RSU to consider new men’s issues group

By Olivia McLeod

When protesters paraded into a University of Toronto lecture hall where Dr. Warren Farrell was hosting a Men’s Issues Awareness event last December, Sarah Santhosh didn’t see a peaceful protest: she saw “closemindedness” and “lots of hate.”

The controversial lecture and its fiery opposition inspired Santhosh to create an official men’s issues group at Ryerson, which she said is tentatively called the Ryerson Association for Equality. The group would offer a forum for students to broadly discuss men’s issues such as dealing with mental health, male youth violence, misogyny, as well as gender disadvantages in education, the workplace and custody battles.

“If you really are for equality you wouldn’t be so close-minded about this, and if you do have problems with it we’d love to talk about it,” said Santhosh, a second-year biology student. “Universities are supposed to be places where any and all ideas are accepted and discussed. Nothing should be too taboo for discussion.”

In a September 2012 issue of The Eyeopener, Marwa Hamad, vice president equity at the Ryerson Students’ Union, said marginalized or underprivileged student members should be the focus of equity service groups on campus.

“Would it make sense to make a straight people centre or an able body equity group?” Hamad said.

To gain student group status, the Student Groups Committee at Ryerson has to approve Santhosh’s project. The application has several requirements, which include gathering a list of 20 signatures from Ryerson students interested in seeing the group established, as well as finding three students willing to take on executive responsibilities.

It must also propose a constitution outlining its objective, structure and membership as well as pitch five ideas for student events, which Santhosh said could include hosting gender studies guest speakers, men’s issues film screenings as well as a book or article discussion club.

According to Santhosh, each requirement is nearly complete. She and her fellow executives, Argir Argirov and Anjana Rao, plan to submit the paperwork to the campus groups administrator, Leatrice O’Neill, on Tuesday. Once the Student Groups Committee approves the group’s proposal, the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) Board of Directors will make the final decision on whether to grant the Ryerson Association for Equality student group status.

The group will welcome men and women, as it does not wish to advocate the rights of either gender over the other.

“We are aiming to focus on men’s issues because we noted a lack of student groups that specifically address that,” she said via email. “All we want is to help open up civil discourse and raise awareness of issues that may relate to all Ryerson students.”

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69 Comments

  1. Finally! said:

    Good work, Sarah! Finally, someone is addressing these issues.

    Let’s hope this is the start of a trend.

  2. Corbin said:

    Thank you Sarah, a million times, THANK YOU!!!

    When males try to start such groups they are only further villified and attacked. You are doing a great service for the males (and females) in your life, and countless others you may never come to know!

    Virtual hug :-)

  3. Neil Westlake said:

    On behalf of the Men’s Human Rights Movement, I thank you sincerely, Sarah.

  4. Morpheus said:

    Sarah,
    keep up the awesome work. Would love to bounce a few ideas off you if you are willing.

    Kind Regards
    Morpheus

  5. outdoors said:

    I am not so sure about the intention’s of this group?

    If it is a men’s issue’s group,should misandry not be the topic and not misogyny?

    What about female youth violence?

    The rest sounds ok,”as well as gender disadvantages in education, the workplace and custody battles.”

    As long as it is about the true disadvantages and NOT getting men made to feel like the lop-sidedness is somehow justified from a female’s point of view.

  6. Sarah Santhosh said:

    I misspoke when I listed the issues the group will be addressing. Since this is a group that will be focused on men’s and boys’ issues we will not be discussing misogyny but misandry instead. I apologize for any misunderstanding this may have caused.

    Though we are still in the process of achieving ratification from RSU, the group is open to anyone inclined to join.

    I have set up a Facebook group for potential members interested in men’s issues. Please add yourself to this group to receive updates and to connect with the executives if you have any questions or ideas.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/136281043214578/

    Thank you all for your support and encouragement! We really appreciate it!

    • Corbin said:

      No. Thank you to you and the others you are working with! We really appreciate it! (Our support comes naturally.) We just want peace and to find that an open dialogue must be found and the silenced voices of males must be heard. Unfortunately, with the current environment males face, your help is much needed, and appreciated.

