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"Healthy Masculinity" is the Most Destructive School DEI Program You Never Heard Of

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The ‘Healthy Masculinity Club’ at a Portland high school is described as a “place for guys to not be guys” while the ‘Healthy Masculinity’ class at Montpelier High School in Vermont indoctrinates boys on “how traditional concepts of masculinity have harmed women.”

The ‘Healthy Masculinity’ movement is a component of DEI, but it has attracted less attention and controversy than other ‘woke’ indoctrination programs that target ‘whiteness’ and teach racism or promote pornographic sexual identity programming. Nevertheless it may be even more destructive than all of the other high school DEI programs put together.

Much like ‘whiteness’ courses, the premise of ‘Healthy Masculinity’ is that there is something wrong with being a man. A Call to Men, for example, defines masculinity as a ‘Man Box’ in which men are “expected to be strong, successful, powerful, dominating, fearless, in control, and emotionless” that men have to “break out of” to end their ‘toxic masculinity’.

The Tucson Unified School District in Arizona promotes A Call to Men’s lesson materials that teach that all men and boys are complicit in violence against women and girls and that “the Man Box does not allow us to be fully human.” Vulnerable boys are programmed to repeat the cultlike mantra, “I was taught gender norms which means I can unlearn it and teach myself to be free.”

Such classes, for now mostly elective, analyze manhood through the Marxist model of power relations and come away with the conclusion that everything wrong with the world is due to men or ‘toxic masculinity’ and could be fixed by ‘unmanning’ men. It’s hard to think of a worse message to feed developing teenage boys, but that’s exactly what schools are doing.

‘Healthy Masculinity’ courses are part of the larger woke deconstruction of sex as a set of artificial constructs. To be a boy or a man, students are told, is not a natural biological phenomenon, but a set of artificial warped ideas about masculinity or ‘toxic masculinity’. And the goal of ‘Healthy Masculinity’ is to teach boys to unlearn those ideas and to stop being men.

According to ‘Healthy Masculinity’ course material, traditional heroic attributes such as ‘playing through the pain’, ‘controlling emotions’ and ‘seeking to control situations’ are toxic masculinity. While ‘healthy masculinity’ involved deconstructing societal gender norms and crying a lot.

For example, California’s LGBTQ History curriculum includes a lesson plan produced by two women describing ‘toxic masculinity” as “traditional, cultural masculine norms, particularly those that devalue emotion and prioritize strength and stoicism.” These same narratives are promoted by First Lady Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who also heads the Representation Project and was responsible for ‘The Mask You Live In’ film.

The Representation Project claims to be the “leading gender watchdog” and promotes a “#BoysWillBeBoys Healthy Masculinities Campaign” to allow boys “to achieve their full human potential, free from restrictive masculinity.” Boys are not actually human. Until they free themselves from their “restrictive masculinity”, they’re less than human.

High schools now routinely push Siebel-Newsom’s ‘The Mask You Live In’ film on vulnerable boys. Its message and accompanying lesson plans attack the idea of a “gender binary” and tell boys that masculinity is limiting and forces them to give up things. Like wearing nail polish.

The hateful indoctrination in schools is as usual downstream of academia. Demonizing men has become a full-time academic profession with the American Men’s Studies Association “advancing the critical study of men and masculinities” responsible for such great academic works as “Not All Men Piss at the Wall” from the Colonial and Modern Studies Conference and “‘Damn, Channing Tatum Can Move!’: Women’s Accounts of Men’s Bodies and Objectification in Post-Feminist Times.” The Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University in New York used the “prism of feminist theory” for its own critical study of men.

‘Healthy Masculinity’ is, like ‘whiteness’ studies, bigotry cloaked in academic language and warped through the lens of Marxist power analyses. It begins with the false premise that men and boys are the cause of violence against women, while ignoring the fact that it is men who protect women and girls against violence. The warrior and the soldier, the heroic traits stigmatized as ‘toxic masculinity’, are what keep society safe from actual evil around us.

The promoters of ‘Healthy Masculinity’ are not actually concerned about violence against women because they also support pro-crime policies like ‘criminal justice reform’ which has defunded the police and set criminals loose to assault women. The infrastructure of ‘Healthy Masculinity’ quickly shifts away from protecting women and girls to deconstructing gender norms and to insisting that men can be women if they really put their minds to it. The transgender movement is devastating women’s sports and threatening the lives of women

The core academic premise of the ‘Healthy Masculinity’ movement is that women also don’t exist. Much as socialism comes cloaked in anti-capitalist discourse, the elimination of what radical sexual identity activists consider to be the ‘gender binary’ is preceded by stigmatizing men, but the movement has just as little use for ‘femininity’ as it does for ‘masculinity’.

The attacks on the so-called ‘gender binary’ have already led to heightened suicide rates among both boys and girls, as well as self-mutilation through the transgender movement and school shootings. There’s nothing healthy about ‘Healthy Masculinity’ for boys or for anyone else.

Schools should not be stigmatizing students based on their race or their sex. ‘Healthy Masculinity’ is just another example of toxic wokeness which flouts basic civil rights norms while spreading hate among a highly vulnerable population of teenagers. Just as there should be no classes stigmatizing black students or girls, there should be no room for classes that stigmatize white students or boys. ‘Healthy Masculinity’ is hate and hate should have no place in school.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center’s Front Page Magazine.


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  • kilroy

    Notice how they only do this to the white boys?

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