A place just for men?

Simon Fraser students debate gender-exclusive spaces


Midgley (centre) Photo by Brian Howell

Keenan Midgley played basketball, soccer, baseball and football. But it isn’t his athletic skill that has made him well-known on campus in Burnaby, B.C. It’s the budget he’s written as treasurer of the Simon Fraser Student Society.

The fifth-year accounting student added funding that will carve out a special space on campus for guys. The men’s centre, assuming the budget passes a final vote, will get $30,000 next year. That’s the same amount that the women’s centre, started in 1974, will receive.

The pending creation of the men-only space is the source of much discussion at Simon Fraser University. Since the news broke in April, many students have questioned whether the men deserve funding. Along with that, a debate has emerged over whether women—who make up 55 per cent of undergraduate students at SFU—still need their own women-only space.

The women’s centre is a 450-sq.-ft. space in a building near the centre of campus with couches, a kitchen and a library. It provides a place for students to discuss women’s issues, offers referrals to services like counselling and serves as a war room for campaigns, such as advocating for child care.

Marjorie Griffin Cohen, a professor in the department of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies (GSWS), says the centre was important to the women’s movement in the 1970s when women were a minority of the student body and even more rare as professors. Today it’s important, she says, for its work fighting violence against women.

Midgley says men could benefit from a similar “safe space.” He says his gender deals with more suicides, alcoholism and drug abuse, and suffers negative stereotypes just like women do. “As a student society, we’re supposed to represent all undergraduates,” he says. “I don’t think we’re currently doing that.”

Although the women’s centre’s coordinator declined to be interviewed, skepticism of the concept is evident in the centre’s FAQs. “Where is the men’s centre?” says a line atop that section of its website. “The simple answer is that the men’s centre is everywhere else,” it reads, before a paragraph that explains the justification for the women’s centre. Canadian society is “a man’s world,” female voices are oppressed in classes, and women feel threatened by drunken males at night, it reads.

The website lists support for the idea of a “male allies project” that would “bring self-identified men together to talk about masculinity and its harmful effects.” Masculinity, it says, “denigrates women by making them into sexual objects, is homophobic, encourages violence, and discourages emotional expression.”

Those are the very stereotypes Midgley says the men’s centre’s users might discuss.

Still, it isn’t just the women’s centre that questions the funding. Joel Warren, who represents labour studies students on a council that advises the overall student society, says students should have been consulted before the budget went to the subcommittee for approval. “It was created top-down by fiat,” he says.

Syeda Nayab Bukhari, a doctoral student in GSWS and user of the women’s centre, agrees. “There needs to be a proper needs assessment,” she says, adding that she’s concerned about how the centre would “incorporate race, class and gender.”

Midgley admits no men approached him asking for their own space. But, he argues, men are too shy to ask for support—something he knows from personal experience. Midgley lost his brother in an accident in Grade 12, and struggled with grief for years before opening up to his family. He didn’t seek help earlier, he says, “because of the social pressure to be that strong man and not show your weaknesses.”

Psychologist Dan Bilsker, an SFU adjunct professor and expert in men’s health, says that Midgley is right, both about the need for a men’s centre and the fact that men are unlikely to create one on their own accord. “If you talked to most men and said, ‘Do you think there needs to be a separate centre?’ I suspect most would say ‘no’ or ‘I haven’t thought about it.'” But he thinks men would use it, if it’s done right. “Women are more likely to go for counselling or speak to friends for support. Men have a greater tendency to do things that are not so helpful, like drink more alcohol,” he says.

Graham Templeton, the outgoing opinions editor at SFU’s student newspaper The Peak, doesn’t think the men’s centre would be capable of providing the support Midgley proposes. He offers the women’s centre as proof, noting that the centre refers women in crisis to the mental health professionals on campus.

“What they end up doing is creating a little clubhouse, and that doesn’t justify the budget,” he says.

But it isn’t just the cost that irks Templeton. As he sees it, the very premise of gender-based centres is insulting to the students of SFU. “Women are not marginalized on campus,” he says, “and neither are men—which is why the men’s centre is such a silly idea.”

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A place just for men?

  1. The Women’s Centre at SFU is important for a great variety of things, and not only for its work on violence against women (as it was reported above). It has been active in the whole range of women’s issues, in addition to championing the rights of minorities and gay, bi-sexual, lesbian, and trans-gendered persons.

    • Are girls still saying they need more because the boys have always had more? Could you say to your son, “You are a boy; therefore, you deserve fewer opportunities than your sister because she was born a girl.”? This feels like another example of girls bullying boys.

      • your son has better opportunities to begin with. and will likely earn more money than your daughter. I didn’t like the idea of feminism until I was well into university. Women are not (yet) equal. So teach your children that they deserve equal opportunity, independent of gender.
        Women (not girls) don’t need more. they need equality.

    • Violence against men happens far more often then violence against women so if that is your soul reason for having a womens center, one for men should be formed as well.

    • True, but this article isn’t saying the women’s space is bad. It just proposes adding a men’s space in addition to it.

