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Stuff: Introduction to men's studies

Published: Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Updated: Monday, February 28, 2011 18:02

09/20/05 - I'd like to propose a new class at the University of Rhode Island: men's studies. Actually, scratch that - I recommend that we do away with the women's studies program all together, changing it to gender studies, and begin including classes that focus on the unique aspects of being a man.I know what you're thinking - "Chris, most literature, education, etc. is already one giant men's studies course!" - but I disagree. True, until recent times, men have dominated many mainstream aspects of society, written most of the predominant literature and controlled access to most resources.

Women's studies provides people with a place to explore the unique aspects, contributions and struggles of womanhood. However, while much of the educational literature until recent times may have been written and dominated by men, it doesn't actually examine what "maleness" is all about.

The current state of man is pathetic. Now, I'm not talking about "man" in the greater human sense - I'm referring to men: males, hunters and as of recently, castrated wuss-bags. While men may have had and may still have control over many valuable resources, women still have control over the one resource that will bring any straight man to his knees (figuratively, of course!): Sex.

I've taken a couple of women's studies classes, so I'm well aware of the common feminist argument: Women are oppressed; men are not. Why, my fellow men may be asking? Because, according to feminist thought, women are "damned if you do, damned if you don't," while men are only "damned if you don't."

A classic feminist example: if a woman chooses to have casual sex, she may be referred to as a slut; if she chooses not to, she's called a prude. If a guy doesn't have casual sex, he may be called a loser, but if he does, he's lauded (at least by his guy friends) as a sexual conqueror.

Personally, I prefer this illustration: If a woman is insensitive, she's viewed as being unfeminine, but if she is sensitive, she's just acting like a girl. Men, on the other hand, are vilified by women for being cold, insensitive and uncaring, but a common female complaint is that guys are too emotional nowadays. You can't have it both ways, ladies!

It may seem like I'm attacking women, but I'm not. The actual cause of the problem is men! By allowing us to be dominated by women's control over sex - and I can hear you grumbling. Be honest guys, if she doesn't want it, you don't get it! - Men have catered to the well intended but misplaced desires of women, and often overcompensated.

Women want men who are better listeners, who share their feelings a bit more and who take care of themselves, and there's nothing wrong with that. But what do men do? They turn into spineless wimps, sharing every microscopic iota of a feeling that they experience - nagging, calling constantly just to say "I wuv you."

We go metro-sexual, trimming and shaving every last millimeter of hair off our bodies, using three cans of hair spray a week - and that's not even including the gel - and we become fashion Nazis. Dude, if you're prettier than your girlfriend (and took longer to get ready), something's not right!

And after all that hard work pandering to the desires of women, what do men have to show for it? "Why can't I find a real man?" And they're still not getting laid!

Of course, it's not entirely your fault either guys. Ladies, you need to understand that using sex to enforce behavior modification, or to get ahead in the workplace or anything like that, is really just another form of prostitution - You're selling sex for goods or services. You also need to realize that guys and girls are different, and the more manly aspects of a guy's personality are what attract you to him in the first place. Trust me, we have a laundry list of things we wish you did differently too, but you don't see us refusing to pay for dinner.

Which of course brings up another interesting point. With the feminist movement (and Destiny's Child) came the rise of the so-called "independent woman" who doesn't need a man to buy her anything or do anything for her. Yet guys are still expected to pay on dates, hold doors and such, but also give women the space and freedom to be liberated. Basically, you can buy her dinner, but you can't be protective or do too much for her unless she wants you to, of course, at which point she'll get mad at you for not caring enough to help! Talk about a double standard!

Men, we need to regain our pride, and the power is in your hands. Simply grab life by the balls, and then reattach them to your body! We shouldn't be afraid to be men. I'm starting a movement, and I'm calling is "Masculanism!"

I'm not saying we should become chauvinistic, woman bashing pigs either. We should be proud, unwavering gentlemen - Think James Bond or Indiana Jones. Listen, open up a little (but not too much!), look sharp (but not primped!) and try holding open a damn door once in a while! If you can do all that, and a woman tries to use sex to manipulate you, leave her. I guarantee you'll find someone better.

Of course, this article highlights some very polarized views of men and women, and there's an entire spectrum of people in the middle. But these are all issues that we can discuss in greater detail in MNS 150, offered by the new gender studies department at URI. See you all there in the spring!

Chris can be reached at

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