I follow the blog of African-American author Steven Barnes, largely because his commentaries on writing were recommended by another author. Mr. Barnes has an an impressive set of credentials and has written novels with such Science Fiction luminaries as Larry Niven (look right) and the late Jerry Pournelle. But while I find some of what Barnes presents on his blog interesting and useful, I can’t say I agree with him about everything (although to be fair, I’m sure he wouldn’t agree with me on a lot of things as well).
However, in a recent blog post of his called What Are You Offering the World?, he made two seemingly unrelated points that I found highly useful. I’ll present them over two blog posts here because each topic deserves individual attention.
The first is about masculinity. Now, given many of the topics upon which Barnes writes, I can reasonably assume he leans more left on the social and political scale than I do, probably quite a bit more, but here’s the important part. The important part is that we shouldn’t stereotype (and I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone) and here’s why.
Image found at CNN – Photo credit unavailable
I’m about two-thirds through my read of the Superversive Press anthology To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity, which I plan to review both on my blog and on Amazon. I’ve already written about my anticipation of this volume and authored a review of The Last Hunt, which was Richard Paolinelli’s contribution.
Last night before going to bed, I read the Campus Reform article, Researchers say masculinity training ‘ignores human nature’ written by Toni Airaksinen, and I was amazed at how the themes of her missive and the anthology converged.
Apparently, there’s something on university campuses today called “masculinity training,” which is designed to purge male students of their ‘toxic’ masculinity. In fact, a Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is calling for ‘toxic masculinity’ training in kindergarten.
However, as cited in Airaksinen’s article:
“Ban Men” image found at Campus Reform website
I find myself writing more frequently about social issues on this blog for whatever reason. I probably shouldn’t, especially since I’m white, male, straight, cisgender, old, conservative (relative to liberal states – in relation to Idaho, I’m probably a moderate), and religious.
In other words, based on that collection of labels, I’m a pretty terrible human being, at least among a certain set of demographics.
I’ll say at the outset that the closest article I’ve written to this one in terms of theme is Injured and Dangerous about a group of hostile, aggressive, and potentially lethal men called Incels. Click the link I provided if you haven’t heard of them and prepare to be terrified.
Earlier today, I read an article from Campus Reform called Feminist prof doubles-down on call to ‘hate men’ written by Toni Airaksinen. She was referencing an opinion piece written by Suzanna Danuta Walters for the Washington Post titled Why Can’t We Hate Men?.
Cover image of the soon to be published book “To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity.”
I’ve become aware of a book soon to be made available through Superversive Press called To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity. It’s an anthology and actually the sort of project I’d have loved to contribute to. The theme is based on a premise currently popular in speculative fiction and in certain social perspectives, that traditional masculinity is considered toxic or otherwise undesirable or harmful.
Actually, the issues are more complicated than they seem on the surface, but they are also very polarizing (like so many social issues are these days).
I came across the term Beta Male in relation to this, and depending on your perspective, it’s either highly denigrated or highly celebrated. If traditional masculinity is “toxic,” then “beta maleness” seems to be the goal in some circles.
In response to Disney’s current “take” on the “Star Wars” franchise, I’ve decided to “take back” Star Wars by re-watching the original trilogy (“Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return of the Jedi”). To me, those are the only three films that truly embrace “StarWars-ness”), even though “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” (the latter film I have yet to see) feature some of the original actors.