literature

The New Male Studies offer an affirmative alternative to traditional gender scholarship on boys and men. Unlike pervasive men’s-studies research, which is fundamentally informed by feminisms, Male Studies inquiries are essentially male positive: their methodologies not only celebrate men who embody different masculinities, but also critique —and suggests strategies for overcoming— systemic inhibitors of masculine affirmation.

Moreover, the precepts informing male-positive methodologies also differ from customary patriarchal assumptions: rather than concerning themselves with what men want for women and for other subordinated men, Male Studies explore what men want for themselves.

The practice of Male Studies involves acutely attending to how masculinities are inscribed in texts, textual criticism, and pedagogy. In much Western culture, misandric and gynocentric value judgments have profoundly hindered boys’ and men’s wellbeing; for example, reductive chivalric and patriarchal stereotypes; which regard males as little more than pleasers, placaters, providers, protectors, and progenitors; have designated the male body primarily as an instrument of service rather than lauding it as the dignified embodiment of a sentient boy or a man.1 Similar misandric constructions of masculine identities in gynocentric educational environments —particularly those that imagine maleness is in crisis or in need of a cure— have resulted in males experiencing serious education deficits.3

Men are increasingly underrepresented in higher education: Peg Tyre reports that, “[in] 2005,… 57.2 percent of the undergraduates enrolled in american colleges and universities were women,” that “women are [now] better educated” than men, and that “[at] present, 33 percent of women between twenty-five and twenty-nine years of age hold a four-year degree compared to 26 percent of men” (Trouble 32).

Data from a 2010 report published by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) updates these percentages to thirty-five percent of women and twenty-seven percent of men (aud et al. 214).4

A 2008 American Association of University Women report on girls’ performance in education notes that women have earned more bachelor degrees than men since 1982, and that women earned approximately fifty-eight percent of all the bachelor degrees conferred in 2005-2006 (Corbett et al. 55, 62). In 2007-2008, women earned sixty-two percent of associate’s degrees, fifty-seven percent of bachelor’s degrees, sixty-one percent of master’s degrees, and fifty-one percent of doctoral degrees (aud et al. 216).

At recent conferences and in the recently launched New Male Studies: An International Journal, scholars have begun to challenge misandric stereotypes and to remedy gynocentric educational biases by applying male-positive methods to textual analysis and teaching practice. I recently designed and taught a course on the Victorian Manhood Question that adopted celebratory and critical male-positive teaching strategies; most students demonstrated that they had understood how misandry and gynocentrism adversely influence not only representations of men and manhood, but also males’ lives; in addition, some even resolved to resist these negative representations whenever they encountered them in literature and in their lives.

A note about this paper

Affiliated with the Modern Language Association of America, the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) hosts an annual conference primarily for scholars working in the Northeastern United States and Canada.

Papers are presented on topics concerning various languages, their literatures, and their pedagogies. In addition, NeMLA supports special-interest caucuses that both investigate certain challenges faced by those working in academe and organize conference panels that address these challenges. among these groups is the Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus that, according to its web page, “welcomes members interested in feminist scholarship, women’s and gender studies, and the status of women in the profession at all stages of their careers.”

NeMLA does not currently maintain a men’s caucus. Above is one of three papers presented by members of the staff of New Male Studies at the 44th annual NeMLA convention held in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 22, 2013, hosted by Tufts University. The other two papers are included in this issue (see NMS issue below).

Each paper offers practical examples of male-friendly strategies that enhance critical inquiry and teaching methods. They comprised a panel, “The New Male Studies in Praxis: Male-Positive Criticism and Classroom Practice,” that was initially proposed by one of the presenters (Dennis Gouws) as either a pedagogy or a women’s and gender-studies panel and was accepted as one among nineteen pedagogy panels. Twenty-eight women’s and gender studies panels were accepted.

_______________________

Footnotes

1. Nathanson and Young’s examinations of assumptions about men in western culture persuasively demonstrate how misandry and gynocentrism collude to disadvantage men in popular culture, legal discourse, and contemporary spiritualism.

Although written more than a decade ago, the first work in the series, Spreading Misandry, effectively models an acute critical attentiveness to negative inscriptions of masculinities in popular culture. In spite of differing on the importance of literary texts to the development of chivalry, Nigel Saul and Maurice Keen acknowledge the influence of gynocentric values on Chivalry.

Keen observes “The conception that chivalry forged of a link between the winning of approbation by honorable acts and the winning of the heart of a beloved woman also proved to be both powerful and enduring; western culture has never since quite shaken itself free of it” (249-50); Warren Farrell explores the contemporary remnants of this conception in his discussion of The Chivalry Factor. The chivalry debate in recent popular essays by Emily Esfahani Smith, Mark Trueblood, and Peter Wright offers vivid testimony of its topicality in the twenty-first century.

2. In addition to Peg Tyre’s work discussed below, see Christina Hoff Summers, Chapter Seven, “Why Johnny Can’t, Like, Read & Write.” The updated and revised edition of this book; due to be published in August, 2013, pays more attention to the male-hostile educational environment and offers some suggestions to make the educational experience more boy friendly.

3. Herbert Sussman and John Tosh have produced thoughtful, but not necessarily male-positive, scholarship on nineteenth-century British manhood. This field offers many productive opportunities for New Male Studies research.

References

-Aud, Susan; Hussar, William; Planty, Michael; Snyder, Thomas; Bianco, Kevin; Fox, Mary Ann; Frohlich, Lauren; Kemp, Jana; Drake, Lauren. The Condition of Education 2010 (NCES 2010-028). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC, 2010. Print.

