Coming soon to a college near you: Men’s studies programs…


Somewhere beneath the radar screen, college-age American men as a group aren’t doing so well, especially when compared to today’s college women and  men of the halcyon era of U.S. higher education long past, according to Rocco L. Capraro, who wrote an essay published in What Works: A Book About Raising Boys, Engaging Guys, and Educating Men.

As compared to college women and previous generations of college men, the sad facts:

  • they read less;
  • graduating from high school, they are not prepared for college;
  • many are simply not attending college; and,
  • those who matriculate aren’t graduating in large numbers.

These sad facts translate into the reality that if college admissions were gender-blind, then the majority of students at the nation’s most selective colleges would be women.

Of those men who do attend college today:

  • they are less engaged in studies and student life;
  • they receive lower grades and fewer academic honors (men in STEM courses–i.e., science, technology, engineering, and math–being the exception);
  • they exhibit higher rates of alcohol and substance abuse and commit more social conduct violations; and,
  • they use fewer student services and are more reluctant to seek help and attend support programs.

In sum, men are getting less out of their college experience, and they are not taking it upon themselves to do something about it.

So, what’s to be done? Capraro’s answer: “Men’s studies” that will enable college men:

  • To get at the underlying causes of the lack of success of college men, what’s needed is to take a cue from feminist, critical race, and other explanatory systems to understand differentials in power to explain to college men the experience of college men, why they are struggling, and what they can do about it.
  • To understand men’s experience, identity, and development throughout the life course—understanding men as men, not as generic human beings—will assist college men to know who they are (the social reality), what they think (stereotypes) and what they would like to be (the gender ideal). In short, to study “masculinities” so as to be able to discuss male students as males.

Capraro is optimistic, writing:

At bottom, what men’s studies teaches us, and where it can play a role in improving the lives of college men, is the fundamental insight that the totality of men’s experience cannot be explained by men’s power alone. True, objectively speaking, men as a group may still have power over women as a group; however, subjectively, individual men do not necessarily feel powerful, or behave as if they were in control.  That is because many men engage in harmful, self-destructive behaviors linked to messages about manhood, or feel they do not measure up to the gender ideal, or are burdened by harmful stereotypes of what it means to be a man.

They are also socialized not to express their feelings, report symptoms, reveal their vulnerability, or otherwise deal in healthy ways with their emotions. And when it comes to learning, they learn at an early age that “school is for girls.” Masculinity leaves men feeling shamed and disempowered, suffering the negative consequences of their own notions of manhood and their own aversion to female identified values and attributes.

Worse yet, after steering men in the wrong direction, masculinity—insidiously and tragically—interferes with help-seeking behavior. No wonder so many men struggle in college. On campus, college women more likely to be sober and involved and men are drinking more—and more often—and are more distracted. College women in distress are more likely to seek out counseling centers or are referred by a friend, while college men become silent or act out. Informed by men’s studies, we can better design programs and services for college men, with men in mind.

If Capraro is to be believed, teachers and administrators in the nation’s K-12 schools are causing boys to become confused about what it means to be men so that, by the time high school graduation rolls around, they have absolutely no sense about their identity as males. Today, college men are “victims” who need to attend college to learn what who they are not only as men but also be educated in the various forms of “masculinities.” All of this will empower college men to be men, in the same way that college age women have been empowered through K-12 schools to seize upon their college experience to be equal and, it seems, surpass all of those poor, confused college men.

“Male studies.” The panacea for confused college men?

Good grief.



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  1. The feminist movement has emasculated every male in the world. We have homosexuality because it is too frightening to become a man and why bother. Do fathers count in abortion? Not at all. Does God, the Father, give men a purpose in life? Yes. Only loving God gives a person a purpose in life.

  2. The modern education system and popular culture portray men, specifically white men as sex-starved immature idiots, blamed for all of the world’s problems through guilt by association. This thinking has entered Catholic seminaries and controls it in many places.

  3. One suspects that a Men’s Studies Department would look suspiciously like an earlier attempt at affirmative action for Canadians:

  4. “Only loving God gives a person a purpose in life.”

    Plain and Simple! Mary De Voe, absolute truth! Praise God..vocations director extraordinaire. 🙂

  5. Men’s studies will do little to help the situation. I would be embarrassed to have it on my transcript. No, there is no real substitute for a father in a solid family environment.

  6. Young males need to be taught to tell the truth, shoot straight and drive a muscle car (formerly to ride a horse). Plus, they have to know that they are responsible: there is never an acceptable excuse.
    Truth: The average Swiss, little girl (can shoot) is a better man than the average liberal poor excuse for a male.
    Fathers, God gave you your children. Sons and daughters, God gave your fathers. Do your duty.

  7. “…commit more social conduct violations…”

    Just look around you. Bad behaviors by females are rarely considered “social conduct violations” no matter how damaging to others they may be. Men, in contrast, are held to a higher, stricter standard. Feminists, female-firsters, and gynolators call that “equality”.

  8. “Male studies.” The panacea for confused college men? Good grief.

    When you boys and girls tolerated the establishment of Women’s Centers and Women’s Studies programs on your college campuses, you started down the path that inevitably led to this.

    I am curious about your plans for making reparations for your offenses.

  9. T Shaw wrote, “drive a muscle car (formerly to ride a horse)”

    I would recommend riding to everyone and especially adolescent boys and young men. It teaches poise, balance, coordination, judgment and team-work (horse and rider), especially if one engages in the full range of diciplines: dressage, show jumping and cross-country.

    I know noting to equal thesheer exhilaration of point-to-point, or the satisfaction of a full days pest-control (three horses and a riding groom, covering, say, 50 miles round trip)

    Any number of young people over the years have come to our stables to exercise the horses and help out and the benefits they derive from it are remarkable. I am also involved in Riding for the Disabled.

    No wonder that at St Cyr, all cadets are required to ride and fence (another excellent discipline); in fact the two compliment each other

  10. Mary DeVoe hit the nail on the head. Young boys are emasculated by the feminist movement. All the social engineering leaves us with men and women who think there is no particular purpose to their being a man or a woman. They don’t know how to “do” being a man.
    Or a woman.
    For a while, after we all “left the farm” so to speak. And became so thoroughly modernized and dependent upon socialized help, boys no longer learned to make, to build, to fix, to maintain working along with their dads and uncles. Girls no longer learn being a wife and mother and homemaking skills from their own mother…. For a while schools taught shop and Ag and home ex to fill the gap. Then society thought better of it. Decided we should be homogenized. Now young men don’t have anything to recommend them over a young woman… Even when it comes to marriage material.
    And girls are catching up to them on the “ability to do violence” front.

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