Debate Over Groups for Men at British Universities

November 23, 2009

Support groups for male students are starting to appear at British universities -- and while some see them as organizations allowing men to explore issues of masculinity, others fear that they are "just a front for macho activities and beer-drinking marathons," The Guardian reported. Alex Linsley, founder of Man Collective-Oxford, said: "There is so much conflicting information for men. There is massive confusion as to what being a man means, and how to be a good man. Should you be the sensitive all-caring, perhaps the 'feminized' man? Or should you be the hard, take no crap from anybody kind of figure? Neither of those are particularly useful paradigms. But there's perhaps things we could learn from both perspectives." Some women reject the idea that universities need new efforts for men. Olivia Bailey, national women's officer for Britain's National Union of Students, said: "Discrimination against men on the basis of gender is so unusual as to be non-existent.... To suggest that men need a specific space to be 'men' is ludicrous, when everywhere you turn you will find male-dominated spaces."

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