-Corbett, Christianne; Catherine Hall, and Andresse St. Rose. Where the Girls Are: The Facts about Gender Equity in Education, Washington D.C.: AAUW Education Foundation, May 2008. Print.

-Esfahani Smith, Emily. “Let’s Give Chivalry Another Chance.” The Atlantic. 10 december 2012. Web. 24 March 2013.

-Farrell, Warren. The Myth of Male Power: Why Men Are the Disposable Sex. New York: Berkley Books, 1994. Print.

-Hoff Sommers, Christina. The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men. New York: Touchstone Books, 2000. Print.

-Keen, Maurice. Chivalry. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1984. Print.

-Nathanson, Paul and Katherine K. Young. Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001. 2006. Print.

-Saul, Nigel. Chivalry in Medieval England. Cambridge, MA, 2011. Print.

-Springfield College Victorian Manhood Essays. Spring, 2011. Print.

-Sussman, Herbert. Victorian Masculinities: Manhood and Masculine Poetics in Early Victorian Literature and Art. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. 2008. Print.

-Tosh, John. A Man’s Place: Masculinity and the Middle-Class Home in Victorian England. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. Print.

-Trueblood, Mark. “Do you want chivalry or equality? Yes?” A Voice for Men. 10 January 2013. Web. 24 March 2013.

-Tyre, Peg. The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do. New York: Crown Publishers, 2008. Print.

-Wright, Peter. “The Rise of Chivalric Love: The Power of shame.” A Voice for Men. 30 March 2013. Web. 4 April 2013.

_____________________________________________________
Article originally published as ‘A Male-Positive Introduction to the Victorian Manhood Question’ in New Male Studies: An International Journal ~ ISSN 1839-7816 ~ Vol. 2, Issue 2, 2013 pp. 68-74, 2013 Australian Institute of Male Health and Studies

About Dennis Gouws

Dennis Gouws is Professor of English at Springfield College and Director of Arts and Education at the Australian Institute of Male Health and studies.

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  • FrayedLace

    Very good article. From their self-reports, it seems like those students were starved for realistic, complex portrayals of masculinity.

    • Alph

      I come bearing bad news. Please read this comment carefully –

      Feminists in Sweden have created ‘Machofabriken’ or ‘The Macho Factory’ (Google it) to deal with men’s issues WITHIN feminism.

      I warned about this a long time back.

      Please think about what will happen now. What will happen is ‘Forever Feminism’

      By creating a sector dealing with men’s issues, within feminism, they have effectively found a way to justify and perpetuate feminism forever. Men are now in their debt eternally, and this debt will never be erased.

      Please, do not let something similar happen here as well. If it does, we will never be able to even question feminism, let alone eradicate it. We must push for Human Rights organization to replace feminism.

      • confusion

        I don’t think that’s much of a concern; the whole reason for the MHRM is the piss-poor handling of men’s issues within feminism on the rare occasions they’re even willing to acknowledge them. They’ve tried to address men’s issues within feminist theory before, and they always come to the same conclusion; men are the issue.

        The people who don’t buy that shit come flocking to sites like this one, and the few self-hating clowns who get sucked in by it are too busy marginalizing themselves as penitence for their male privilege to speak with any authority.

        • Vivica Liqueur

          It’s unfortunate but true that this is how Feminism has been portrayed. I am a Feminist and I stand by the true and original intention of Feminism-equality for ALL genders. I hold onto this term in the hopes of bringing that definition back to Feminism and creating a clear distinction between that and what has turn into misandric extremists of all genders.

          There are us Feminists who are fighting for men’s rights and for the end of misandry without a hidden agenda. All with intention to remember we are all human, and all deserve to be treated with love and feel safe, nurtured and supported.

          Feel free to come share your voice: https://www.facebook.com/CockConsciousness

          Cock Consciousness: awareness of the beauty and power of the lingam and in this, the beauty and power of man.

          Shifting how men and men’s bodies are viewed in society into healthy and nurturing.
          All genders welcome to share love and knowledge in supporting men. Remembering men and lingam as a source of life and beauty.
          Only love and knowledge are welcome here.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            Also, to be clear, I was stating that I am a Feminist in my part of reclaiming the word. I’m not claiming Cock Consciousness as a Feminist movement, it’s a movement about supporting loving men without any political label. All are welcome of any political,non-political, religious, non-religious etc belief system with the basis of loving men and supporting the end of misandry.

          • OneHundredPercentCotton

            Sorry, but I reject the notion that feminism was ever about “equality”. Feminism has ALWAYS been about demanding privilege without responsibility. Compare women proudly showing off their prison uniforms when jailed for the right to vote to all the legions of women in prison uniforms for the right to serve in the military or die in combat to EARN that right, the same way men did.

            Zip. Zero. Nada god damn one.

          • theoutside

            Men are more than cocks, Viv. Just for your information. And if a movement is for all, why call it FEMinism?

            Finally, I believe that the MHRM is definitely political, in the sense of using rational arguments with evidence, and then, on that basis, bringing protests, lawsuits, and strikes, as needed.

            We do not need your “cock consciousness.” Take it someplace else. It has been my experience that feminists have all too much of it, and always have had. In this sense, you are one more typical feminist, reducing men to their genitalia, whether viewed positively or negatively. You are the flip side of the circumcisers.

          • OneHundredPercentCotton

            Thank you, Outside, couldn’t have said it better. I’m here to support my son’s basic human rights. He isn’t a “cock” to me, anymore than you, Alcoholic Liqueur, are a just a “cunt”.

