Sunday, September 30, 2007

About time

Taking A Look At Men's Studies
John Bailey
Issue date: 9/28/07 Section: Focus


"Feminist," "misogynist" and "women's studies" are concepts familiar to the average college student. Less familiar, though, may be concepts like "misandrist" or "male-positivist." Dr. Dennis Gouws, a professor of English, presented these ideas to a talkative and insightful audience in the Shippee Pit at his "Last Lecture" Thursday evening.

"I'm not actually retiring," joked Gouws as he took the podium. The "Last Lecture" series invites professors to lecture as if it were the last time they would ever do so, as if they had one chance to give students the most important thing they would ever teach.

Gouws' interest in "men's studies," as he described the field, developed during his stint at graduate school. The classroom environment, said Gouws, sometimes enabled bigotry under the guise of feminism with nasty consequences. During a class on gender sociology, the instructor presented a paper describing a female 'wild zone' that represented an area of thinking that women alone could experience due purely to their sex.

"Is there a complimentary 'wild zone' for men?" he asked. "The resounding response from the professor was 'no,' and I took exception to that."

Pairing this experience with his concern for undergraduate education, Gouws attempted to redress the issues that he saw with the classroom environment. The way he understood it, many students - both men and women - felt uncomfortable with the framing of the gender debate. What if, Gouws asked, one agrees that misogyny is wrong but can find no acceptable point of view in traditional feminist discourse? What if one disagrees with patriarchy but also with misandry - the hatred of men? Or, as one student asked, "What if I'm a peopleist?"

The solution that Gouws found was the idea of "male-positive" discourse. A male-positive outlook, as described by Gouws, is one that allows men to define their masculinity without the pressure to conform to a societal idea of manhood. Certainly, said Gouws, there are well-known societal pressures on women. The issue of pressures on men, however, pressures that exist entirely due to their gender, is one that hasn't been adequately explored in the classroom. Gouws raised the issue of competition as an example: from an early age, men are expected and sometimes forced to compete, and as a result will find it acceptable to take extreme measures in order to compete. Male-positivism accepts that these concerns exist, and allows men to define themselves outside of the prevailing social pressures.

Gouws was sensitive to the history behind these issues as well. He agreed that feminism is "a positive agenda for women," and that men by no means have a sovereign claim to victimhood.

"There's something perverse about a group in power claiming to victims," Gouws said.

The primary problem, regardless of which group purports to be the victim, is one of exclusion. This exclusion can happen from any direction and target any victim. He posed the question to the audience: is it hypocritical for men to talk about women's issues, or vice versa? The prevailing sentiment in the audience, and one echoed by Gouws, was that any gender issue, if it affects the society in which one lives, can and should be discussed openly by everyone.

The idea of manhood as a cultural construct leads to a new method for understanding literature in particular, said Gouws, who has previously taught a Men in Literature course. But what might be offered by such a course?

Using feminist interpretations of literature as a springboard, he described the central conceit of a male-positive literature class.

"[It's about] asserting our right to liberate new and possibly different significances from the same text."

The importance of male-positive masculinities cannot be understated, said Gouws. "The manhood question" - how men define themselves in relation to their gender - is an essential one, and it deserves the same attention that "the woman question" has received. And since he's not retiring just yet, Gouws and his students will have plenty of time to delve further.

John.C.Bailey@UConn.edu


Source: here

13 comments:

MikeeUSA said...

Google just shutdown my weblog (mikeeusa.blogspot.com):

"This blog is in violation of Blogger's Terms of Service and is open to authors only"

Death To women's Rights.
Viva Men's Liberties.
--MikeeUSA--

Masculist Man said...

Google just shutdown my weblog (mikeeusa.blogspot.com):


That blows. What are you going to do?

MikeeUSA said...

Nothing, what can I do?

I have everything backed up on my own webserver and my laptop. I can email you the address (what's your email?).

Death To women's Rights.
Viva Men's Liberties.
--MikeeUSA--

MikeeUSA said...

Oh, the women's rights believers also reported me to both the police (yesterday) and the FBI (today):

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=229x8069

lwfern Donating Member (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list Click to add this author to your Ignore list Tue Oct-02-07 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. Triana, you rock.

Edited on Tue Oct-02-07 11:15 PM by lwfern
Just a side thing to ponder: How freaking stupid would a person have to be to go online and advocate killing judges?

That was the thing that triggered my FBI report. The rest was equally bad in my eyes, but you know, from homeland security's eyes, that's not "domestic violence" - it's domestic terrorism.

Now figure there's a whole other group of even more idiotic people who thought it was a good idea to link to his blog, being that he's such a shining beacon of social justice. Dumb and Dumber.

For the record, here's the blog from the sig of our recent DU visitor: http://bobstruth.blogspot.com /

I'm thinking blogspot might not be too thrilled with his work either. Like our friend Mike, he's conveniently giving us links to his sympathizers as well. It's like a big old chain letter of terms of service violators.

-----
(Here's yesterday:)
Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Journal Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list Click to add this author to your Ignore list Sun Sep-30-07 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. He has been reported...however,

police told the people who reported him not to waste their time. Nothing they'll do unless/until he actually kills someone - or whatever.

They also reported him to Yahoo (his email was a yahoo acct). Yahoo says he's been "dealt with" but they won't say how.

--------
They've also posted on my blog (before it was shutdown to the public by google) what they believe to be my hometown and have told me I won't be "free from trouble with the Law" for long. They have also shouted "THERE WILL BE REDRESS" in the comments section.

Death To women's Rights.
I pray for the death of all feminist women.
Viva Men's Liberties.
--MikeeUSA--

Masculist Man said...

Thanks for the heads up,Mike. They might come for me next.

Masculist Man said...

Mike,my email address is masculistman@yahoo.com.

MikeeUSA said...

Ok, I've sent you the email with the info. I've also sent a few others.

Luke Skywalker said...

Masculist Man,


If they come for you and delete your blogs, then you can move your blogs onto the Antimisandry site.

For now, I would suggest backing up your blogs.

Luke Skywalker said...

Mike, I kept forgetting to mention to you that I've actually seen your blog for a long time, but I've never talked to you until now.

And Mike, it was actually your picture that gave me the idea to make a video of me burning the white ribbon, and to put it on youtube.

Check it out:

Antifeminist Protest Against The White Ribbon Campaign

Anonymous said...

Luke: I like the video :D. Thanks for making it.

--MikeeUSA--
Death To women's Rights.
Viva Men's Liberties.

MikeeUSA said...

I've started a wordpress weblog after women's rights activists (who I hate) had my blogger site blocked:
http://mikeeusa.wordpress.com/

I put up a new post discussing it.

Anonymous said...

Shit, Fred X just came back!

MikeeUSA said...

Wordpress shut down my new weblog at http://mikeeusa.wordpress.com/ now (this is about a week after I made it in response to my blogspot blog being shutdown by women's rights supporters (was at http://mikeeusa.blogspot.com).

Also there is a feminist on my forum telling me that the FBI is on my trail and I'm "going down". She/he also posted gay fantasies about "bubba" which she/he wishes me to live after the FBI railroads me for hating women's rights activists and supporting the Bible (which is against women's rights).