Colleges versus men

L.C. Sheahan writes for the Martin Center about the current college campus climate for men.

In the wake of Harvey Weinstein, #MeToo, increased public attention to sexual harassment, and the growing debate about due process rights of the accused, how are young men to navigate the sexual minefield that exists on many campuses and emerge as neither a lout nor a loner?

The consensus opinion of the academic establishment is predictable: the concept of traditional Western masculinity must go. Contemporary university campuses are linking the supposedly hyper-masculine behavior of Weinstein and his ilk to the struggles of many young men to succeed in higher education. Some are implementing programs to counter what they call “toxic masculinity.” …

… The left perceives these programs as coddling a male demographic that already experiences too much privilege. Many on the right see them as an attack on masculinity; this conservative critique of the treatment of men goes back at least to Christina Hoff Sommers’s 2000 book The War on Boys.

Others see this as simply a byproduct of the rise of women. As women have achieved parity in political, economic, and social standing with men, it is inevitable that some men, especially those of a hyper-masculine disposition, would feel threatened. Without social approval for traditionally masculine attributes and with no apparent alternative, such men would naturally lash out as they struggle to adapt to the new norm.

But defiant aggressiveness is not the only response to this new sexual reality. Millions of young men are already checking out of modern society in one way or another. Many are playing video games rather than going to college or seeking full-time work. Some may not be worried about this phenomenon but combined with other indicators, there is ample evidence that young men are struggling.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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