May 20, 2012 – 12:00 PM ET
The student union at Simon Fraser University in B.C. has made the apparently contentious decision to finance the creation of a Men’s Centre on campus. Motivated, surely, by deep-seated patriarchal values, the union approved a budget of $30,000 to launch the project — the exact same amount conferred on the university’s Women’s Centre, which was established back in 1974. The idea for the Men’s Centre was proposed by fifth-year accounting student Keenan Midgley, who told SFU’s student newspaper that he believes men, too, are entitled to safe space on campus.
Unsurprisingly, however, not everyone at SFU is thrilled with the decision. The Women’s Centre, for one, coolly brushed off the idea of a stand-alone Men’s Centre on its website, simply stating that, “the men’s centre is everywhere else.” They did say they would welcome a men’s centre that focused on “challenging popular conceptions about masculinity, confronting homophobia, sexism, racism, classism, and ability issues.” In contrast, they would oppose a men’s centre that “focussed on maintaining the old boys club … that promotes the status quo, encourages sexual assault, or fosters an atmosphere of competition and violence.” Oh. OK, then. Good to know.
Several other students have taken a more direct approach, compiling their objections to the Men’s Centre in widely-circulated five-minute YouTube video. Deeming the project “not financially responsible,” students take turns expressing their grievances. One woman with seemingly impeccable foresight declares that, “The Men’s Centre will end up being a place to celebrate hegemonic masculinity.” She later attacks the credibility of the Centre’s proponents, scoffing that they have, “no experience being in a gender-studies class.”
Men, too, join in the criticism of the proposed Centre, one curiously warning that it may “become a highly masculinized space.” Another cautions that the project risks creating a “heteronormative space,” while yet another critical male dismisses the Men’s Centre as simply, “a room with a PS3 and a bunch of douchebags playing games.”
Bravo, students. In your attempt to decry the proposed Men’s Centre on all of its supposed merits, you have effectively demonstrated why such a space is so very necessary. At present, there is only one other Canadian campus with an official support centre for men — the Men’s Resource Centre at the University of Manitoba. Judging by the crass sociology catch phrases in the aforementioned video, the consensus is that young men don’t need community resources or support. That is a myth.
While statistics show that comparatively, far fewer university-aged men are diagnosed with depression than women, the rate of suicide among men is four times as great. It’s not hard to connect the dots: men are suffering in silence. And it’s not hard, either, to see why. If the assumption on campus is that men have no use for a resource centre other than meeting up with new PlayStation buddies, it becomes that much more difficult for them to break down the barrier of bravado.
Men, like women, struggle with issues of victimization, anxiety, and depression, but they must battle in addition with a societal expectation of stoicism. In short — it’s not manly to talk about your feelings. And it’s precisely for that reason that a Men’s Centre on campus is such a necessary initiative.
If brought to fruition, the Men’s Centre at SFU might also come with additional boons; namely, the latent effect of debunking some of the prejudicial, discriminatory, and misandrous views (see kids? I can play too) so blatantly expressed in the YouTube video.
Of course, I don’t have a gender studies degree, so consider it mere speculation.
Robyn Urback is a Toronto-based writer.
There is a dire need for support for men especially fathers who have next to
no legal rights in Canada as a result of "Male Sharia Law" and "Male Apartheid"
which is systemic all over Canada.
The reality of law is that fathers are second class citizens in Canada. Our society funds extreme feminists with billions to promote myths such as one in four women are victims of male abuse.
Let's get real. Most married men are abused and its not necessarily physical violence. Most fathers would gladly take a punch to the head every week just to see them but, thanks to feminist law, feminist doctrine, women have next to absolute power and that corrupts absolutely. Women can and do at a moments notice decided to abduct kids so the father never sees them again and he will be put into poverty generally regardless.
Our courts are a rubber stamp for extreme feminist views, and we can thank our dead beat politicians who FAIL to support a legal presumption of equal parenting and reform of family law.
Take our child support guidelines, increasingly economically poor fathers are paying spousal support to rich mothers in the guise of "child support".
Take the "impossible to vary" orders for support. Family Law in Canada is a cess pool and it requires a massive overhaul.
There is a real need for "mens centres" to provide at least, quality accurate information sessions to fathers who are facing family court. Unfortunately, most fathers do not receive any kind of briefing on the realities of Canada's War on Men and end up being destroyed.
It's time for the government to legislate a legal presumption of equal parenting and end the negative birth rate, and the trillion dollar waste of money called Family Court.