  2. I think spaces for both sexes is a good idea. It’s not a man’s world and it’s not a woman’s world. We both share this planet. Having a space where men can address their own issues like depression, alcoholism, gender stereotypes, sexism and violence would be a healthy outlet that would ultimately lead to a better atmosphere on campus for women.

  3. I don’t think Warren’s point has been stressed enough. As a politically active SFU student, both within and outside of the SFU community, I have barely seen a formal debate around the possible men’s centre. While this is indicative of the operating culture of the SFSS in the recent past on most issues (read: lockout in 2011), when it comes to an issue that can have serious intersecting implications for gender, class, race and other issues on campus, I find it extremely troubling.

    While Midgley’s argument that men won’t do it for themselves is understandable, I’m still not entirely sure – from this article at least – what exactly the centre would do. Other than speaking about undeniably harmful stereotypes and expectations that men face, what about other major issues, like discussing the privilege men experience and how that intersects with class, race and other factors. What about discussion of men’s history and how it has effected women’s lives throughout? In this article, did Midgley check that privilege and history and acknowledge the space he is operating from? He didn’t. And this is cause for serious concern.

    I’m not entirely opposed to a men’s centre – but the implications of creating one would be serious and it seems clear to me so far that there has not been sufficient discussion of what it would really constitute, how it would operate, and how it would effect the greater SFU community.

    • If gendered spaces are needed at all, then a Men’s Center would be required to counter the attitudes expressed in your 2nd paragraph and the Women’s Center FAQs

      Though in reality, as mentioned, the Womens’s Center is just a Club House. Admit it ladies.

    • So you are only OK with a mens center if it discusses “womens issues” and addressed “male privilege”. Hmm

      So do the womens centers address female privilege?

      -Sentencing disparity that gives women a pass when they commit crime

      -The 10 National Health offices women have for them (0 for men)

      -The fact that women can falsely accuse men of anything from rape to domestic violence, ruin his life and get away with it

      -The fact that over 58% of students nationally in college are women and yet we still have “female only” programs and scholarships such as the WEEA (womens education equity act) even tho its boys who are dropping out and not going to college in far greater numbers

      -The fact that domestic violence by women to men is seen as funny, especially from females (The Talk, a national show, ran the story of the women who cut off her husbands d*** and threw it in the garbage disposal because he wanted a divorce, the women of the talk found it “hilarious” and “quite fabulous” as sharone osbourne put it and EVERY female in the audience was laughing it put the entire time, no greater sign of privilege than that). And these are just the issues I can think of off the top of my head, you of course still have family and divorce court which heavily favor the female.

      So please keep your feminism bs to urself. Its a MENS CENTER, womens issues and “male privilege” are discussed enough in womens centers so can it. Mens Rights issues get no attention from politicians or the media so this should be a welcome addition.

      • Go back to Reddit.

    • Emily,

      I don’t see a rationale for attempting to address the refutable male “privilege” in a centre where men come to seek help. There are social injustices that disfavour men greatly and I doubt these would be flaunted at females who have come to seek help at the women’s centre, especially in a time of crisis.

      Men face a disproportionately large array of problems and are much less likely to seek help, as it’s deemed socially unacceptable for a man to show that he is upset about something; I really understand where Midgley is coming from. Depression puts men at a higher risk, which is evident by the fact men are four-times more like to commit suicide than women. That said, an environment that fosters supportiveness for men would likely be good.

      Much less, having a men’s centre would be a symbol of equality because, as it’s clear, men face an equal share social problems as well, yet there are few people who even care in a society that is clouded by modern day feminism, resulting in a one-sided phenomenon–but there are two sides to equality. Moreover, perhaps a men’s centre would strengthen the declining male population at universities in the country (which, I believe, women outnumber men 3:2)–especially considering the drop-out rates of men are exponentially higher.

    • I didn’t get the impression that he was denying that males have privilege. I think he’s merely asserting that it isn’t a black and white thing, and that there are valid issues that men face and women don’t. He’s not advocating for the takedown of the women’s centre, and I think that’s probably because he acknowledges that women face issues that men don’t.

      It seems like you think that the purpose of the men’s centre should be to act as a place for men to discuss how they negatively affect women. I think that’s kind of repulsive, just as I think it would be repulsive to go and tell the women’s centre that they should spend time figuring out how they can be more positive for men. What word would you even use for that? Insensitive? Imposing? Inappropriate? Do I need to point out how your suggestion treats men as objects who should only evaluate themselves in terms of better serving women? As a feminist and a male, it is my belief that you should think about the implications of your belief about what the purpose of a male centre should be.

