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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    More awareness needed to address college male culture

    Gender roles are assigned by society based merely on our genitalia. Breaking down these detrimental roles is a task naturally taken on by the marginalized sex, females, but this fails to address the whole problem.

    College male culture — although not typically an issue that comes up when activists cry foul — is an area that needs attention on the UA campus and on college campuses nationwide.

    Resources for minorities that are marginalized by society are abundant on campus. These and similar programs are vital to the university, but there is still a significant hole in that college males typically do not have the same resources to discuss college male culture that other groups have.

    The Men’s Project is an internship and educational outreach program at the UA that aims to address issues specific to college men. Started last spring by the Women’s Resource Center Program Director, Krista Millay, and two undergraduate student interns, it seeks to become a resource for those who are generally ignored in diversity-oriented college programming: men.

    Although college males are not a traditionally marginalized group, Alex Karaman, a graduate assistant for the Women’s Resource Center who specifically oversees The Men’s Project, explains why this group is important.

    “On one hand, men are afforded many advantages in our society, from higher pay to greater presence in political offices,” he said. “On the other hand, when discussing identity-based programming, men can be left out of the equation. Research focuses heavily on traditionally marginalized university communities: young women, students of color, low-income students, and international students.”

    College male culture is a set of pressures that college men face that stem from typically masculine norms and stereotypes. These pressures lead to a number of behavioral consequences ranging from binge drinking, risk-taking and homophobia to aggression and violence.

    Men are not traditionally a marginalized minority of society, but they still face issues that should be addressed.

    A 2010 study by the CDC [Center for Disease Control] revealed that binge drinking is twice as prevalent in men as it is in women. The study also found that the intensity of binge drinking was highest among adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

    Alcohol consumption is by no means an irregularity — the CDC reports that 51.5 percent of adults 18 years or older reported having at least 12 drinks in the past year, but college male culture specifically pressures college men to drink more than college women. After asking a male UA student who wished to remain anonymous if he feels that there’s more pressure on males to drink, he replied, “definitely.”

    Instead of shrugging this trend off like it’s “normal” and saying “boys will be boys,” The Men’s Project addresses these issues in hopes of finding an effective solution. Getting men to talk about college male issues is the first step.

    “Men are not typically encouraged to open up about their experiences,” Karaman said. “The Men’s Project helps allay those problems by providing safe space for students to talk about the issues they face.”

    Even though males are not marginalized in society, they still face harmful pressures specific to their sex. Excessive drinking is only one facet of the overall problem of society’s strict expectation of men to be masculine.

    Having programs like The Men’s Project will hopefully educate our communities enough to encourage a more diverse interest in finding wholesome solutions to these gender-based issues.

    Karaman said, “It is my personal belief that men need to be involved in advocating around these issues. These issues are not women’s issues, they are everyone’s issues. No problem can be fixed with the support of only half the world.”

    Jessica Draper is a sophomore studying political science. Follow her on Twitter.com/@jessidraper.

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