          • Alph

            “There are us Feminists who are fighting for men’s rights”

            Sorry, but no, thank you, we do not need Feminists to fight for men’s anything. If we let feminists do something for men today, we will not be able to oppose feminism tomorrow.

            How about this – Let MRA’s fight for women’s issues? Of course, that would mean feminism would no longer be required.

            So, do we have a deal?

          • AlexB

            So you don’t believe in a Patriarchy theory that oppresses women?

            And you do realize ‘feminism’ itself is a gender-biased name?How do you rationalize the use of a gender-biased name for a self-proclaimed gender-equality movement?The usual answer I get is that it’s because women have been historically discriminated against based on their sex, which by itself is true but as someone, I assume, who views men and women as equally valuable human beings(and of course against sexism) one would think you would focus on the sex that got the worse end of sexism rather than the better end, in which case renaming it to masculism would make it more relevant to gender-equality than feminism ever did.This doesn’t negate any discrimination women have faced historically but to say they got the worse end of sexism or in equal amounts to men is plain devaluing of men’s lives throughout history.

            It’s like saying, telling a woman to cook for her husband is worse or is as bad as telling a man to step in front of the bullet if someone were to shoot his wife(considering both of them are equally valuable human beings and it’s a comparison between cooking and a life threatening situation the latter has it worse, wouldn’t you agree?).There’s no possible way to spin this to ‘women got/get the worse end of sexism’ without considering the lives of men less valuable than that of women – which traditionalists also do(you know the ones who ‘oppress’ women).

            And please don’t give me the ‘it’s men in power who decide these things’ argument, men are boys before they are men and if mothers(along with fathers and rest of society) teach boys gynocentric mindsets, it shouldn’t be surprising that they maintain and try to spread the same mindsets to others when they grow up.

          • onca747

            Vivica I give you points for trying.. but if you really are a Feminist who has true gender equality and the rights of men and boys at heart, then you are part of a very small minority. I suggest a long, hard look at the movement you claim to be a part of, along with a possible change of terminology.

          • OneHundredPercentCotton

            “And please don’t give me the ‘it’s men in power who decide these things’ argument, men are boys before they are men and if mothers(along with fathers and rest of society) teach boys gynocentric mindsets, it shouldn’t be surprising that they maintain and try to spread the same mindsets to others when they grow up.”

            Not to mention the fact that every last “man in power” has been decided, voted on and put in that position by the majority voters – WOMEN – since the Reagan presidency.

            EVERY last “man in power” currently was given that power by WOMEN as enforcers to do their bidding since, after all, men are prepared to FIGHT and DIE(or force other men to fight and die) to earn their so called “privilege”, while women simply do not do that.

            Not for themselves, not for other women and certainly not for men.

          • DragonFire

            I felt compelled to comment on this, and agree with some of the others above.

            While you may be trying to do a good thing, you are coming across as condescending, and, honestly, a little pervy.

            Cock Conciousness? I’m very conscious of my cock, it’s been there my whole life. I don’t need people to give my cock more consciousness, I need our various legal systems and processes to respect my human rights, and not consider me to be some raping, domestic abusing time bomb waiting to go off.

            Viv, it seems you really are trying to do a good thing, but, to me, it comes across as a token ‘oh we’ll throw the word cock in there, and that’ll do for men’s rights.’

            Points for effort, but please, how would you feel if you were invited to a group called ‘CuntConciousness’ ??

      • theoutside

        It is not a problem, that’s just a rehash of rubbish they’ve been spewing for decades — that men themselves are “victims of patriarchy” and they want to help us. Feminist Jurisprudence, VAWA, and similar things are examples of their “help.”

        Do not be alarmed. We ignore that type of con here.

      • AlexB

        They named it ‘The Macho Factory’?That’s not insulting to men and masculinity at all/sarc/.It’s probably a good idea to keep an eye on it but I’ve hunch, for feminists, it’s going to be a move from shooting themselves in the feet to taking a shotgun to their own faces.

        • Vivica Liqueur

          Very interesting.

          Onca747 I understand what you are saying. When a Masculinist tells me he is such, I do not think he is only for men. All of the Masculinists I have met also stood very strongly in women’s rights. That being said. There is so much hatred already in the feminist movement that perhaps what I speak of is as if wishing for a unicorn. Why do I cling to it? Why do I use the term feminist? Because as I said I believe the basis was made for equality of all genders. The current Feminist movement has overshadowed that, and you are right it is time for me to lay down that term. I’m going to research and see what really holds true to how strongly I feel for all humans, regardless of gender.

          As far as Cock Consciousness, never would I say a man is just his genitalia. Nor am I here to enroll anyone, I am sharing the movement that is underway. Men’s rights are important to all, regardless of gender and should also be kept from pompous fools [of any gender] trying to groom men to be what they want them to be-so I understand the trepidation, and it’s horrible that men have been treated so terribly by women that the immediate reaction to a woman’s involvement is ‘piss off’. But, I get it and I don’t judge you for it. I’m always learning in all of this as well, so I’m here to listen too.

          There has been so much shaming of men’s bodies cock/penis/lingam whatever term you please it is important for the world to stop being so scared of the penis and of men. All of men are discussed in Cock Consciousness. Often in books there is a separation when discussing men it’s rarely the connection with body, mind, hear and soul as if a man’s body should not be seen or spoken of. I’ve seen books on the penis but the penis is always presented in a joking manner, not much love at all nor is the man himself discussed. There is always the disconnect. With Cock Consciousness, there is no disconnect between body, heart, mind acknowledgment, love and appreciation. That is what this is about. I will look over the definition and description that I wrote again, to see what I can do to be clearer of the intentions of this space.

