Proposed men’s group faces hostile policy

Ryerson Students’ Union rejects “concept of misandry”

Anjana Rao, left, Argir Argirov and Sarah Santhosh want to start a men's issues group (Photo by Stine Danielle)

An effort to guard the empowerment of women’s voices on campus took form Monday when the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) swiftly adopted a bold new policy rejecting the concept of misandry – the hatred or fear of men.

Neda Hamzavi, a faculty of community services representative on the RSU Board of Directors (BOD), watched her amendment to the RSU’s policy on women’s issues pass without any debate, discussion or dispute. This could cause conflict at a time when controversial men’s issues movements are on the rise at university campuses.

“There’s been a lot of work across campuses not only in Ontario but also across the country that have been working sort of [as] anti-women’s rights groups,” Hamzavi said in her pitch to the BOD.

“We want to acknowledge that the additions that we added here are regarding the ideas of misandry and reverse-sexism, both of which are oppressive concepts that aim to delegitimize the equity work that women’s movements work to do.” Marwa Hamad, vice-president equity at the RSU, said the policy will preserve space for discussing misogyny and institutionalized gender imbalances.

The amendment applies to a Women’s Issues clause that provides a strict mandate for which activities the RSU opposes. Outlined in the board’s agenda, the new policy rejects:

“4. Groups, Meetings or events [that] promote misogynist views towards women and ideologies that promote gender inequity, challenges women’s right to bodily autonomy, or justifies sexual assault  5. The concept of misandry as it ignores structural inequity that exist between men and women 6. Groups, meetings events or initiatives [that] negate the need to centre women’s voices in the struggle for gender equity.”

The RSU’s three-pronged policy change could complicate the creation of a men’s issues group which applied for student-group status last week. Sarah Santhosh, a second year biology student and the founder of the Ryerson Association for Equality, said she was shocked the RSU passed this motion two days before the executives’ meeting with the Student Groups Committee.

Santhosh insisted her group is not about being anti-feminist, but rather the right to discuss men’s issues on campus – including misandry.

“The ironic thing is my voice is being silenced right now because I can’t even form a group without having to face this really back-handed deal that’s really attacking our group,” Santhosh said.

But Hamad said the policy will help the RSU protect women’s issues, which “have historically and continue to today to be silenced.”

“I think it’s important to remember that when we’re talking about dismantling patriarchy, we’re talking about supporting men, we’re talking about supporting women [and] we’re talking about supporting the entire gender spectrum,” she said.

This story originally appeared in The Eyeopener student newspaper.




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Proposed men’s group faces hostile policy

  1. Three brave students want to help the gender that is 5x more likely to commit suicide, 92% of workplace accidents, lives shorter lives with more illness, three times as likely to be homeless, and less likely to attend college. What do the feminists do? They crucify the students, and pre-emptively outlaw any discussion of issues that affect men, boys, and fathers.

    How did feminism, once a powerful force for positive change, degenerate into a sadistic hate movement?

    • Well said.

    • Never. You’d know that if you ever talked to any real feminists. Ryerson SU has its head up its ass a lot of the time, and I don’t think bureaucratic fiddling over who gets a gold star from a committee is the way to fight this fight, so this is one of those times.

      But if you really want to talk about all those issues, the place to do it is in the existing feminist group. All those “male problems” up there are the consequence of the same patriarchy they’re tackling, and if you want to sit down and listen to them for a few minutes without crying about your right to a meaningless stamp of approval, they can explain to you why you’re doing more harm than good to your own cause.

      • “But if you really want to talk about all those issues, the place to do it is in the existing feminist group. All those “male problems” up there are the consequence of the same patriarchy they’re tackling, and if you want to sit down and listen to them for a few minutes without crying about your right to a meaningless stamp of approval, they can explain to you why you’re doing more harm than good to your own cause.”

        Come on, the big reason men’s groups even exist today is because feminism has fallen short of actually helping men in a way that’s not trickle-down “see, your sister has help for when she is a victim of DV” way.

        Helping men directly has apparently never been in the mandate, or there would be shelters for male victims of DV and rape, commissions and committees to redress inequalities against men and all that stuff. Equality is not a zero-sum game. Having MHRA doesn’t mean it’s about rolling back women’s rights. It’s about true equality in areas that have been forgotten because it’s not about women.

      • “But if you really want to talk about all those issues, the place to do it is in the existing feminist group.”

        It’s really not.

        First, feminists hate people who talk about male problems in feminist spaces. They have called it mockingly “what about teh menz” and marginalize anyone doing it.

        Second, trying to do so means allowing feminists to define for men their own lives and their own experiences, which is unacceptable. Feminists will allow only discussions that stem from their own theory that are based around women’s experiences, this means that any work to build an understanding of men’s issues from the ground up based on the perspectives of men themselves will be severely frowned upon, if not outright censored. People who do so will be accused of coopting feminism.

        Third, why should people be forced to accept theories of “male privilege” and “patriarchy” before discussing male issues? How helpful are you to some guy who is suicidal if the first thing you do when they come to ask for help is telling him that he is “privileged” and is part of a system of oppression of women and shaming him for it?