      Again, let me be clear that I believe that males do have privilege that they should be aware of, but seriously, you should really stop trying to deny that they also have their own issues that deserve respect. My feminism — yeah, I’m a guy willing to call myself a feminist instead of running away when I hear the word mentioned — has room for the acknowledgement of men’s issues. Your feminism should too. And no, it doesn’t mean that I’m saying “men have it as bad as women or worse than women” or anything. It just means that women have issues that deserve respect, and men also have issues that deserve respect, and the world would be a better place if all of those issues were respected because it is not men versus women, but humans for humanity. If your brand of feminism is not egalitarian, then it is simply not a brand of feminism worthy of the name. Hopefully you see the problem with validating women’s issues and women’s centres but questioning the idea of men’s issues and men’s centres, and hopefully you also see the problem with saying that guy trying to set up a men’s centre should have focused more on how it will make things better. Perhaps you’re familiar with the whole “but what about teh menz?” form of derailing and why it is inappropriate? Cough cough.

      Also, you wrote “the implications of creating one would be serious” in reference to the men’s centre. What are those implications? Do you think that they will crusade against women or something? What exactly are you worried about?

    • Hey Emily,
      I appreciate your comments, but I have to point out what I find particularly troubling about your argument. There are valid reasons out there why the creation of a men’s centre would not be a decent investment, but I think you have a huge misconception on what purpose such a centre would serve.

      If a men’s centre would be created, I assume it would be for the purpose of offering *social support* for male specific issues such as sexuality, types of peer pressure, social expectations, stereotyping, vilification, etc. Men deal with issues regarding their gender just as much as women do, and Western society provides very few ‘safe’ environments where these issues can be discussed. The overall impression I got from your comment is that the creation of a men’s centre is at least partly emblematic of male privilege and would cause disruption in the school community. I think that idea is completely idiotic, and is revealing of a relatively flawed side of our society. And this is coming from a guy who fully supports women’s rights and *some* aspects of feminism.

      What bothers me is that you imply that other issues need to be addressed like male privilege, and how women’s rights have been affected throughout history because of men. What I’m saying is what does this have to do with a support centre for men at all, and why should that be a valid reason for not creating one? Those are two completely different subjects, and one does not enable the other. Since you bothered to mention that you are a politically active SFU student, I’m going to go ahead and say that the motivation to create a men’s centre is NOT a political statement. Even if you feel it is, that in itself is NOT an adequate reason to deny men their own support centre. I will concede that the sentiment of some arguments for the creation of a men’s centre are more-or-less like “Hey, if women have one, then men should have one too!”. But is that not for equality? And nobody has any interest in locking horns with women’s rights, which arguably led the creation of the women’s centre in the 1970s. No upstanding man has any interest in taking away anything from how far women have come today. This isn’t a tug-of-war. Men’s rights and women’s rights are not mutually exclusive (and the issues that each gender faces are RADICALLY different). I don’t know if you feel this way personally, but the way you explained yourself implies that the creation of a men’s centre would take something away from the women’s centre; and since you didn’t give any evidence or examples, that is a silly argument. The existence of one should NOT take anything away from the other. To me, it’s great that we have a women’s centre that offers social support to women dealing with whatever issues they may have. It creates a more supportive community for SFU as a whole and helps women deal with issues that I, as a man, cannot possibly relate to. If there was a men’s centre on campus that offers a similar environment, would you not say the same thing?

      There are valid reasons that a men’s centre should not be created. There’s the issue of funding, of course. And even if a centre was created, I think many guys born and raised in Western society would feel too proud/shy to use any of the services, or would fear judgement from their peers (which I feel is a separate problem). But the reasons you gave are overly broad and quite frankly, demonstrate a distinct lack of understanding of the issues many men go through, often silently. I don’t fault you for having little understanding. But that being said, I think you need to rethink your perception of this issue or need to explain a lot better how you think this will negatively affect the school community. Because to me, your comment looks like little more than an immediate gut-level reaction to what you feel is male dominance, when in reality this issue is precisely about gender equality and support for men in addition to women.

      • ” And even if a centre was created, I think many guys born and raised in Western society would feel too proud/shy to use any of the services, or would fear judgement from their peers (which I feel is a separate problem)”

        I would be far more willing to believe men would avoid the centre in order to avoid the hostility this poster and many others (such as the women’s centre website itself, calling masculinity dangerous) would direct at anyone using a male space outside feminist control… which is precisely what the poster you responded to was suggesting, that any men’s space should be defined as the feminist ideology dictates.

    • Men’s issues include drug and alcohol addiction, suicide, depression, health concerns. These can be address in a male only space and here in Australia I see quite a few “men’s shed” organizations that cater to men and give them a place to tinker in a workshop, build stuff together and quite a few of their members deal with depression etc so the friendship is extremely important.

      There is also a need for men to be educated about their high risk of becoming victims of domestic and sexual abuse (especially by female partners), and many may need counselling on such stuff. Do the female spaces cater to this for the women?

      As for the article and how it’s a man’s world, have they ever tried to research where men can go to escape domestic abuse or seek counselling in regards to rape? The information is very gendered in favour of the female victim/male perpetrator setup but with the recent shocking CDC stats uncovering a huge amount of male victimization at the hands of female and that setup being very rare to find info on….clearly there is a major need for these men to find a place to go and society itself has very few areas for that.