          Also, to create a safe space where men can talk to other men and rebuild the brotherhood of man that has been stifled and is often attacked. So important for men to feel safe amongst each other too.

          I notice so many attacking men, not just women doing this but men as well, and misandry needs to end. As I do not stand for misogyny nor do I stand for misandry, they are the same, flip sides of the same coin and it’s time to heal.

          • theoutside

            Ok, Viv. I apologize for my harshness. Having looked at the site, I think you are perhaps a sincere person. If so, welcome to the MHRM.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            theoutside: Thank you. I do my best, we all have a long way to go before we are complete with the brainwashing we are raised with, misandry included.

        • Vivica Liqueur

          AlexB I do not believe patriarchy empowers anyone, regardless of gender. I don’t see the terms feminist or masculinist as only standing for one gender. However, for clarity, and to fully empower what I stand for-humans-it’s best I lay down all labels.

          I am a human, who stands for humans to all feel happy, supported, loved, nurtured and safe.

          I read all that you expressed and you answered your question with the answers of what you are used to receiving. I’m sorry that you have been faced with such blatant dismissal of your pain and the dismissal of a man’s struggle.

          Agreed, it is a vicious cycle. The pointing towards masculinity as the root of evil is misguided, wrong and detrimental. That is what I’m working on healing.

          Much love to you all. Again, I do not judge you for sharing your rage and or hate with me, I understand it has been a lifetime of abuse towards men by my gender.

          Misandry has become common place in every day life, it cannot continue. I believe awareness is where change begins. I wish to start the healing and hopefully one day, we can all be seen as equals in each others eyes.

          • A. Anthony Villareal

            I’ve seen this fake olive branch so many times. Please don’t assume we are all angry with you solely for your gender – not all feminists are female and not all MRA’s are male. The fact remains that you hold fast to your belief in patriarchy therefore, for you that means men are still the problem. As stated above by someone else: “Do not be alarmed. We ignore that type of con here.”

            I don’t hate you; I don’t know you well enough and I just don’t believe you.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            What do you mean I ‘hold fast’ to my ‘belief’ in patriarchy? I don’t believe in the system at all, as I do not believe in a matriarchal system. Enlighten me on what you mean by this.

            And no, I do not see men as a ‘problem’, that is an awful statement. Men happen to be human and in that a part of me, as I am human.

            As you do not know me enough to hate me, then please do not state that I consider men a ‘problem’ that is not true.

            And, again, I see the basis of your skepticism, but that’s just not me.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            By the way, I can hold space, bring up topics, but the important input is men. No I cannot say what you need, no I cannot say what is best for you-I am not you. I’m not here to create something in the guise of ‘empowering you’ but really telling you or trying to mold you into what I think you should be-I’ve seen this done SO many times and it’s a load of crap-because I don’t have a way men should be, I worked many long years into pulling out of deep seated brainwashing [on many other topics as well, which raises self responsibility level and really feels great to heal] and continue to do so daily. I’m not perfect, I’m always learning. This space is created to show the love of men how men are right now, not for what they do, what jobs they have, how they are in the dynamic of pleasing their lovers-men, right here, right now, being LOVED for the act of being. The simple beautiful act of being.

            That is why I created the space to open up the conversation to bring awareness of misandry, to encourage people to stand up for the love, support of men and the voice has to be that of MEN.

            People need to own their processes and heal instead of projecting all of their pain, fear and anger onto men.

            The fact that men gathering is attacked all the time, I created a space with intention to support men’s voice, bodies, connecting with each other for support and finding support in from genders. For men to know they are loved and men and their bodies will not be served up for judgement from anyone, no one has this right.

            I heard of the group in Harvard that was attacked by extremists told that their gathering was intention of misogyny-which was not the case at all. Men seeking support from each other should not be labeled as a form of hate towards women. To automatically assume when men gather it is to be hateful is WRONG. To assume men are all a step away from being dangerous to women is just completely misguided and a detrimental view to men and everyone. It serves no human to assume a gender is evil. It also minimizes when men are in trouble or being hurt or abused by a woman.

            I’ve been with men who have shared their horror stories with me of the abuse they endured and stayed in because society taught them to stand up against being hurt made them ‘weak’.

            So, you don’t have to believe me, it’s OK. I know that skepticism is not unfounded.

            That being said I stand strongly in what I believe and what I believe in is equality for all genders. For this to happen misandry needs to be seen for what it truly is-hate.

          • A. Anthony Villareal

            If I am mistaken, then I am sorry. I misread the part about you reclaiming the title of feminism and then the bit about reconsidering and then there was the part about patriarchy and how you don’t think it empowers anyone. I was under the assumption that you are still aknowledging its existence. If my assumption was incorrect, then I guess I’ll be mumbling with my left foot in my mouth. As it stands, though, yes, I am skeptical and sometimes wrong but if my previous post caused you offense, then you’re in for a wild ride.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            A. Anthony Villareal:

            Ha! No, it’s OK, I’m not offended. When I ask it’s not me being passive aggressive, I just want to know how to make the page and movement better and I can’t do that from my view only no matter how true my intentions are as I am not a man, so I really am open to listening and hearing your voice.

            And I’m already on a wild ride! I tell you, ‘Cock Consciousness’ is really pushing people. What is interesting is some women take my creation of this as me not acknowledging what women have suffered. I’m not saying that at all, I’m also acknowledging men have suffered. I just don’t believe all men should be held to what criminals of their gender have done as I don’t believe all women should be held to what criminals of our gender have done.

            Now there are also many women who fully support the movement, so I’m not saying that all women are reacting that way. It’s been beautiful to see my sisters stand up for men and do so strongly and also lovingly support me in creating this space and facing what needs to be faced to keep it strong and filled with love.

