Posted in Opinions, Top Opinions

Letter to the Editor: Why SFU needs a Men’s Centre

RE: "SFU isn't ready for a Men's Centre"

To the editors of The Peak:

Re: “SFU isn’t ready for a Men’s Centre”

I was initially excited when I saw the cover of the latest edition. Men’s issues is often a topic only seen fit to parody, as The Peak has done in the past. I assumed the cover was a tongue in cheek joke, as painting a safe space for men as a boys club is tired rhetoric. The tagline that “SFU needs to build a Men’s Centre for the right reasons,” is however a bit verbose, it would be akin to saying that SFU needs to continue funding the Women’s Centre “for the right reasons.” As I read the article it came to light that it was less a discussion of the possibility of a Men’s Centre, and more an endorsement of the Women’s Centre.

The thing is, no one needs to be convinced at this point that women’s issues need to be addressed, however the same can not be said about men’s issues. Look at what’s going on at Ryerson university.

In reading your article I have a few comments.

You comment that what’s needed is a movement by the community as opposed to a power play. I agree, I am a member and leader in that community; I’m the vice-president of the Simon Fraser University Advocacy for Men and Boys Club. Our mission is to increase the awareness of men’s issues on campus.

The question “Why isn’t there a Men’s Centre?” is often asked, and legitimately so. If your answer is that men’s problems don’t hold a candle to the issues of women, then you are ignorant of the facts. The statement that women are more likely to be violently victimized is patently false. Men make up the vast majority of murder victims as well as non fatal assaults. Men make up the vast majority of suicides and are equally likely to suffer domestic violence [this latter claim is disputed by multiple sources – ed]. That women are marginalized more than men is also suspect. Women make up the majority of university students, and women in the millennial generation are out earning their male counterparts.

After having read your article I looked at the cover in a more sober light. I am annoyed by the men’s inability to spell; this casts them as juvenile. [The sign that says] “no girls allowed” also harkens back to the tired trope of the boys club. SFUAMB’s President is a woman. A majority of our volunteers are women. Most of the people who stop by our tables to talk are women. We are open to all, we do not discriminate based on gender, creed, race or anything else. There is only one place on campus that discriminates via gender. And that is the Women’s Centre.

I, however, take no issue with this, as long as the same would be permitted in theory for men: to set up a safe space to talk about our issues. This is one key way in which the Women’s Centre, though admirable for its inclusion of all genders, can not accommodate the needs of men. With the building of the new student union building slated to start, there is no excuse not to grant a space if requested. If the thought of a group of men getting together scares you, your misandry is showing.

SFU prides itself for having such a long running Women’s Centre. A centre that has done good work and helped countless self-identified women. Maybe SFU could find it in it’s heart to become one of the first Canadian Universities to start a Men’s Centre. In 20 years, SFU will again be proud that it stood on the right side of history.

Sincerely,

Jesse Velay-Vitow

Vice-President

Simon Fraser University Advocacy for Men and Boys

  • ghebert

    What they are afraid of is simply this: they do not want anyone with an open mind to hear opinions they don’t agree with. They don’t want people to arrive at the sane, rational and logical conclusion that men are not patriarchal oppressors, that we too have issues and no, the “patriarchy” doesn’t hurt men too. What hurts men is a female-centric society that says men’s issues don’t deserve to be discussed either until women’s issues are first solved or unless it is done under feminist supervision. To that I say NO we don’t need BIG SISTER watching over us to make sure we’re not veering too far off the feminist path of righteousness.

    • Chris Coutts

      The problem with writing comments like this in a public forum is it’s the exact thing The Peak was criticizing men’s movements about: desire for a men’s centre sometimes comes from opposition to women’s centre rather than concern for men’s issues.

      But go ahead and keep being the ridiculous reason why feminists are wary of a men’s centre.

