Good news for the bro crowd. (My apologies if I didn’t use that term correctly. I keep seeing it on lefty Twitter.) Masculinity is no longer a mental health issue, at least at the University of Texas. In 2015 the school rolled out a program designated “MasulinUT” which was described as being, “aimed to teach men how to reduce sexual and other forms of interpersonal violence.” You get the drift, right? Toxic masculinity. This drew plenty of derision on the right, ranging from mocking amusement to alarm over indoctrinating students into a culture where the concept of masculinity was associated with mental illness. (The administration office for the program was located in the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center.)
Earlier this spring, as reported in the Washington Post, the school thought better of it and put the program on hiatus.
In a statement soon after the conservative drumbeat began in the spring, the school said it stood by the goals of the program but that, “It has become clear that some of the communication and discussion surrounding MasculinUT did not convey this fully or clearly and was not effective at reaching the broad audiences the program envisioned.” A committee assembled to review the initiative and recommend changes. In the meantime, the program went on hiatus.
Well, now the program is back, but it’s been retooled. Headquarters have been moved out of the mental health center and the school’s administration is issuing reassuring statements, saying that they in no way wanted to convey the idea that masculinity was a mental illness. Perish the thought!
Media criticism did not guide the committee’s review, the conclusions of which are being implemented this semester as part of a rebranding effort, the campus newspaper reported. The program has been moved from the Mental Health Center to the Office of the Dean of Students. A new Web page is still virtually blank, after the old site, associated with the Mental Health Center, was scrubbed of the offending counsel to male students. “We don’t ever want anyone to think that we’re treating masculinity as a mental health issue,” said Chris Brownson, the center’s director.
More changes to the program material were included to make it a little less… I don’t even know what the word is for that. This has clearly distressed Isaac Stanley-becker, the WaPo writer who brings us this report. But the underlying principles of MasculinUT still seem to remain the same. And yes, the entire subject is laughable.
It’s also, unfortunately, very much in keeping with the overarching theme on most college campuses today, where the concerns of social justice warriors take precedence over any sort of established, societal norms or even the need for an actual education. Much of it boils down to the redefinition of words and attempting to force the rest of society to adopt these “new norms.” It’s a very Stalinesque approach to social engineering if you think about it. Force people to change the way they speak and soon you’ll change the way they think.
The fact is that the concept of masculinity doesn’t require any redefinition. How masculine any given man is remains entirely up to them, plus a bit of genetics and early environmental influence. But for the benefit of the social justice warriors at the University of Texas, just a couple of reminders. Masculinity is not characterized by beating up or sexually assaulting women. It’s beating the crap out of males who do beat up women. Masculinity involves an instinct to protect those who may be weaker than you.
Similarly, femininity does not equal feminism. You know femininity when you see it and it’s generally a desirable and attracive trait. That doesnt’ mean that anyone should be able to force someone else to be more masculine or feminine. To each their own, as the saying goes. But you also don’t get to set a new definition for either term for the rest of us.