            There is a page of ‘Cock Consciousness’ and some of the men suggest a group which I created so that men could speak more privately. The women who are invited to the group are only those who revere the space. In the group it’s been really wonderful to see men feeling safe to talk to each other and share their bodies if they feel like it in a space where they are supported and loved.

            The space is for the men and love of men and men’s bodies. I’m just holding the space and keeping it clear that it is about love. This may sound easy, but has become quite intense. Which is all perfect as those who oppose are only helping me check in more and learn how to articulate the movement better.

          • crydiego

            What is with all the Masculinist crap? I think you landed on the wrong website. This about men’s rights and equality. Who ever told you we were Masculinists?

          • Vivica Liqueur

            crydiego, I was saying that I don’t get turned off by the term masculinist and assume they don’t care about women’s rights when I meet them.

            At no point did I call this site or the men here masculinists.

          • crydiego

            Vivica
            You bring it up as a counter point to being a feminist but there is no counter point because the two are not equivalent in organization, power, or scope. You simply wanted to show how non-judgmental you are, and bring that word, derived from masculinity, into the conversation.
            You are simply, Over-the-top with non-judgment, universal love and cock talk. When ever I see something like this my bullshit meter goes into alarm.

          • AlexB

            Well, your assumptions about me completely missed the mark, personally, I’ve nothing to complain about any woman and for myself, I had a pretty smooth life, but that doesn’t make me blind other men’s problems.I’m here because of the general unfairness of it all and the intellectual dishonesty of feminists.Plus, if I’m ever going to get married or have kids, aspects of the legal system regarding those two is going to have to change – marriage,sex,relationships,kids are not worth ruining my life for.

  • greg

    Welcome Dennis, and thank you.

  • Aimee McGee

    Reading list please! You might just break a 25 year drought of reading literature since discovering how much I hated Wuthering Heights

    • Vivica Liqueur

      A reading list would be amazing! Oscar Wilde is already my fave author, but would love to read what else was available. Also, is this course available online anywhere?

  • Robert St. Estephe

    I could write a pages-long comment on this article but I will opt for the one-liner approach, which is this:

    Every college (without exception) needs a course like this — because the students have a right to access to this type of education.

  • Vivica Liqueur

    Beautiful article and very wonderful to know this exists! Is this study also available online by chance?

    • crydiego

      >>”Beautiful article and very wonderful to know this exists!”
      Your a troll plan and simple. You need to visit the Bash Back website. They believe like you do that feminism helps men and this is some kind of masculinity site! You’re just as confused as they are but be sure to let them know that feminist don’t accept transgender women as women.

      • Vivica Liqueur

        crydiego, you have not read anything I wrote or you would not have made that comment.

        • crydiego

          I read everything you wrote; I simply question your honesty and sincerity. Maybe I put it too harshly. Maybe I yelled when I should have spoke in a calm voice. I’m sorry for how I said it.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            It’s OK, no apology needed, I don’t take it personal. You’ve been very clear in your communication. It’s OK to question, in fact it’s necessary and important.

            Often on the internet things are misconstrued and easy to find trigger points.

            For example:

            I joined the group of the teacher of this article. He shared a photo of group of topless men in jeans with beautiful body love wording. He said it was an ‘interesting role reversal’. However-in the posting of the photo there was a description that the meme’s were taken off of a feminist and anti-male site and the role reversals of the photos was done to show the blatant sexism.

            This was very confusing to me as I did not see the sexism evident, then I went to the original and did not see the sexism there as it was body image love for women. I stated that body image love is not anti-male and that both the photos of the men expressing themselves was beautiful as was the women.

            He took that as an attack, did not understand what I was saying. He asked how often I had seen these images in the world and I said, pretty much never and we really need to see more of this and it’s beautiful. I went on to state how when I googled ‘loving men’ what showed up had absolutely nothing to do with loving men, however, reverse the gender and you can find the difference.

            After this he said in his own words-I’m paraphrasing, not quoting, to check into the mission of the group and if I could respond to comments ‘appropriately’-that I’m quoting- to let him know.

            Then, yes, I got pissed. ‘Excuse me? Did you not just read what I wrote?’ and then was kicked off the group.

            Earlier in the group when I offered to approach rape as classes where all people talking about rape regardless of gender being and all were held accountable, not a single person commented on that.

            When I shared my outrage on the comments that were blatant misandry, that was heard, but anything else I had to say such as suggesting that mental illness is indeed a reality, caught a backlash. Even after I stated I understood where they were coming from and also have my experience, so I do see it as real.

            I went on to share my experience with feeling ‘insane’ when I was pregnant and wondered if this was how people felt who had chemical imbalances and that I know it takes the body time to normalize after birth and the release of these hormones, and indeed that is a fact. So, I know the feeling, lived it and so I believe that mental illness is real. Perhaps some do ‘mimic’ as was shared in the reading material that one of the members shared but that it is also real. I also stated that no, this is not an excuse for criminal behavior. We were discussing the case were the woman thought Obama was after her and was shot with her child in the car. Not sure why she was shot if she was unarmed. She was said to have postpartum. I stated she may have snapped, it happens with people and even those who are mentally healthy can snap and post partum is a reality, I lived it. Apparently that was inappropriate? But my other comments were ‘appropriate’?

            SO, what I’m saying is now I’m the one questioning what his intentions are and if it includes listening.

            You cannot make change if you do not listen and him being rude to a person who questioned him? I am now a full blown skeptic myself.

