A few weeks ago I wrote about the then-upcoming "Healthy Masculinities Week" at Vanderbilt U. Since the event was being sponsored by the campus women's center and not any actual men, I predicted that the theme would be: "We gotta change men so they'll be, uh, less masculine."
Turns out I was wrong. Healthy Masculinities Week has come and gone–and its theme turned out to be: "We gotta change men so they won't be masculine, period."
One event featured a screening of the limited-release documentary The Mask You Live In, which blames “America’s narrow definition of masculinity” for the deteriorating mental health of boys and men.
“The three most destructive words that every man receives when he’s a boy is when he’s told to ‘be a man,’” former NFL player Joe Ehrmann says in the film. Now a minister, Ehrmann spoke on an all-male panel in 2013 titled “Breaking the Male Code,” which was organized by Vagina Monologues writer Eve Ensler.
Yes, you read that right. "Be a man" are the three most destructive words in the English language.
Second most destructive set of words: "Man up":
Bill Savage, IFC vice president of recruitment, said he hates the term “man up” or a phrase he claims is closely related, “don’t be a pussy.” In contrast to stereotypes, “being emotional is manly in my opinion,” Savage said.
Also very bad: working out with weights.
As evidence, Katz noted that G.I. Joe’s biceps have gotten larger over the years and that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone use bigger guns for their iconic roles as the Terminator and Rambo than did Humphrey Bogart in his 1930s and 1940s film roles.
I might note that the Terminator was actually a robot, and Stallone wasn't playing a barkeep or a private detective in his iconic films. BTW, couildn't this Katz guy have come up with a movie example that wasn't from the 1980s?
Issues with male musculature do seem be a defining trait of hot-and-bothered feminists these days. Back in August the UK appointed its first-ever (and female) "mental health czar." Her first official move was to announce she'd like to see a crackdown on teen-age boys working out at gyms.
But sports of any kind are anathema to men who want to attain a healthy mascuinity:
Following the screening, a Vanderbilt professor whose research focuses on race and sports told the audience “I should have hung myself or jumped out a window from my involvement in athletics.”
I don't want to say: Too bad he didn't. That would be unkind. But I would advise students at Vanderbilt and elsewhere to take with a grain of salt anything you might hear about "healthy masculinities" that comes from the campus women's center.