Members of the Duke Women’s Center created a safe space in the University where men can gather and discuss their toxic masculinity while also coming up with solutions to overcome it.
Toxic masculinity can be defined as:
“one of the ways in which Patriarchy is harmful to men. It refers to the socially constructed attitudes that describe the masculine gender role as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth.”
The concept is related to that of heterogenic masculinity, a term invented by R.W. Connell which defines the patriarchal role that males usually have in society with an accent on the inferior social status of women. Heterogenic masculinity tries to explain the reasons why society is still dominated by men while women are, most of the time, left in the second place.
However, the Duke Women’s Center is suggesting that the problem of male dominance could be easily solved by talking, more precisely men talking about how the fact that they are privileged in society affects their feelings.
For the moment only four male individuals signed up to be a part of the safe space where men can escape their dominant social status.
According to Dipro Bhowmik, one of the males in charge of the project, the safe space is a special environment that enables men to:
“critique and analyze their own masculinity and toxic masculinities to create healthier ones then.”
One of the main topics of discussions is the way in which men can participate in the feminist movement and make them more a part of the larger community.
The initiative of the members of the Duke Women’s Center was received in various ways. Some students were happy to hear that men are trying to make the college environment a safer and more pleasant place for women, others believed that the idea belongs to the New Age alongside hemlock and hippie clothing.
On the other hand, the concept of toxic masculinity is yet another restriction applied to the idea of free speech and imposes additional limitations in a society that is oversaturated with boundaries and labels of offensiveness.
What is your opinion on the toxic masculinity concept? Do you think that male privilege should be discussed in more universities?
Image source: Wikipedia