            I am honest and sincere in my drive for equality and in this creating support for men to be heard. And I have many questions and much learning. But if I’m shut out how am I going to learn or understand? Just because I question? And well, I’m not an automaton, I do have feelings and I will express them. I do my best to be as professional as possible and do my best not take everything personal because at the end of the day, I know what I stand for and this movement is so important.

            That being said, I do my best to have space for whatever is flung at me because I know there is so much freakin’ pain in the world. But I even have my limits.

            So, again, no worries, feel free to be a skeptic. I sure have become one.

            All of that does not change that I will continue with the Cock Consciousness movement and continue to share my love of men and create and support spaces where men are heard, nurtured, loved and can feel safe.

            Much love to you and I wish you the best.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            Honestly though, if I’m going to do this movement any justice, I’m going to have to learn how to not take the anger of lifetimes of men’s pain as a personal attack. This is so much harder than it sounds. But it’s something I need to work on and remember that gender ground is very fragile and make sure my ego sits quietly and I learn how to listen as well.

            This movement has started some major shifts within me that I was not even aware needed to shift. Being confronted by all of this is, not sure I have the best words for it, but intense, revealing and I hope that I bring to this movement all that I truly believe in. That men can start the day in a world where you all know you are loved, safe, nurtured and appreciated.

            I’m doing my best. Now, just learning, can I learn how to listen without reacting?

            Even if it doesn’t look perfectly now, I refuse to watch men being persecuted and it being so freakin’ openly acceptable as if people are just having a normal conversation! Demonizing a gender is NOT normal!

            I just need to follow this passion and trust I will learn more every step of the way.

          • crydiego

            I wish you all the best too and I’m not all that comfortable with the article either.
            As you say gender ground is very fragile but for me it has never been just about gender. Feminism was a movement that started with some good intentions and became a political monster. Feminism provided a huge voting block and a way to divide and stall the civil rights movement for politicians on both sides. With political support feminism has grown into a political force that destroys its detractors while they buoy up those who supported them. Consider how the feminist treated Clarence Thomas compared to Bill Clinton when both were charged with sexual misconduct.
            Recently the, Violence Against Women Act, was past. This is sexist even in its name and was voted in by a majority!
            This isn’t real power; it’s the power of fear. You say you’re a feminist, but do you know who runs feminism? Who says what does or doesn’t agree with feminist ideals? Who tells the news departments that they have to give the feminist angle to so many things? Who tells the television and ad people to portray men as stupid and foolish. Who tells collages and courts they have to lean toward women, or employers, or the military. It is fear and money that tells them; they all fear feminism!
            Speaking only for myself, I’m here to help stop political feminism because I’m afraid. You on the other hand, you’re a women who waves her feminist banner and comes here with words of love and togetherness. Sure!
            Feminism and women are not the same thing. It just uses women for political power.
            Again, I wish you the best and we have talked enough.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            crydiego , yet again you dismissed what I have written. I do not own feminism nor claim feminism any longer I laid down that banner realizing there was no coming back from the damage that feminism has wrought. Feminism is a monster I clung to the word from some naivete thinking by putting my intentions into it I could change the whole movement. What a dream, and only a dream. There is no saving the movement from the horrors it has created and so I do not belong to any movement besides the one I’m creating ‘Cock Consciousness’.

            You stated all of those examples with the assumption that I would disagree, again, you did not take into account anything I wrote. But give yourself a pat on the back for raising your voice against a woman who of course must have some sort of evil agenda, or so goes the paranoia.

            It is beyond gender and I am a human being who believes in the rights of all human beings regardless of gender and I am also very aware of what is happening to men so that does need recognizing and I’m passionate about awareness.

            So as far as me ‘waving my feminist’ flag around you just proved how much you did not read what I wrote at all nor even care to understand what I stand for.

            You say you don’t care so much about gender but the fact is you are lying. You keep holding me to feminism even after what I wrote. It’s very clear you have no want to listen to a word I have to say because the voice is coming from me and I happen to be a woman which means I wave my-what was it? feminist banner around?? You are really clueless as to what I’m working on. Way to go and quite frankly I’m tired of the ignorance and sick of the psuedo listening and defensiveness. It’s a shame for you that you cannot take the time to listen and embrace people that are outside of your gender who really do care.

            I’m done not being heard here and I agree, we’re done talking.

      • crydiego

        What you said about being a feminist vivica
        >In your first comment you said: I am a Feminist and I stand by the true and original intention of Feminism-equality for ALL genders.

        >In your second comment you said: Also, to be clear, I was stating that I am a Feminist in my part of reclaiming the word.

        >In your third comment said: Why do I cling to it? Why do I use the term feminist? Because as I said I believe the basis was made for equality of all genders.

        >In your fifth comment you said: I don’t see the terms feminist or masculinist as only standing for one gender. However, for clarity, and to fully empower what I stand for-humans-it’s best I lay down all labels.

        You think it is best to lay down all labels, …..for clarity – an interesting use of words.

        And honestly, I do wish you well.

        • A. Anthony Villareal

          She may not be a troll but she is misguided with preconceived notions. Her website is:
          http://www.vivicaliqueur.moonfruit.com/

          I, too, wish you well, Vivica but there is much for you to learn about this place and our mission. I was wondering when you were going to ragequit when it doesn’t go to your liking. Like I said, you’re in for a wild ride. Not everyone here is male, by the way, and I can’t speak for everyone but you wouldn’t be ignored just because you’re a woman. Your last post speaks volumes about your misunderstanding of who we are and what we’re about.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            Ha! I’m still here, you can’t get rid of me that easily. My frustration was aimed at crydiego’s comments. Sorry, I didn’t start this movement to just stomp away from research with hurt feelings.

