Men’s Issues move into mainstream in Canada
Barbara Kay: Ryerson drags men’s issues group through the wringer
February 4, 2014
It’s happening again. Yet another Canadian university is making life extremely difficult for a group that brings awareness of men’s issues to institutions of higher learning.
The Canadian Association for Equality (CAFÃƒâ€°) organized a talk to be held at Toronto’s Ryerson University Thursday, Feb. 6, entitled “Are Men Obsolete? Feminism, Free Speech and the Censorship of Mens Issues,” to be delivered by Karen Straughan, famous as the YouTube sensation GirlWritesWhat. Straughan’s talk will argue the need for safe spaces in which men on university campuses can discuss issues of health and well-being, particularly in the face of organized resistance to recognition of such official spaces.
The event will go ahead, but at a high cost to the group. On January 31, representatives of CAFÃƒâ€° were called to a meeting by the Ryerson University Office of the Vice Provost Students and campus security, who informed them that if the event was to go forward, CAFÃƒâ€° must pay $1,600 in security fees (+HST) and change the lecture’s venue from the advertised Mattamy Athletic Centre to the less central G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.
This is outrageous. The demand for a security fee, which most groups cannot afford to pay, is almost invariably a transparent strategy to force the group to withdraw their event. It is the university’s obligation to ensure the security of bona fide speakers – and this one certainly is; Straughan’s talk, like all CAFÃƒâ€° talks, will be a responsible, thoughtful dissertation on an objective situation, and the opposite of incendiary – and to impose such a hardship on a group in anticipation of irresponsible and bigoted behavior by intolerant activists is to blame and punish the victim.
A university can only justify such a demand by intellectually acquiescing to the notion that discussion of men’s problems is an inherently controversial and offensive form of discourse. We know that if feminists’ discourse was threatened with activist resistance, no university in the land would dream of charging them a security fee. On the contrary, the university would if necessary call in the Armed Forces to ensure their right to speak.
But the speakers persisted, and over the howls of the would-be censors they were heard: Warren Farrell, longtime men’s rights advocate, Janice Fiamengo, University of Ottawa literature professor, and impeccably credentialed McGill academics Katherine Young and Paul Nathanson, authors of a magisterial series of books on misandry in our culture and in our courts.
**UPDATE: Ryerson administration has confirmed that the university will be absorbing the cost of the additional security for the February 6 CAFÃƒâ€° event. According to a staffer who communicated with this newspaper on Monday afternoon, after this article had been published, Ryerson president Sheldon Levy now has decided that the cost was a barrier to freedom of expression.
MCB Comment: Humans rights need to be fought for and also need to be fought for, to be retained.
I think this is sad for one day students might actually want men’s studies. By that time there’ll be a lot of red tape created by antifeminists, IMO.
The good news for New Zealand is that at least Auckland University says they’ll provide men’s studies if enough students want it and will attend the classes.
There is a need IMO. Last year I attended a rugby function used to fundraise for the Ponsonby Club and young fathers were saying they wished society accepted men can do anything women can do.
And then, these days, you see women fighting the system because they are paying child support while their ex were the stay-at-home parent. Perhaps with both sides walking in each other’s shoes we’ll see changes in parenting and the exchange of money. (fingers crossed for positive moves)
Do you also think it is sad that there are women’s studies?
I am in favour of women’s studies and men’s studies. I would prefer that both should aim to meet normal academic scholastic standards, but in any emerging field this is usually not possible. In early days, speculative, unproven ideas need to be discussed, challenged and developed into more reliable and useful knowledge. MurrayBacon
Hi Scott, do we have women’s studies in NZ? I don’t know. (for real)
I actually thought National got rid of gender studies when first in POWER.
Hey Murray, I came across a summary of Leslie Patterson’s research that she touched on when speaking. I like it because it gives a bit about NZ history TOO.
Thanks but I was asking Julie.
Julie. That’s not really answering is it? Do you agree with it in general?
I don’t understand what you are asking Scott.
There’s a range of faculties that cover study of women. CPAG (Child Poverty Action Group) has many professionals doing research on all sorts of subjects and one teaches economics and her research covers single mothers+work.
Since National introduced welfare changes, I had received a number of requests for women for research last year. Gosh, they jump on it quickly. I didn’t ask what departments of universities they worked in or were doing masters, PHd’s for.
I have not come across a woman’s department at any tertiary level school. I am wondering whether perhaps Psychology covers gender studies? Sociology does… Perhaps that’s where papers on men would go.
Other than that, and sorry for the ramble if I am not answering your question, health has been given good money through National leadership. I know of one study (the first) for single mothers and health, yay, it’s a start, but it’s not a big one. It may amount to nothing.
I have a feeling there is and has been research through health studies for men and over the past decade. I think men would like to see study on men over 50 and include suicide.
One thing Scott, that won’t make me popular, is my skepticism about men’s studies.
I had a friend (haven’t caught up with him in 5 years, thus HAD) who did a paper on women’s fashion. He loves materials, the feel of cloth, ect, and women’s bodies, lol.
What would men study that isn’t already covered at tertiary level?
OH, need to extend on my answer….
or covered in high school (they may not have sex education at tertiary level because they have it at high school)
I have my answer!
My ex wife did women’s studies at university, if only I’d realised the implications I would have run a mile. If men’s studies also involves fanatics teaching extremist theories not really supported by the evidence then it will be a laughing stock – as women’s studies is to many people. My ex still trots out the lines she was taught in spite of 30 years life experience, so much for uni’s teaching you how to think not what to think.
Sounds like a good idea in theory, in practice it could be good or bad depending on the course content.