      Women aren’t the only class in the world that can be victims, I’d suggest maybe reading “The good men project” quite a bit and you might get some insight into just how many men are hurting badly and need POSITIVE help. One of the most common things I see from women reading that site is basically “I didn’t realize men had it that bad”.

    • “what about other major issues, like discussing the privilege men experience and how that intersects with class, race and other factors.”

      Oh, Jesus H. Christ. We have to hear about that every damn where else, constantly. That’s a large part of why a center like this would be welcome, there is perhaps ONE damn place you can go to not have your “privilege” thrown in your face constantly.

    • I think the point of the mens centre would be to discuss men’s issues. I would be interested if you could define “male privilege”. I cannot see what privilege males have in current society. This false idea of male privilege comes from apex fallacy – people look at the top CEOs and political leaders and note a larger percentage of males and say “it must be great to be a man”. However, those same people don’t look down and see the vast majority of homeless people, suicides and victims of violence (the vast majority of people assaulted are male). By looking only at the positive sides of being male and ignoring the negative aspects one can arrive at the faulty idea of “male privilege”.

      The function of a men’s centre should not be dictated by women. The men’s centre must be devoted to serve the needs of men. Happier men will indirectly benefit women.

      Stop trying to shame men for simply being men. Try to approach people with the premiss that most people – regardless of gender – are good and gentle.

  4. “The website lists support for the idea of a “male allies project” that would “bring self-identified men together to talk about masculinity and its harmful effects.” Masculinity, it says, “denigrates women by making them into sexual objects, is homophobic, encourages violence, and discourages emotional expression.””

    With attitudes like this, it’s no wonder men shy away from academia. They might as well be saying “Come to university and be emasculated!”

  5. The mens center could address domestic violence as experienced by men;
    The Fiebert Bibliography has many data sources indicating that men do experience domestic violence from women.

    It could also address sexual abuse as experienced by men. 1in6.org notes that 1 in 6 males have experienced sexual abuse before they reached adulthood.

    If, by exploring these ideas instead of focusing on “privilege men experience” and “discussion of men’s history and how it has effected women’s lives throughout” it impacts the 19 male:5 female suicide ratio of the USA (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate) then it will be an asset to the campus and the greater (national) college community.

  6. “…the privilege men experience….”

    Women these days experience no end of privilege not afforded to men, but mainstream and radical feminists (bigots) choose to ignore the fact and still have society convinced that women are terribly disadvantaged.

    Yet the article itself states that 55% of undergraduate students at this school are women. That’s actually better than the national average of 60%. I wonder why a full 50% more women than men complete their four-year degrees?

  7. “There needs to be a proper needs assessment,”- This is feminist code for “so we can stop it”

    “masculinity and its harmful effects…..is homophobic, encourages violence” – Wow…like didn’t Hitler make a comment about Jew’s and all their harmful effects? This is starting to sound like hate speech but no one would dare question it as it comes from feminists.

    “whether the men deserve funding” – Oh I am sorry when the last male student to attend University is contemplating suicide will men be deserving then?

    “female voices are oppressed” – Anyone who believes that female voices are oppressed on University Campuses today is seriously on some powerful recreational chemicals. The fact is the males need this place to go hide from the screaming female voices telling them how evil they are.

    I just can’t believe this article and that people actually think like this. Whats more unbelievable, however, is the fact no one speaks out against this nonsense.

  8. Having a men’s centre and a women’s centre is fine.

    Having neither is fine too.

    The only unacceptable, indefensible and sexist option is the one that exists right now, where women get everything and men are told to get lost.

  9. “did Midgley check that privilege and history and acknowledge the space he is operating from?”

    Perhaps he’ll do that once the women’s centre removes all the borderline hate speech from its walls.

    • You have to read old history books(material that was current as of 1910’s-1920’s) to understand the sheer level of anti-male bigotry in Academia. Just like there are people who obsess over male “privilege” as an excuse to deny boy’s, young men and men equality, men and women in yesterday’s Academia obsessed over racial “inferiority” of some races as an excuse to deny them equality.

      It is the same song and dance. Dance of psychopaths. These people hate on boy’s, young men and men because they can. If society showed zero tolerance towards this type of hatred they would move on a to a different target. Don’t let all the elaborate self justifications these psycho’s create to justify their bigotry fool you.

      Because if there was any substance to “male privilege”, they would list the “who, what, when , where and how.” Something these bigots always seem to seek to keep 100 miles away from.

      The simple reality is that feminism is nothing more then a hate movement. Don’t try to reason with zealot bigots, your only wasting your breathe an emotions.

  10. As a female R.N./Certified Wellness Coach (also trained in addiction studies) with over 30 years experience, I believe that the idea of a men’s centre is an excellent idea. Majority of my clients in my practice are adult males, and majority of the males that I see rarely seek out connection and support until personal crisis presents. Present day stressors affect both sexes, and to have a place that is only male that offers the same opportunity as the only female area is timely. Well done SFU!

