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Voices of Reason About the Gender Wars

Posted By Bruce Bawer On September 30, 2013 @ 12:38 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 9 Comments

In recent months, a group called the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE) has been making headlines and inciting angry protests with a series of lectures at the University of Toronto. What provocative messages, what unconscionable claims, what inflammatory statements, you might ask, have caused all this hullabaloo? Answer: nothing more or less than sober expressions of concern about the status of men – and the prospects of boys – in Western society today.

Last December, Janice Fiamengo wrote here at Front Page about how a group of about seventy students tried to shut down one of these lectures, by men’s rights advocate and author Warren Farrell.

His topic: “the marginalization of boys in our contemporary culture, who now fall behind their female peers in education and social development.”

To a sane reader, it hardly sounded like the kind of topic that should outrage anybody. Yet those seventy-odd protesters were furious. As Fiamengo reported, they “defaced and ripped down posters advertising [Farrell's] talk, sought to block access to the building in which he was speaking…and engaged in sustained verbal abuse of those attempting to attend. They shouted slogans and obscenities and, among other offensive gestures, gave the Heil Hitler salute to the police officers…tasked with trying to keep public order.” One of them told a young man who was trying to get into the auditorium that he was “fucking scum.”

Such fury on the part of a bunch of Canadian college students – most of whom are, in all likelihood, ordinary middle-class suburban kids – doesn’t just arise out of thin air, of course. It’s the product of ideology-driven disciplines like Women’s Studies, which encourage their brainwashed acolytes not to prize respectful and rational intellectual exchange but to behave like revolutionary thugs.

A later talk in the same series – entitled “What’s Wrong with Women’s Studies?” – was by Fiamengo herself. It, too, occasioned vehement protest. As the National Post reported, “a crowd of black-masked activists holding Canadian Federation of Students placards jostled at the entrance” and “someone pulled the fire alarm as Prof. Fiamengo’s lecture was about to begin.”

The talk itself was powerful, definitive, supremely logical – and also suitably provocative. Noting, for example, the obsession of feminism with male-on-female violence, Fiamengo pointed out that there are, in fact, “more male than female victims of violence,” that women in lesbian relationships are just about as likely to be the victims of domestic violence as women married to men, and that husbands are physically abused by their wives almost as frequently as wives are physically abused by their husbands. Fiamengo also cannily observed that while “children under the age of twelve are far more likely to be killed by their mothers than by anyone else,” there would surely be a massive feminist outcry “if the media focused relentlessly on mother violence against children” and if there were, say, regularly organized marches and a “ribbon campaign” expressing concern about the innocent victims of such murders.

Last weekend saw another CAFE lecture at the University of Toronto. Either because CAFE provided extra security this time, or because protest fatigue had finally set in, the rioters stayed away. The speaker, whom I profiled here a few months ago, was Miles Groth, editor of New Male Studies and professor at New York’s Wagner College. In his Toronto talk, Groth issued a call for universities to establish Men’s Centers to balance out their ubiquitous Women’s Centers. His argument: thanks largely to “an often noxious and even toxic sociocultural and educational environment” for boys and young men – which is, needless to say, largely the product of man-hating feminism – young males are today undergoing something that fully deserves to be described as a crisis.

“I see the crisis young men face,” Groth told his Toronto audience, “as that episode in the story of women and men, boys and girls, of civilized life itself, during which how things will turn out for all of us, males and females living together in community, is being determined.” And “the stage on which the action of this episode is unfolding” is the university campus – thus the urgent need for an “audible and visible male-positive presence” on campus.

Male university students, after all, are constantly being informed that they’re potential rapists, that their sex is responsible for virtually all the ills of the world, and that while men are irresponsible and destructive self-seekers, women are communal-minded nurturers and virtuous victims. Where in all this, Groth asked,

is there a tribute to the positive contributions average men—the blokes—have made and are making? The building we are sitting in, the roads that got us here, the metal fabricated from mined ores that hold up the buildings and span rivers—these were and are provided almost entirely by the effort and design of men. Who hauled nearly every bit of food from farm to market to the dining halls here at the University of Toronto? And who will lift and empty the overfull trash receptacles? A casual glance outside in the early morning hours and late at night will reveal that it was almost always a man, often a young man.

A simple point, perhaps, but a strangely moving one – and one that is, moreover, rarely acknowledged on campuses awash in feminist rhetoric about female victimhood and male patriarchal power.

Groth was heartened by the reception he received in Toronto. The hall was full to capacity; there was even a men’s rights rally the next day. Things have reached a point, he told me, at which the feminist groups “are beginning to face real opposition.” Let’s hope that he’s right – and that his valiant efforts, as well as those by other gutsy, outspoken individuals like Farrell and Fiamengo, will begin to show some palpable results, both on-campus and off.

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