      • ghebert

        I don’t oppose women’s centers in any way…unless they are taking action to deny men’s centers the right to exist on-campus with the only reason being that they assume they are going to do or say something bad. The only reason feminists are wary of men’s centers is that some of them might have anti-feminist views. So what if they do? Nothing I said was out of line…men’s centers can exist alongside women’s centers but they won’t have any meaning or effectiveness if they have to walk on eggshells so as to not offend fainting-couch-feminist sensibilities. Feminism wants to be the only voice allowed at the table and I think it’s time for people to stand up to their bullying tactics and allow others to have a voice too regardless of how disagreeable what they have to say may be. And yes, what they do is very much bullying, i.e. pulling fire alarms to disrupt speeches they don’t like, making so much noise an event has to shut down, blocking doors so no one can attend a lecture on the campus and blocking groups because it goes against their ideology. Their excuse is basically that they are using their free speech to block the free speech of others…sorry that doesn’t fly. We need to call that what it really is: authoritarianism. Another word that comes to mind is fascism, totalitarianism.

        I’ll keep being “ridiculous” and one day, when someone takes your right to free expression away, maybe you’ll want to start being “ridiculous” too because when you’ll be asking for the right to have a voice you’ll be just as “ridiculous” as we are.

        • Chris Coutts

          Has your, or anyone’s right to free expression been taken away by SFU, the SFSS, or The Peak? There have been Men’s Rights events held recently with no disruption. The SFU Advocacy for Men and Boys Club held a table at clubs day this year with no disruption.

          All you’ve done here is complain about feminism. Convince me why men need a voice? Why they need a personal space? It seems to me like you’re far more interested in rallying against feminism then in helping men. In your opinion, would the closure of the women’s centre be an acceptable compromise if a men’s centre is not allowed to operate on campus?

          • For the love of god, stop being a useful idiot for man-haters.

          • Feminism has used propaganda to propagate the myth that men can’t have problems, as a gender, because they have male privilege.

            Did you read any of the inequalities men face in the article? There are hardly any inequalities for women (pay gap is a myth), and domestic abuse is almost equal (indeed domestic abuse is highest, by more than double, for lesbians, so women are more violent against women in relationships than men are… go figure).

  • gush

    You waste your time assuming they come with good intent.

  • Coffeeanagrit

    “The statement that women are more likely to be violently victimized is patently false.”
    – evidence?
    “Men make up the vast majority of murder victims as well as non fatal assaults.”
    – yes, by other men. Take some responsibility.
    “Men make up the vast majority of suicides and are equally likely to suffer domestic violence [this latter claim is disputed by multiple sources – ed].”
    – evidence? Men disproportionately commit the bulk of domestic violence.
    “That women are marginalized more than men is also suspect. Women make up the majority of university students, and women in the millennial generation are out earning their male counterparts.”

    -So what that women are overrepresented as students? Look at the demographics of the professors and administrators. Those are people who are seriously earning in the university. White men are represented at all levels of power- they are politicians, lawmakers, and the heads of most major public and private institutions. Even when women are in these positions, they still have less earning power and subject to humiliation and discrimination.

    Give your head a shake, people.

    • thesteelguy

      “yes, by other men. Take some responsibility.”
      let them. let them have their centre then. bigotry much?

      • The worst domestic abuse is actually women against women, in lesbian relationships. It’s over double that for straight men against women, which proves men are more violent than women in relationships.

        • thesteelguy

          i think you’re replying to the wrong person here.

      • You are bigoted for refusing to see that there is a problem for men. Women have it the best these days. They are doing better in education. They live longer but retire earlier (how fair!). Suicide rate for men four times higher than women. Twenty times as many men die at work than women, because women refuse to do the dangerous jobs. Unfair child custody cases. More homeless men. Why don’t we debate about actual facts rather than the false feminist view that there is a male privilege? You are an enemy of men.

  • Ashley Sara Peckford

    Wow. How does that one saying go? “The reactions to feminist movements proves the need for feminism”?

    The original article “SFU isn’t ready for a Men’s Centre” knew exactly what it was talking about.

    Your whole “argument” about needing a Men’s Centre seems to be centered on the idea that men are somehow being marginalized by women/society and therefore need their own space.