  11. “The website lists support for the idea of a “male allies project” that would “bring self-identified men together to talk about masculinity and its harmful effects.” Masculinity, it says, “denigrates women by making them into sexual objects, is homophobic, encourages violence, and discourages emotional expression.”

    Why would any guy want to be part of group that suggests masculinity is some kind of dysfunction? I doubt campus feminists sit around and discuss ways they can treat men better.

  12. I can see already how this ends. No male-only space gets created and the funding that would have gone to it will go to the women’s center. They won’t get rid of that.

  13. ” Canadian society is “a man’s world,” female voices are oppressed in classes”

    This paints a rather dishonest and bleak picture of society and women, where women are supposedly denied a voice and the agency to speak up for themselves. Are women really so helpless as to be unable to voice their opinions in classes? And doesn’t our society and laws actually cater largely to women and their concerns? After all, despite colleges being 60%+ female attendance, our government (specifically, the only gendered ministry within our government, IE status of women) still doesn’t think that’s enough and pumps ever more money into female education programs and scholarships. Mere accusations of abuse or rape, without any evidence, can ruin a man (even if he doesn’t get found guilty). A man must censor his opinions for fear of being deemed a misogynist and getting reprimanded for “creating a hostile environment for women, and this is what we call a men’s world and male space? really?

    “Masculinity, it says, “denigrates women by making them into sexual objects, is homophobic, encourages violence, and discourages emotional expression.””

    I think this wholly negative opinion of men is rather telling as to why they would oppose a male space. If they think masculinity is so inherently dangerous, they would want to eradicate masculinity completely, not give it an open space of it’s own, especially a space where they could not so easily be controlled. You can see this even more clearly in their willingness to open a male allies project, basically, the inclusion of men, but under their women’s group supervision and control. But it is this very hostility towards men in our current society that demonstrates a need.

  14. “skepticism of the concept is evident in the centre’s FAQs. “Where is the men’s centre?” says a line atop that section of its website. “The simple answer is that the men’s centre is everywhere else,” it reads, before a paragraph that explains the justification for the women’s centre. Canadian society is “a man’s world,” female voices are oppressed in classes, and women feel threatened by drunken males at night, it reads.”

    The men’s centre is everywhere? Allow me to mark my territory in the women’s washroom next time…

    Jokes aside, its not that I doubt that gender disparities in this country exist, but I do find that the women centre’s perpetuation of this situation to be rather counterproductive towards establishing a gender equal world.

    Seriously, the men’s centre doesn’t sound like its intended to be a “gentlemen’s club of nifty things which women can’t have”, its sounds like a help centre geared towards men (and studies have shown that men are more open about problems amongst other men). Men and women have their own problems, and if women can have a women’s centre to address these problems, why not men? This isn’t the patriarchal establishment trying to resist the feminist movement, this is simply men attempting to address their gender-unique problems.

    If this men’s centre gets voted down, it not only reveals that this country still has a double standards, but it also shows the deep intrinsic antagonisms between men and women in Canada.

    • “If this men’s centre gets voted down, it not only reveals that this country still has a double standards, but it also shows the deep intrinsic antagonisms between men and women in Canada.”

      It would also demonstrate how little power men actually have in this “male dominated society”. After all, if we can’t even make our own men’s centre’s where such gender centre’s already exists as a precedent in a female form, how much dominance can men really have in comparison to the feminist movement?

  15. While I disagree with the existence of either center, I do agree that if it exists for one gender it should exist for the other gender.

    Perhaps men do need to start to step up and ask for – no demand – their own spaces again. Men as a whole are far more oppressed then women as a whole, and if there is activism to be done, it seems that men should start stepping up and doing it.

    As for the “Men allies” or some such, this concept is offensive. Men can – and should – do it their own way.

  16. This type of stuff is why I have always had a problem with feminism. It doesn’t seek true equality, but to vilify men in every scenario, regardless the situation. According to them, if a man gets beat by his wife, it’s because he did something to deserve it, but if he ever were to beat her, he’d be a monster! The fact of the matter is, men face domestic violence, are about twice as likely to be victims of violence overall, four times more likely to commit suicide, are the only gender than can be forcibly circumcised in this country as children, are far more likely to be wrongfully convicted or unjustly removed from their children’s lives, have no reproductive rights, and make up the minority of university students, yet have access to only about 20% of the scholarships that women do. These all seem like valid reasons to create a men’s center to me. You would think that the existence of a women’s center would justify the creation of a men’s center for anyone who was really interested in equality, but it’s clear that this women’s interests group is not. Then again with their view of masculinity as expressed in the article, who’s surprised?

  17. First and foremost I would like to request that the rest of the audience does not blanket all women under a category that fits someone like Emily.

    Honestly, that was the most ridiculous thing I have ever read. You know what I see here? A heck of a lot of segregation. Why in the world do we need to run comparison of man vs woman?

    FACT: The origin of feminism was designed with gender equality in mind, not leg shaving sessions where we talk about how one gender is more priviledged than the other.

