I'm sure I've mentioned this before but I don't recall where (probably one of my Weekly Mashups) but now that I'm seeing it again I think I want to comment on this a bit.
On one hand I can understand wanting to make sure that if a student organization is created with school funds it has a clear purpose. Obviously no one wants to see money spent on a campus group that is not productive or even becomes counter productive.
Also I totally understand that it would be bad if the school funded a student organization that ultimately hurt people and the school's image. I get that, I really do.
But after watching that video and reading that article something else is clear to me.
These folks are making quite a few presumptions about what this group is going to turn into.
There is the assumption that it will turn into some douches sitting around playing Xbox.
There is the assumption that since men don't face the things that women face a men's group is by default useless.
There is of course the assumption that "the whole world is a men's space" (which I think that the only people that believe that are the few select men who do have the majority of the world as their space and people who aren't men).
There is the demand that men must be inclusive of non-men* (because heaven forbid that men need a safe space as men, no we don't need that because we have it so good right?).
There is also the presumption that it would not be inclusive of all walks of men.
And so forth. But I want to look at something that really lit my fire.
In the article Jeff McCann, Simon Fraser Student Society president, says:
"Once you have a support structure and there is a safe place to talk about things, then you're going to be able to start talking about some of the issues impacting men." One such thing he mentioned was that suicide rates are higher among men than women.
And what does Natasha Clearly-Dulai, maker of the video respond with?
"First of all you need to have a context behind stats. They didn't take into account the fact that the majority of people who try to commit suicide and don't succeed are women," she said. "In any case, issues around mental health impact both genders -- that seems like something that should be in health and counseling. I don't really think it's necessary to have a separate men's centre to address mental health issues."So instead of acknowledging that men do kill themselves at a higher rate than women she decides to make it all about women instead and THEN tries to make it gender neutral? That's just underhanded.
Oh and if the suicide rates in Canada are like they are in The States what McCann said about men having higher rates of suicide is not misleading nor is it out of context. The numbers clearly say that men kill themselves more often than women. It is true that women attempt suicide more often than men but that is not what he said. He said suicide rates, not attempted suicide rates. In actuality I think its Clearly-Dulai that is taking the stats out of context. Also she says that that doesn't equate a need for men.
Has she never heard about how as men the world expects us to stay quiet about any feelings that aren't rage, happiness, and lust? How we are supposed to suffer in silence when we are depressed? Mental health issues differ for men and women and bet money shouldn't bat an eyelash at the idea of creating a space for women to talk about mental health, but knowing how mental health can differ by gender she doesn't think men need their own space?
Maybe those men need to get together and offer support to each other so they can learn to seek more counseling. No that can't be it. It must be some nefarious plot to harm women.
One other thing that came up in this video was Hegemonic masculinity. Some of the opponents of the center say that a center for men could become a problem is hegemonic masculinity were to take over.
Well maybe, just maybe, instead of starting at worst case scenario perhaps these guys getting together will actually become a force against such destructive masculinity.
Here's the thing. I regularly hear two messages from society. One, men need to get together and do their own work to make themselves better. Two, when men get together its going to be bad for women so men shouldn't have their own spaces (coughcoughzerosumgamecoughcough). So either men need to start coming together and doing work or we should never come together and our problems should be allowed to continue lest women be harmed by men actually coming together on something good for once. They can't have it both ways.
Or are some of them just mad because someone wants to create a space without their input?
Who knows. I've really been trying to curb my hostile ways but then I see some infuriating shit like this.
I suppose some folks would rather see me self destruct (and harm those around me) than find a way to help myself that doesn't require permission from them.
* - To account for all people who don't identify as a man, not just those who identify as women.