            ‘Misguided with preconceived notions’-interesting. It’s actually you that are misguided with preconceived motions of me, have been from the beginning since I came on here.

            Thank you for the free advertising by the way.

            I haven’t ‘rage quit’ nor do I need things to ‘go my way’, I’m trying to learn what I most likely have never been told before that you all clearly have knowledge about. And I wasn’t talking about everyone as you misread, which seems to be happening frequently on this thread, I was responding to crydiego’s comment.

            I’m still here, I just happen to be quite busy with the movement itself and cannot be on here all the time to respond quickly. Nor did I say everyone here was male. Again, was specifically responding to crydiego’s words.

            I’ve been reading this site for quite a long time and am clear what this site is about and clear what I am about, that’s why I’m here to gather information from here, learn and share it.

            If indeed you believe I have preconceived notions and have much to learn, why not enlighten me instead of bashing and closing the door?

            I’m actually able to process things quite quickly crydiego and I shift accordingly always working on evolving my thinking. I process things and share my process raw, that’s what I have done here.

            Creating the movement I have shared has been both extremely intense and extremely beautiful. I have dealt with people telling me that men do not deserve equal rights and me standing up for men is like denying the holocaust existed [I am denying that women have suffered they are saying] and that’s the sugar coated version. I have had women lash out at me as if I’m their freakin enemy. I’ve also had many women stand up and be inspired. I have had many men bash me telling me I’m not listening to women enough and denying women their voice and that women’s voice is valid too. I’ve also had many men who have been inspired, have found support with each other in the group and are grateful for the space.

            Does any of that sound like I take this lightly? And, not to mention, all of my own personal process being thrown in the mix. I process this movement every day, all day. How do I word things better? What do I do about people who are now purposely being even more misandric[crap, not sure on the grammar there] around me as if to challenge me to start verbal fights with me? Me pointing out misandry to close friends and family who some are receptive some are defensive and quite annoyed with me so I’m trying to find a way to tell them in better wording. I knew this would push people, but wow. I’m not budging, I love this stand, it’s a part of me and what I need to do and want to do. I’ve been moved to tears every day listening to the amazing men of the group and the beauty of the women in the group sharing their love, it’s been really amazing. Trumps that ‘wild ride’ you keep referring to, this is such an amazing force of unstoppable awakening.

            You want to bash me too? Get in line. But I’m not leaving. And I’m asking, as I’ve asked before, enlighten me! I don’t know everything there is to know, and I would like to know more.

            For instance, can someone explain to me do you believe we are in a gender-centric society now? Do you believe we are in a matriarchal society or heading towards one? Someone mentioned patriarchy, can you explain what patriarchy means outside of what we are regularly told?

            I apologize if I came in here like a bulldozer, I’m wired up, passionate and haven’t learned the best words to approach people or these spaces. I’m learning but yeah, OK, I’ll own it, my words are still a bull in a china closet. But I’m really trying to learn. So, help me learn, please or if you won’t at least point me towards accurate research and information. How am I supposed to know the core truths if all teaching has been skewed and no one will teach me the truth?

          • Vivica Liqueur

            Going to go do my research on antimisandry.com. So many different opinions. So far there are people who say matriarchy and patriarchy doesn’t exist, yet more people who say patriarchy built this country and supported feminism. This is all very confusing to unravel hoping I’ll find more reading that clarifies all of this. Again, if anyone has reading material on this they can point me to, that would be great.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            Finally, I found what I was looking for:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nGOxZnvANQ

            byGirlWritesWhat

            Anyone who has the same questions I had, MUST watch this.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            Wow. I came here thinking I knew what the hell I was talking about, you’re right, I was unaware of it, but I did come here with preconceived notions.

            Here I was thinking I knew so very much about men’s rights. My heart in the right place but I am really just only now seeing the truth of how deep the venom of feminism has been laid. Wow. I’ve been watching Karen Straughan as was suggested on another thread on this site and it’s been such an amazing debunking of everything I’ve been taught of so called patriarchy. And now I understand when it is said that patriarchy and matriarchy do not exist. Wow. I’m wondering who coined these terms?

            As someone else on here noted I’m having a ‘Rip Van Winkle moment’. I’m horrified about how clueless I’ve been for so long and it actually makes me really sad that this wool is pulled over so many people’s eyes and perpetuated and for so long! Repulsive.

            I see now that when I entered Dennis Gouws facebook group and this space here too I still had so much feminist armoring. I’m understanding crydiego’s comment now.

            Well, I have a lot to learn and I’m glad I have started. What blows my mind is that I had no idea how ignorant I really was and, I’m sure, I still am. I have much to learn for sure. This has been very humbling.

          • Vivica Liqueur

            I also get that men never had the luxury of being blind to the feminist movement as they live through the repercussions daily. Wow, that statement alone shares volumes on our society and the lie that women are oppressed! Holy crap!

            Wow, this is so intensely mind blowing. So, the feminist movement began with the idea that women are victims, that’s what they played off of! And women bought it because it was easier than taking responsibility if we could just be damsels in distress. If there is anything I have learned in my work as a Life Coach is that victims are really the perpetrators with the luxury of no self responsibility! SO to be a feminist is like screaming ‘I’m a weak woman with no mind of my own wah wah’ total supporting woman being infantile! Holy crap!

            So, those who have been attacked by the falsehood of the feminist ‘movement’ have this whole time been the very men who supported these women’s lively hood! My mind is freakin’ blown!! This is insane holy crap!

          • Vivica Liqueur

            By victim I don’t mean those who have actually been victimized I mean victim mentality.