    Hey… rather than discussing “womanism and manism” why don’t we take a stroll over to “humanism”

    The fact of the matter is, we all suffer, and no one should do it alone. PUT UP THE MAN’S CENTRE! Or– take them both down and offer up a human centre.

    There’s a concept.

    • “The origin of feminism was designed with gender equality in mind,”

      It may have been designed that way, but it certainly hasn’t turned out that way. Read some Wendy McElroy, Christina Hoff Sommers, Warren Farrell. Some identify two branches of feminism – equity feminists and gender feminists – to distinguish the often ideologically distinct branches of modern feminism.

      “Hey… rather than discussing “womanism and manism” why don’t we take a stroll over to “humanism””

      Great idea. Assuming that humanism isn’t discussed under a gender feminist rubric and the assumption that masculinity is “toxic.”

  18. This is always happening everywhere. Its the same with racism with aboriginals, people are scared to comment on something that is wrong based on the race, or even gender of whoever is making it. If you have a male specific area, I bet there will some outcry.

  19. When are the so called “feminists” [ re: useful tools of the eugenicists… look it up… the eugenicists fund the so called ‘feminists” ] ever going to figure out that to solve & stop violence against women one has to first solve & stop violence against men. A previous poster here was astute enough to realize that men are FAR more victims of violence [ all through out history in fact ] yet there are no programs aimed at ending it. Furthermore governments have killed off far more men to the point of genocide & creating a gender imbalance. Societies STILL send men off to fight for the elite’s wars yet nary a word of protest.

  20. Where is Emily?

  21. The article shoul have mentioned that the four men in the picture ran various initiatives (including a campus wide referendum and a few motions on different committees) with the intention of making entities such as the women centre more accountable. These gentleman also questioned the amount of funding that the women centre received from the society based on the merits of it own existence and the value created for the student body.
    The women centre became one of the items in the budget to be reduced without a question.
    During my time as an executive I agreed with these ideas.
    However, I question the intentions of this new project simply because it is hard to believe that their main concern is to create a safe space for men, when they personally devalued the importance of a similar, and perhpas more necessary entity/service as the women centre.
    I really hope their arguments are true and that this is not just a cheap and unfair managerial move to structure the society in the way they think is best (which has proven not be the same perspective of the student body, if we take into account their experience last year as executive directors).

  22. I’m a young woman currently attending university here in Canada, and I don’t understand why anyone would object to the existence of a Men’s Centre. If male students feel that they would benefit from having a special space that would be dedicated to dealing with issues that affect them, then go ahead and build the centre.

    I mean, I know that there are places I can go to if I need help, so why shouldn’t men have access to such places, too?

  23. The SFU Women’s Centre, as Marjorie pointed out, has in fact helped a wide array of individuals and causes. It also has a fairly clear set of goals. Moreover, the Women’s Centre has not isolated itself from other groups on campus. It’s not a place where women get together and complain about men. In fact, the Centre is embarking on a project that encourages men to become involved with campaigns for both men’s’ and women’s rights and provides a space for men to talk about male-specific problems.

    By the way, feminism is not about vilification of individual men or men as a group. It’s about critical analysis and resistance to patriarchal institutions and systems.

    I think a men’s centre is a good idea if it provides a space that is opposes to the status quo by confronting socioeconomic inequality, exploitation, racism, sexism, homophobia, and other harmful social constructions that support the current system. The women’s centre is basically of the same opinion (see their website).

    The women’s centre has proven its worth over decades and continues to do so. I don’t think the men’s centre should take away space and resources from the women’s centre but, if it must, then it can’t simply be another place for guys to hang out, because, frankly, we have plenty of those already.

    • “Moreover, the Women’s Centre has not isolated itself from other groups on campus.”

      I would say it’s description of masculinity most certainly HAS isolated it from men as a group. The problem is, it’s not even willing to acknowledge men are a group, except when seeking to lay blame.

      “It’s not a place where women get together and complain about men.”

      They have a rather hostile portrayal of men posted right up there on their website, and you suggest they don’t have any intention to complain about men?

      ” the Centre is embarking on a project that encourages men to become involved with campaigns for both men’s’ and women’s rights and provides a space for men to talk about male-specific problems.”

      Actually, the centers website has implied men don’t have issues except how they treat women. The website describes the program to include men by blaming and shaming them into being good little drones. Men need a space that is not dictated and run by the feminist rulebook. That is not a male space, it is a feminist indoctrination camp for men.

      “By the way, feminism is not about vilification of individual men or men as a group.”

      Patriarchy theory, the theory of male privilege, objectification theory. Male as abuser, male as rapist, male as dominator and controller. Male children of abuse are not seen as victims, but of future abusers in training. Masculinity as toxic, as described right on the women’s centre’s website, or male sexuality as dangerous. These are all concepts that vilify men brought out by feminism.

      “I think a men’s centre is a good idea if…”

      A men’s centre is OK if it is defined and dictated by feminists that vilify men as a whole (see above paragraph). Is this what a male dominated society looks like? Is this a “patriarchal institution”?

