A world-first “male studies” course is to commence at the University of South Australia (UniSA) this year, causing the university some controversy for employing men’s rights extremists to teach the course.
Men’s studies, which addresses masculinity from a pro-feminist perspective, has long been taught as a part of university sociology and gender studies departments. However, male studies are slated to be taught with anti-feminist sympathies.
The UniSA has one confirmed course on male health, and three proposed courses on males and society, males and sexism, and psychological therapy with males. The male health course is to be delivered chiefly online and will cost $1800, which is less than most university courses in Australia.
The largest university in South Australia, UniSA is ranked a lowly 17th out of all Australian universities, according to QS rankings.
According to the University of South Australia, the male health course is to be delivered by Associate Professor Gary Misan. However, an unconfirmed document has emerged on A Voice for Men, causing controversy by detailing a plethora of guest lecturers for the subject who are vocal men’s rights proponents that are known for arguing that women’s rights have eclipsed those of men in public and private life.
A Voice for Men is a men’s rights activist group, and sometimes regarded as a hate group. They have recently become known for distorting rape statistics to demonstrate grossly inflated rates of false rape accusations and of female perpetrators.
The UniSA today released a statement clarifying that the course will be a professional certificate in male health and denied the existence of the three other proposed courses. The university distanced themselves from anti-feminist comments made by university staff affiliated with the course. In the statement on their website, UniSA wrote that “these comments were not made by UniSA staff and have no relevance to the new health-related certificate being introduced by the University”. However on their website, the profile of Associate Professor Gary Misan still advises that he is to be the program coordinator for Male Studies.
Dr Misan told the Advertiser, an Adelaide newspaper, “”It’s very difficult for anybody who has opposing views to get a word in. As soon as somebody mentions anything they perceive as being anti-feminist they’re pilloried and in some cases almost persecuted.”
The article breaking the news on the Advertiser suggested links between the new course and A Voice for Men. In an article on the A Voice for Men website, editor Paul Elam labelled the Advertiser article “another very, very dumb move from very, very corrupt people.”
Elam goes on to compare the criticism of the male studies course to historical civil rights movements by writing “We have seen this pattern before in every civil rights movement in history. They will persecute those who would work with them, till what is left are those who will not.”
The journalist behind the Advertiser article, Tory Shepherd, is attacked by Elam on a page created on A Voice for Men over two years ago. The page accuses her of being a “shepherd of lies.”
Women’s groups collectives from Australian universities are planning on sending UniSA condemnations of their male studies courses if they are to feature men’s rights activists. The courses are still causing controversy.
By Natasha Abrahams