Wisconsin legislator outraged that a university class dare question masculinity

Wisconsin Senator Steve Nass is not down for academics discussing masculinity, declaring that a new University of Wisconsin-Madison course called the Men’s Project is a “war on men.” The six-week program (open only to male-identifying students) examines masculinity and how it plays into pop culture, media, sexuality, relationships, and violence. In an email to other state lawmakers, Nass claimed the school was part of a liberal effort to rid students of “toxic masculinity” and called for the state to give less money to the school.

The totally serious email said in the subject line, “UW-Madison Declares War on Men and their Masculinity — Not a Joke,” in case anyone thought this was a laughing matter. “The supposedly underfunded and overworked administrators at our flagship campus have scrapped [sic] together enough dollars to offer a six-week program open only to ‘men-identified students,” the email read, according to the Associated Press. “In short, the highly paid leaders at UW-Madison now believe that Wisconsin mothers and fathers have done a poor job of raising their boys by trying to instill in them the values and characteristics necessary in becoming a Man.” He also asked his colleagues to change how much money goes to UW in the next state budget.

Unsurprisingly, the same white man livid about discussions on masculinity was also mad UW-Madison started a class titled “The Problem of Whiteness.” He and another conservative white man asked that UW be cut from the budget because of that class just three weeks ago. “Our friends at UW-Madison, not happy enough with labeling ‘whiteness’ as a societal problem, now are attacking another social ill …, Men and their masculinity,” the latest email scathed. Don’t worry fellas, no one’s forcing you to attend these classes, though you could certainly stand to be schooled on the issues.

The Men’s Project’s website explains that it’s based off a similar initiative at Washington University in St. Louis. It’s set up to be more of a cohort than a class, allowing the male students to build a community, beginning with an over-night retreat. “Unfortunately, college men don’t often get the opportunity to discuss messages around masculinity and how these messages have impacted them and our communities,” the website says. “A collective of UW-Madison colleagues wanted to explore how masculinity shows up on our campus. They came together to form the Men and Masculinities Initiative, their first course of action is initiating the Men’s Project at UW-Madison.”

It also states that talking about issues surrounding masculinity will help men “work as allies to promote gender equity and social justice,” so naturally old, white men in power are opposed.