E21: re:joinder - Why traditional masculinity is bad for academia

*Content Warning* The article referenced in today’s episode includes vague to explicit misogyny and transphobic discourse, as well as references to sexual violence and assault.

*Irony Warning* The producers of this podcast disagree with and strongly condemn the argument set forth in the article referenced in this episode. Any intimations to the contrary are entirely a performance for the sake of comedic irony or parody.


Today, we introduce a new style of episode called re:joinder, in which we read an article of ~questionable~ merit dealing with academia, rhetoric, and/or politics and give you our real-time reactions to its problematic content. For our first re:joinder, Alex reads an article he picked out for Calvin and our special guest, Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. Candidate in Rhetoric Maggie Goss. The article in question: “Why Traditional Masculinity is Good for Academia” by Samuel Veissière.


Published in Areo - an online magazine from the progenitors of the “Sokal Squared” hoax - Veissière’s argument begins from the premise that it is men, not women, who are structurally disadvantaged in society in general, and academia in particular. The author (who is, ironically, a tenure-track faculty member at McGill University) also argues that “traditional masculinity” is not only unfairly maligned in contemporary academia, but also an untapped resource for reform of academia’s worst aspects — from the purported closing and coddling of young minds, all the way up to the very real problems of widespread sexual harassment and assault on campuses. Yes, Veissière actually argues that more masculinity could help reduce sexual violence against women. In response, Calvin, Maggie, and Alex discuss the article’s spurious reasoning, lack of evidence, and oddball assumptions before presenting their own ideas for how to address the downsides of hegemonic masculinity.


Works and Concepts Cited In This Episode

Burmila, E. (2018, 6 April). Scientific racism isn’t ‘back’--it never went away. The Nation. Retrieved from https://www.thenation.com/article/scientific-racism-isnt-back-it-never-went-away/ [On the concept of “scientific racism” theories put forth by Charles Murray and others]

Crenshaw, K. (1990). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stan. L. Rev., 43, 1241.

Ruti, M. (2015). The age of scientific sexism: How evolutionary psychology promotes gender profiling and fans the battle of the sexes. Bloomsbury Academic. [This book analyzes and provides a strong critique for the worldview that Veissière is basing his argument upon]


Read these two works by Edward Said for more on why placing “Israel” and “Islam” in a dichotomous relationship is reductive and harmful:

Said, E. W. (1992). The question of Palestine. Vintage.

Said, E. W. (1979). Orientalism. Vintage.


Our take on the “Virgin / Chad” Meme referenced in the episode:

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Alex Helberg