      “I don’t think the men’s centre should take away space and resources from the women’s centre”

      AKA giving men equality equals taking away from women. So you see this as a zero sum issue?

      ” it can’t simply be another place for guys to hang out”

      Are you suggesting men have no issues to address outside of the “help women” mindset you and emily have dictated? That any space not devoted to training men to be good feminists and proper self flagellation is just another hang out?

      I think this post of yours, and emily’s above, as well as what the women’s centre feels perfectly free and justified posting about men on their website, demonstrate just how false the notion that this is a male dominated society truly is.

  24. A society that despises its men runs the risk of creating despicable men. When will neglect and outright opposition of any men related issues end? I pray in my lifetime that I will witness a massive uprising against the idealogues that completely disregard mens well-being.

    • Well said, Natalie. You’d think this would be common sense.

  25. the deluge of anti-feminist and “egalitarian” comments following this article reveal a disturbing lack of understanding of the meaning of patriarchy, feminism’s role in deconstructing it, and the fact that men are also subject to it in oppressive ways. thanks to Mustafa U. for being a voice of reason. feminism is not about men vs. women, although some extreme forms of feminism have been construed that way. feminism is about critically examining how patriarchal social systems are oppressive to people, particularly women, but also men, by emphasizing masculinity at the expense of femininity. for example, patriarchy normalizes and encourages negative masculine stereotypes such as hierarchical domination (“power over”) as opposed to collaboration (“power with”). sure, it would be nice to have a place for men to discuss men’s issues, and it would be fantastic if that space were also used (like the women’s centre) to deconstruct patriarchy and create a safe place for men to discuss both their complicity in and oppression by that system. such discussions could encompass many of the so-called “anti-feminist” arguments posted here such as violence against men, which is really just another manifestation of patriarchy. from what i’ve read here, i suspect Midgley’s intentions aren’t so constructive.

  26. Hey “C”
    I see that you are putting your feminist training to good use……Unfortunately, I cannot agree with you. You are putting forth ideas and arguments that no longer are appropriate, let alone timely. Update your education please. Boys are suffering at all levels in our society….not just underachieving, but suffering. It is apparent in a our education system that boys are not “feeling the Love” as much as the girls are. Only when the boys are amongst other males do they feel relief from the oppression of “being boys”. The diatribe you present in your comments in indicative of the “educated female” perspective that I see all the time. Be it designers, teachers, or others who’s professional opinions come in conflict with another, the response pattern is predictable. If it is another female, there is an element of cooperation, but if the opposite is a male, beat him into submission. Unfortunately, it works, when a man stands up to a woman she usually goes looking for allies, while the man assumes that it it is over and done with, and it starts all over again. So let the men have their space and get over it.

  27. Hey “djbay1”,

    Point by point response:
    1. Boys are suffering – to the extent that society in general is suffering, sure, that makes complete sense and only supports my point about patriarchy. Further, if boys are suffering in a patriarchal society, imagine what must be happening to those with less privilege. Since university is itself a place of privilege, enrollment statistics are a poor proxy for Canadian society in general and if you do want to start a stats-based debate, I guarantee you there is far more material supporting the argument of male privilege – my supposedly “out of date” education notwithstanding.

    2. Relief from oppression of “being boys” is only found amongst other males – as a guy myself (albeit a privileged one due to my access to a university education), I can attest to the fact that this statement is utter hogwash. I have experienced the kinds of oppression of which I think you speak (bullying? societal expectations of maleness?) but in my experience, with rare exceptions, most male-only gatherings tend to reinforce rather than challenge negative male stereotypes. that’s because it’s ok and “normal” in a patriarchal society for those behaviours to flourish. if the proposed Men’s Centre were committed to critically examining such things, it would have my support, but this sounds more like a men vs. women “fairness” fight with no real organizational goal in mind other than, “let’s stick it to the Women’s Centre”.

    3.Men are beaten into submission by women when their professional opinions differ – I’m sorry if this has been your experience, but it certainly hasn’t been mine, nor to my knowledge, that of any of my male friends in professional roles. In most of the professional settings I’ve experienced, women’s voices are still noticeably marginalized until they become very good at conforming to negative male stereotypes…yet another side effect of patriarchy.

    4. Women look for allies, men move on – Putting aside the fact that you are simply reinforcing gender stereotypes with this statement, ever wonder why?

    • Hey “C”

      Nice generalizations, and I do not need your pity.

      I am not into a “statics Debate” nor do I feel in a totally “Patriarchal” society. Our economy has changed, the rules around work have changed and the societal aspects of being male have changed. In short, the cultural respect for males has been modified into a much more negative perspective. Why? No Proof? I think the “Women’s Centre” website at SFU is ample proof let alone the student produced film that is said to be a response to the funding of the future “Men’s Centre”. As for the male “Allies” of the Women’s Centre…….as I said before, some young males never recover from their sixth grade playground indoctrination.
      As for Men moving on……..I suggest you watch a few of the “Housewives of…….Series”. Why are these shows so popular with women…….and why is there not equivalent men’s program.