    Need I remind you the fact that in the past, women were not allowed to go/were discouraged from going to university? That would have made many campuses in this country essentially a giant Men’s Centre! Not to mention medicine, politics, policing, the list goes on! Of course, these institutions are now gradually becoming gender-balanced, but many are still by and large a “boy’s club”.

    Anyway, time to rip your argument to shreds:

    “Men make up the vast majority of murder victims as well as non fatal assaults.”
    Men are murdered and assaulted by other men primarily, whereas women are murdered and assaulted by, you guessed it, men. This has actually been proven by multiple studies, and continues to be proven in current studies.

    “Men make up the vast majority of suicides and are equally likely to suffer domestic violence.”
    They make up the majority of completed suicides. Which, by the way, you don’t need a Men’s Centre to help men suffering from suicidal thoughts. There are MANY resources both on and off campus to deal with depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. However, it’s been proven in studies that men who are depressed and suicidal are less likely than women to seek out these resources or ask for help. It’s not the Women’s Centre’s fault that this happens, and implying so is abhorrent.

    As for the domestic violence, it has been proven in studies (seriously just go take an introductory crim course, or talk to a crim professor even!) that while men and women DO in fact commit domestic violence at an equal frequency, when men commit domestic violence against women it is significantly more likely to result in serious harm, injury, or death. Also, when women commit domestic violence against men is it often in retaliation to previous abuse.

    “That women are marginalized more than men is also suspect. Women make up the majority of university students, and women in the millennial generation are out earning their male counterparts.”
    Honestly I’m not even going to dignify this with a response because I don’t even know what you’re trying to argue, plus you have absolutely no proof that women earn more than men.

    “There is only one place on campus that discriminates via gender. And that is the Women’s Centre.”
    *sigh* okay, I’m done. The safe space (you know, the SINGLE ROOM beside the Women’s Centre office/library) is the ONLY part of the Women’s Centre that is only for women. People of all genders are allowed and ENCOURAGED to go check out the resources in the library/office area. It’s even staffed most of the day if you have any questions! Wow! One single fucking room aside from bathrooms in the entire school that you can’t enter! Seriously, give it up!

    “If the thought of a group of men getting together scares you, your misandry is showing.”
    LOL, yeah… okay then. Your misogyny showed bright and clear throughout this entire article.

    • Mancheeze

      While I agree with much of your comment, I must take issue with the statement that men and women commit DV at the same frequency. They don’t.

      This is primarily a problem with research methodology and MRA’s aren’t very good at comprehending nor reporting on the research. Murray Straus is one of their fanbois who has done the absolute worst DV research ever made.

      He simply counts incidents through the Conflict Tactic Scale. This results in the silly figure MRA’s and yourself have quoted.

      There is no context in Straus’ measurement when every competent researcher in DV knows that leaving out the context will result in bad results.

      Think of it this way. A man and woman are fighting. He uses his larger body to block her exit. She is blocked in. That doesn’t get counted as a violent act. She pushes him to get free of him. Straus counts that as ONE violent act. So already the results are going to show she’s the violent one when in fact HE is the violent one. He then knocks her teeth out. Straus then says they are equally violent.

      By far, men are the primary perps of DV.

      • thesteelguy

        “By far, men are the primary perps of DV”
        why you always such a pathological liar Mancheeze?

      • Lesbian couples have the most DV.

    • “Wow. How does that one saying go? “The reactions to feminist movements proves the need for feminism”?”

      The reactions to the SFU men’s centre proves the need for the SFU men’s centre. See, it’s not only feminists who can make nonsensical circular arguments.

    • You said ‘in the past’. Glad you said that, because that’s exactly the point. Women faced inequality in the past but don’t know. The gender pay gap is a myth. It is men that face more inequality but feminist propaganda has silenced talk about male problems, by always citing the alleged patriarchy. You are completely sexist for denying men are now worse off than women. If you want me to spell out why then I will. Please educate yourself.

  • utera

    SFUAMB RESPONDS TO BACKLASH
    /watch?v=q2w__slE1Uc

  • Terry Bauer

    Given some of the reactions and comments this issue has generated, it’s no wonder men feel like they need their own safe space on campus.

advertisement