        Fourth, feminism has a bad track record of taking issues that concern men and then trying to turn them around to actually make it about women. For example, when confronted with the fact that men can be ostracized and beaten for not conforming to male gender stereotype, feminists invented the term “femmephobia” and claimed that the issue was that society was “afraid of femininity”. In other words, they shifted the debate to take away the status of “victim” of the man and instead said that women were the actual victims of men being beaten for not being “manly” enough.

        “they can explain to you why you’re doing more harm than good to your own cause.”

        This is extremely, and ironically, paternalist. “Don’t worry your little head, we’ll tell you how to think, we know so much more than you about everything”.

      • Rubbish. The existing feminist power structure is what created this mess in the first place. Furthermore, isn’t it a bit arrogant to expect non-feminist people to seek the feminist stamp of approval for what they may or may not talk about? I mean, come on man, this is the non-feminist revolution after all — and since when do revolutions seek permission to revolt from the same corrupt establishment they are rebelling against?
        Irony much? ;)

  2. Well I know one university I won’t be attending. So much for institutes of higher education being tolerant. Way to go Ryerson way to promote Canada’s ideals. Hypocrisy at its finest…

  3. “But if you really want to talk about all those issues, the place to do it is in the existing feminist group.”

    WOW!!!

    “All those “male problems” up there are the consequence of the same patriarchy they’re tackling,”

    -And if I, as an actual MAN, say it’s the consequence of something other than what you say, what are you gonna do, Ban me?

    “and if you want to sit down and listen to them for a few minutes”

    -Already have, the last 23 years.

    “without crying”

    -So now men can’t cry?

    “about your right to a meaningless stamp of approval,”

    -The same stamp women thought worth to FIGHT for? That meaningless stamp

    “they can explain to you why you’re doing more harm than good to your own cause.”

    -But, it’s MY cause to do with as I and other men feel. Or should I shut-up and do as I’m told?

  4. ““We want to acknowledge that the additions that we added here are regarding the ideas of misandry and reverse-sexism, both of which are oppressive concepts that aim to delegitimize the equity work that women’s movements work to do.” Marwa Hamad, vice-president equity at the RSU, ”

    Is it my imagination, or is a direct interpretation of this quote not tell us that the concept of acknowledging the hatred of men exists aims to delegitimize the work of women’s groups… or in other words, the hatred of men is an integral part of women’s groups work that, if acknowledge, would delegitimize their efforts? If the hatred of men is so integral to their work, isn’t delegitimizing it a good thing?

    • PS, I think it needs to be pointed out the similarities between this event and the Simon Fraser University men’s center issue a year ago.

  5. “It’s only sexist when men do it”?

    Well, at least this student union have now made it official that they believe men’s issues don’t exist.

    So next time they try to claim that feminism is for equality, remind them of their own policy, and advocate for their funding to be removed and given instead to real equality groups.

    Cut off their money.

  6. Fine. If the Official Voice of Feminism, or any individual person I’m talking to, wants to deny the reality of misandry, and scoff at the very concept of it, they are entitled to do so. After all, everybody is entitled to their opinion.

    However, by the same token, I am entitled to my own opinion. So anybody who would deny the reality of misandry in the world licenses me to equally deny the reality of misogyny, and to scoff at the very concept of it.

    If there is no such thing as misandry in this world, then I insist that there is likewise no such thing as MISOGYNY.

    In fact, I scoff at the very concept of it.

    You know what? This greatly simplifies my life! ;)

  7. Here’s an idea.
    Men should start to attend every women’s studies courses, seminars, presentation. Pack the rooms, voice your opinion, and since you paid tuition, you have that right. If they demand that you leave, document it, video it, expose it, and take it to a charter of rights and freedoms case. See if the universities stand behind bigotry when the well of money starts to drain.

  8. I actually took several Women Studies courses and I can honestly say that although there are valid issues in feminism there are also institutional barriers.

    However, one of the things about feminism that refuses to get acknowledge is the racism, the classism, and also the misandry. It was nauseating taking lectures listening to these entitled mostly white middle class privleged women complain about how hard they had it in society.

    The feminism that is taught in Canadian universities is often from a white feminist perspective which ignores people of colour. I found it pathetic listening to entitled white middle class feminists preach about misogyny while they refused to acknowledge their white privlege. Men of colour encounter a lot of barriers in society and I would argue probably more than white middle class women.

    Ryerson University made a huge mistake not creating this men’s issues group.

  9. “But Hamad said the policy will help the RSU protect women’s issues, which ‘have historically and continue to today to be silenced.’”

    The “continue to today to be silenced” part is incredibly ironic given that she has just silenced a group from being able to express it’s opinions.

    This seems to fit in with the Arthur Schopenhauer’s quote on truths:
    “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”…

  10. After what Elliot Rodger did to two innocent Caucasian females, men need to be monitored and tracked to protect our daughters.

  11. Pingback: I have always believed that I should have had no difficulty in causing my rights to be respected. — Eli Whitney | Geoffrey & Mika

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