Fury follows as the social re-designers plan to redesign the male side of humanity
It’s very odd that the most macho state in the American union should distinguish itself by launching a campaign to redefine masculinity. They apparently want to make it more like femininity. Males in Alberta should take heed, since we are widely regarded as the Canadian Texas, due chiefly to our economy which, like that of Texas, is based on oil, gas cattle and grain.
VIDEO: Lessons in masculinity. National Film Board of Canada documentary ‘The New Boys’ chronicles a 330-mile canoe trip by students of St. John’s Cathedral Boys School. “We don’t need to redefine masculinity but rediscover it,” writes Byfield, one of the school’s founders.
The campaign, however, is not being conducted by the entrepreneurial side of Texas, but by the academics nesting in the University of Texas at the capital city of Austin. It has set off a furious fight between the defenders of masculinity and the designers of the New Society, the vision which all we of the western world are being vigorously enjoined to embrace.
The stench of it is particularly nauseating in Alberta where the grotesque mismanagement of the old Tory government allowed a foreign socialist movement to take over the provincial administration. Since its cultural and educational policies come almost wholly from the United States, it’s a safe bet that masculinity is in for a redefinition here as well, if it hasn’t already started..
Meanwhile, the American experience is instructive, not only because it angers nearly all those of the masculine gender and a sizable number of the feminine gender, but also due to its almost total incomprehensibility. The program was designed to improve “the mental health and student safety,” along with “alcohol-related initiatives including efforts to reduce sexual assaults on campus.” In order to do this, they saw the need to redefine masculinity. The new program, named “MasculinUT” was to be accommodated in the “Counselling and Mental Health Center” at the university with the reasonable implication that masculinity must be regarded as a form of mental illness.
Wrote one critic: “These days being a man means you’re crazy. You’re a rapist waiting for a woman to rape. You’re a misogynist, just looking for a woman to oppress. You’re a brute, looking for a woman to punch in the face. You are violent, domineering and angry.”
Said another, this one a woman: The program “treats men as though they are violent rapists, just waiting for a woman on whom to enforce themselves . And, you know, slap around a little, because apparently, that is what men do. “The project praises a poster of a black man with a flower crown, but mourns that masculinity should go farther than that. This makes me curious about what ‘further than that’ would be like.”
The program directors hastened to amend their website and issued a public statement: “It has become clear that some of the communication and discussion surrounding Masculin UT.was not effective at reaching the broad audience the program envisioned.” The exact opposite appeared more likely — that the program did reach “a broad audience,” and that the “broad audience” didn’t like what it saw.
The woman critic put that sentiment into words: “Most men. at least the ones I know, are not like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby. My dad, for example, was kind, generous, loving and armed to the teeth. He was a veteran and a health care professional. He showed me the best of both worlds. He would never have let anything bad happen to me. He treated me like a lady, so that I knew how I should be treated, and he encouraged me that I could do anything I wanted if I put in the work. He was a gentleman and that is a wonderful thing for which to strive.”
That comment, I think, encapsulates what’s wrong with the whole method being advanced by this program. It does not face up to the reality that confronts us. If we declare that there is no such thing as a real right and wrong — and that false principle lies at the very core of the now-dominant educational philosophy– then you will not be able to effectively check evil in any form. Insuch a world where anything goes, where “I want” always supersedes “I should,” then we will not be able to check personal violence, including rape.
What we need is not a new masculinity, but the old one. modelled by this lady-critic’s father–one in which you took your hat off when a woman entered the room, gave up your seat to her on a bus, helped her put her heavy bag in the airplane’s overhead racks, yes and bowed slightly and kissed the back of her hand when you formally met her. All very old, but all very necessary, because how we treat women defines the difference between civilization and barbarism. So that’s masculinity.
However, there’s far more to it than that, and we cannot regain that kind of society by making new laws and new programs. What we need to make are men, and the model is there before us in the four Gospels. But this is more than just talk. I’ve seen that process at work, in fact I was part of it for 17b years. You can see true masculinity in the making on the embedded video above that was made nearly 45 years ago.
Ted Byfield was founder and publisher of Alberta Report news magazine, general editor of Alberta in the Twentieth Century, a 12-volume history of the province, and general editor of The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years, a 12-volume history of Christianity. His column on education appears in The Christians.com, a web journal. He has recently authored two little books on modern pedagogy: Why History Matters and The Revolution Nobody Covered. You can order both copies here.