Editorial: 'Men's studies' would lead to more gender trouble
Published: Friday, April 16, 2010
Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 18:08
Although creating a separate field of study called "men's studies" would be redundant expanding women's studies into gender studies would not be remiss. Recently, colleges across the nation have created concentrations known as either male or men's studies in response to women's studies. But this is the incorrect reaction. These majors tend to denounce or demean the topics broached in women's studies classes, instead of working with them and finding relevant parallels.
Living in a society that is male-dominated means that many fields already inadvertently stem from "male studies" – textbooks are mostly written by men and thus have a male perspective. History classes almost always focus on men, and therefore has a male perspective. Creating men's studies is only going to cause a greater divide between the genders and create more misunderstanding. Studies about men and masculinity should not be pitted against studies about women and femininity. Both can coexist and be discussed together.
Women's studies continues to be a necessary field because women are not always adequately represented in other areas. But women's studies can incorporate masculinities effectively. Many women's studies programs already encompass gender studies in general. The interaction between men and women, and the reasoning behind male dominance, are features that appear in a multitude of women's studies courses.
Certainly, there are differences between the genders – differences that should be studied. Colleges need to take care to not let men's studies become what they accuse women's studies of being: biased and unbalanced. One of the primary issues with this topic is that groups that advocate men's studies tend to have incorrect notions about women's studies classes and feminism. They create their idea of men's studies based on their wrong idea about women's studies.
Creating a discipline of gender studies, whether separate from women's studies or inserted as a concentration, would be the best choice. There are misconceptions that women's studies is relevant only to women, and a change of name can help eliminate these.
Students should understand that gender is an important issue to everyone. By promoting classes that examine gender studies on a whole, colleges can ensure that a proper education is maintained without devaluing any preexisting subject.