Brown University is offering a new course: “Unlearning Toxic Masculinity.”
According to the guide for this course in “social wellbeing,” men on average tend to have a shorter lifespan than that of women because of the “definitions” of masculinity that men have been “socialized” into accepting. “Rigid definitions of masculinity are toxic to men’s health,” readers are informed.
As evidence for this thesis, the guide notes that “_even_” the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges that “men’s tendency to die at younger ages may correlate to the harmful ways that masculinity has been defined in society and the ways that men have been conditioned to practice it.”
Men’s “risk-taking behaviors and lack of willingness to seek help were among the reasons for negative health outcomes that men experience.”
These outcomes aren’t just physical in nature. That men commit suicide at higher rates than do their female counterparts indicates that the conception of masculinity that has been shoved down their throats all of their lives is toxic to their psyches as well.
But it isn’t just themselves who their masculinity harms. Masculinity is toxic toward others. “How men are socialized plays into the type of violence that exists in college communities.” After all, because “anger is the only emotion that they have been socialized to express,” men typically “resort to violence to resolve conflict.” The manner in which they’ve been “conditioned to view sex and their need to be dominant and have power over others also contribute to instances of sexual assault and other forms of interpersonal violence on college campuses.”
Brown’s Wellness Center (BWell) is “investing in creating safe spaces for men to unpack all of the things they have learned about masculinity and what it means to be a man.” The goal of these “safe spaces” is stated clearly:
“The goal is to help those socialized as men to unlearn some of the notions that have led to such profound harm being enacted toward others and toward themselves.”
This most recent attack against “toxic masculinity” is instructive inasmuch as it supplies insight into the contradictions of the Politically Correct imagination.
First, the enemies of toxic masculinity at Brown lament that, so they say, anger is the only emotion of which men can avail themselves. Yet it is anger, it is rage, that the left has been inciting in people, in men, women, and anyone and everyone in between, for as long as it has existed, and especially so over the duration of at least the last 50 or so years. And it is this emotion alone that it incites.
The left—i.e. those who incessantly wax indignant over “toxic masculinity”—specialize in fomenting rage.
Second, men, particularly white men, are relentlessly besieged for their…toxic masculinity. In other words, if the enemies of “toxic masculinity” at places like Brown didn’t ignite the fire of the problem on which they set their sights, then at the very least they have repeatedly poured gasoline on the flames.
And yet now they propose that by reminding men (or white men) of just how “toxic” they’ve been to the planet that this will somehow be able to extinguish the inferno that they’ve fanned.
Third, when it comes to the shortcomings of any other group—women, blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals, the transgendered, etc.—the left insists upon attributing blame for them to some other group. In truth, it is but one group that is assigned responsibility for the “disadvantages” of all of these others, and that group consists of white, heterosexual men.
However, when the left decides that it is ideologically and politically convenient to pay attention to the fact that—surprise, surprise!—white heterosexual men suffer just like all other human beings, leftists conclude that it can only be because these men have brought these sufferings on themselves.
Implicit in this line of reasoning is the assumption that white heterosexual men alone are responsible beings, responsible for themselves, and responsible for others. They are victims, yes, but victims of themselves. The members of all other demographic groups, or at least of those groups that the left has baptized as politically protected classes, are victims of white heterosexual men; they bear no responsibility for any of the ills that they suffer.
(1) Leftists labor tirelessly to instill in people a perpetual, and perpetually intense, anger. And yet leftists lament that men are angry.
(2) Leftists seek to cure men of their “toxic masculinity,” their propensity to be angry and defensive—even while they have made men angry and defensive by berating them for what leftists alone have been calling men’s “toxic masculinity.”
(3) Leftists want for men to relieve themselves of their “toxic masculinity,” even though they have been burdening (white) men for decades with responsibility for the entire world.
The contradictions in leftist thought on the issue of “toxic masculinity” should now be clear.
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