      As I said before……Update your education.

    • How is having a Men’s Centre “sticking it to the Women’s Centre”, pray tell?

  28. “The website lists support for the idea of a “male allies project” that would “bring self-identified men together to talk about masculinity and its harmful effects.” Masculinity, it says, “denigrates women by making them into sexual objects, is homophobic, encourages violence, and discourages emotional expression.””

    Sounds great, while they’re at it they can discuss how those negative stereotypes oppress and disadvantage them in terms of their gender.

    Are the tenants of the women’s center going to discuss femininity and it’s harmful effects? Will they discuss how they denigrate men by treating them as financial and success objects, how women’s lives are values above men’s, how women are just as likely to be homophobic as men and how the use of phrases such as “man up” ensure that men remain emotional cripples?

    Nope, thought not.

    • *valued

  29. I don’t see any reason why I should have a place to go to for problems, and my brother, boyfriend, best guy friend etc shouldn’t.

  30. I would guess that the arguments today made against a men’s centre are the same used 30 years ago against a women’s centre. While my first instinct was “WTF? men are ruling anyway”, thinking about it I have to support a men’s centre. Men are not ruling, patriarch is ruling. Natalie is right, “A society that despises its men runs the risk of creating despicable men.”
    So I’d vote for a men’s centre to allow men to get away from patriarchal ideas of “Real Men(tm)” to be real men (who have a safe space, who can ask for help. who can figure out what it means to be equal and diverse.) Maybe SFU can be once again a radical university ;)

  31. Let’s compare, folks:
    There are many organizations/clubs that exist which are designed to be exclusive to a particular race. But is it OK to have a “whites club” on campuses? We don’t think twice about the Asian Students Clubs, but there would be quite a ruckus if there was a White Students Club.
    The reason is the historical privilege of the group. Men’s clubs aren’t necessary because most clubs cater to men anyway.Women are, at best, an accessory to men in these spaces.

  32. I will be graduating from SFU soon, and I wish I were here longer so that I could see this centre opened. There is a Gay and Lesbian Centre, and of course a Women’s Centre, and for equality there should be a Men’s centre. Opposition to such a centre is clear man bashing. There are Women only fitness centres everywhere, but no mens only fitness centres; there are women only social clubs – and don’t be naive, feminists raised hell over historical mens clubs and if a mens club was to open now it would be impossible. So why in the time of equality are men suppressed. That is right, I said it. Think about almost every tv commercial, and many tv characters, the men in these are almost exclusively portrayed as arrogant and ignorant … it is always the man who does something stupid or immoral etc., and this clearly a belittling bias. How many magazines publish articles on men and infidelity … it is estimated that men and women cheat in equal amounts, yet males are more likely to admit it. Face it, females do as many bad things as men. Yet who suffers the consequences? If there is a battered woman there is an enormous amount of resources for her and the legal system will hold her up, however, a battered man is ridiculed – type is “abused mens centre into Google and check out how many centres for abused men there are in comparison to women’s centres. If we are to have a culture of equality, then women are going to need to figure out how to be secure enough in their sexuality and gender to be comfortable with men having things for themselves such as a support centre or social club. Men have had the deck stacked against them for decades, as others have mentioned there are ample scholarships and even admissions quotas for entering women into post secondary education, but if there was a males only scholarship then, again, there would be hell raised – how is this equality? Why should a qualified man be rejected admission to a professional school to admit a less qualified woman for a quota? And did it ever occur to some women that the reason that there are more men in certain professions is because males just hold more interest in the subject matter! There needs to be men’s centres (again) just as there needs to be women’s centres and stop the poor me I’m a girl attitudes.

  33. What will they discuss. ????
    Sexist laws against men
    Family court where men have no rights at all.
    Quotas in university that allow women in with lower marks
    Sexism against men in the media
    sexism against men in hiring
    sexist women studies courses that are a bastion for lesbian feminists.
    I could go on and on.
    I will
    They could discuss how men have higher suicide rates, that men are forced to go to war, while women have never ever been made to ever go to war.
    ?? Oh they could discuss how men’s health is not funded like women’s health.
    They could discuss how over 80 % of all lay offs during this recession were MEN.
    They could talk about how radical feminists have taken over the education system and the fact that boys are put on medication because teachers what them to act like quite girls.
    They could talk about how amazing men are and that every great thing on the planet was built,invented by MEN.
    They could talk about telling women that have not earned the right to be equal because they are not. They could talk about how the feminists have made law makers make it impossible for men to compete, because women are incapable of competing with men without quotas and special sexist laws.

    • Good points, but the centre should be for doing as much as discussing. They could also do sex ed, outreaches, charity fundraising, health counseling, mentoring, Domestic Violence education (women can very much be abusers too), etc. That’s what a certain subset of ideologues are afraid of, they’d rather the “douchebags” stay marginalized to discussing these things while nursing a developing alocohol/drug abuse problem, or relegated to dissociative & ineffectual “gripe fest” online forums.