            The big question here is, how does the communication happen so that every human has rights? How does the communication need to sound for people to get the hatefulness of feminism so they can make the transition to that of human rights?

            Hmm.

  • theoutside

    A good article. I hope there will be more such efforts. As Robert St.E., says, it is greatly needed.

  • http://gynocentrism.com/2013/07/14/about/ Peter Wright (Tawil)

    Mr. Gouws work provides a model for the world’s learning institutions who have forgot (completely, it seems) how to assess males in literature positively.

    I would invite any teachers or students to share first-hand accounts of how males in literature are viewed within classroom situations – positive or negative. It’s a conversation we need to have.

    Looking forward to seeing how Professor Gouws and the New Male Studies team develop this approach to learning into the future.

  • Mike Brentnall

    Echoing similar thoughts as FrayedLace above but will add a little more.

    IMO:

    The organized and centralized feminist ideal brought forth an insistence that all or many facets of female experiences be recognized for its own sake and/or to ameliorate problematic areas particular to the feminist conception concerning the interests of only women. Basis the observed behaviors of men of varied ages today I dare say that the ameliorating of conditions favouring women has always been prevalent throughout history regardless of the circumstances of any given period in history.

    Today, arrangements and various living conditions have been tailored to accommodate an easier transitioning of women into the greater Western world at large. I have good reason to believe that many men found here and elsewhere had been open and amenable to learning about the varied experiences of women. However these recent transitioning have transpired is yet another matter.

    The old “nature vs nurture” argument proposed by feminist academicians of the more recent past, regardless of how sound or not this theoretical dichotomy appeared, still presented itself. The concept of “nurture” happened to materialize itself within post secondary institutions. Feminists ‘nurtured’ an idea and thus changed the thinking of a generation thereby proving their ‘nurture’ argument. This to the point where many a young man have internalized the resulting bad man narrative proposed by ideological and mainstream feminism. One example of such thinking, which isn’t isolated to one lone individual, is exemplified by the analysis provided by Prof. Gouws and his syllabus featured above.

    Quoting one of Prof. Gouws’s students: of Gouws’s program, “this class has really taught me to look at stories through multiple lenses because I will always read and analyze stories with a slight male-negative view out of habit, but now I know to stop and look at the same story from a male-positive view in classes and in life.” The feminist narrative of “nurture”, the development of an idea, etc., was foisted upon an entire generation of young students, came to pass as the norm. Young men and others within post-secondary institutions were trained to believe in (nurtured) what was once regarded as legitimate feminist scholarship concerning sex roles.

    Yet “nature” has reared itself once again. Nature naturally broke away from the imposition of feminist structured nurture. Ted, one of Prof. Gouws’s students had realized that something was afoot and amiss in his course load: Ted, regarding misandry,: “is similar to the mindset… present in previous courses”. Plus, Ted was happy to: “finally to take a class that focused on the elimination of [misandry] was [both a relief] and enlightening.” “I was very interested to see how my thoughts about men had been tinted/shaded from past classes, and I was eager to try and eliminate this type of thought process. This aspect of the course educated me on how to look at men and comment on their actions without coloring my thoughts with a bitter tone.”

    Ted isn’t alone in his gauging of courses and attitudes within post secondary, as we will soon more discover. Those of us outside this educational institution are also inclined to view the university as a problematic source for emerging and existing attitudes of young people influenced by a philosophy whose content has, past or present, rarely been adequately scrutinized. Such has been the presence of women “holding up their half of the sky”. Easy acceptance of the feminist narrative is coming to a closure. Demanding a scholastic accountability of institutionalized feminist philosophy isn’t out of the question.

    We caught a good glimpse of what goes on inside universities today. Thanks to Dennis Gouws for his work.

  • Diana Davison

    The breakdown of the course into Proto-industrial, Industrial, Artistic, and Imperial phases is absolutely brilliant. The importance of the classroom is the discussion that takes place and exchanging of thoughts which a person just can’t access when reading the literature on their own.

    This article made my day! Four students “bore witness” and had their inner lives validated because of this course. While it’s invigorating to be a part of something that can help men all over the world with their healing, it is helping individual people which makes it all worth while. Collin. Nat. Ted. Alex. They are four of many reasons why we won’t give up.

  • dungone

    As someone who had second-rate feminist authors practically causing him to bleed from his eardrums throughout high school and college, I would have appreciated such a course.

    I’m noticing this theme of “pressure” to conform to a masculine ideal for this class, but not much of, say, plain old male disposability? Books such as All Quiet on the Western Front are very rarely read from the perspective of men’s issues; in fact they’re often spun in a gynocentric context where these are the horrible things that men do to one another. The “pressure” for men to behave a certain way is often mocked and ridiculed, such as young men being portrayed as naive idiots who want to become heroes by going off to war. They’re missing the entire point of that book, even as the book itself warns against those who will miss the entire point of men’s experiences. And such books are presented as a “lesson to be learned,” a warning against masculine ideals. I’ve never seen an educator really put a finger onto what that “pressure” on men was in a way that their students could really grasp – such as Emmeline Pankhurst’s White Feather campaign. And very rarely do they try to separate the propaganda that tried to force gender roles onto men from the literature that truly criticized that society in a way that was compassionate towards men. You don’t hear that sort of victim blaming when they discuss one of Amy Tan’s characters reflecting on her role as 3rd or 4th concubine to some rich man. What’s even worse I think is that you never hear about the compassion that even women had for men – so you hardly ever read something by Emma Goldman apart from cherry-picked passages that portray her as just another feminist when in reality the feminists of her time disgusted her.