      Sooo happy to see this!!

      • Sarah Santhosh said:

        Thank you, Corbin.

        I’m really humbled by the all the positive feedback and warm reception we’ve received as a group.

  7. Paul Elam said:

    I will be posting a notice about this to A Voice for Men tomorrow. Please accept my deepest thanks on behalf of the men and women at AVFM.

    By reacting to the horrible events at U of T in the way you have chosen, you send a thundering message of compassion for men and boys at a time it is sorely needed.

    Paul Elam, publisher, AVFM

  8. Jon said:

    Another message of thanks. This is very very heartening to see. Sometimes us guys need a kick in the butt before we will actually DO anything about our situation, so women like you really do give Men’s Rights Advocates hope for the future.

    Thank you again. If you build it, they will come.

  9. James Williams said:

    Well done Sarah
    It takes courage and initiative to do what you are doing . I hope you are successful and go on to help lots of people.

    I presume when you mention misogyny, you also including misandry?

  10. TMG said:

    Excellent!

    Many men and women who care about equality for both sexes are quickly realizing we need to blaze a new path together.

    Best of luck!

  11. confusion said:

    The quote from Marwa Hamad is nothing less than an appeal to public ignorance; hoping for a knee-jerk reaction along the current politically convenient lines that presume all these groups are privileged and have no issues facing them, and that in general that they can be equated with each other. This kind of socially accepted and encouraged ignorance is exactly why groups like this one are so important!

  12. DB said:

    Well done! Good luck in getting this through and thank you so much.

  13. Aaron T said:

    I wish you best of luck and success. We need much more of this. I’m a like-minded student from University of Windsor.

  14. Doug Spoonwood said:

    Thanks for your efforts Sarah. If you or anyone else wants some book recommendations in this area, I’ll recommend Warren Farrell’s “The Myth of Male Power: Why Men are the Disposable Sex”, Herb Goldberg’s “The Hazards of Being Male: Surviving the Myth of Masculine Privilege”, and David Benatar’s “The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys.”

  15. Railstar said:

    Thank you so much for this Sarah. You are doing a very good thing.

  16. Suzanne McCarley said:

    Good work Sarah! We Honey Badgers CAN make a difference. Every woman who publicly steps away from the feminist narrative, inspires more women to do the same. Women are very in-group oriented, and we need to make more “pro-male in-groups,” so more women will listen. It’s the only viable way to reach our half of the population.

  17. Adam McPhee said:

    Marwa Hamands comments are amusing. Comparing men to straight people and able bodied people. I think there is more straight and able bodied representation at Ryerson than men (helps that those straight and able bodied people come from all sides of the gender divide).

    The 5th floor of the SHE building has two women’s washrooms side-by-side, on the opposite side of the elevators. It has no men’s washroom on that floor. An male with a disability would find this, and then have to get all the way to the other corner of the building, ride the elevator up to the 6th, and get all the way back to the other corner before being able to use a washroom (there is a women’s washroom next to the men’s washroom on the 6th).

    That’s a male with a disability problem, and an inequality for all male students (though stairs are there for those who can use them).

  18. MCMC said:

    ‘Marwa Hamad… said marginalized or underprivileged student members should be the focus of equity service groups on campus.
    “Would it make sense to make a straight people centre or an able body equity group?” Hamad said.’

    That’s absurd on so many levels.

    1) It’s not a group for ‘straight or able bodied’ people, it’s for men – why the red herrings? why are you afraid to just say it: ‘men’?

    2) You are telling a group (that you don’t belong to) that they don’t have the right to define themselves or their needs. Can you see a problem with that?

    3) George Orwell predicted it in Animal Farm – all the animals are equal, but some are less equal than others.

    • Fuck You said:

      “Rights” in general have always ALWAYS men’s.

      Analogies that might be less debatable to you: the reason Black and Native history months are celebrated is because EVERY OTHER MONTH IS WHITE HISTORY MONTH.

      The reason why there is a gay pride parade is because every other day of the year reinforces and celebrates heterosexual norms.

      Why there’s Equity and Disability Studies Programs is because society/institutions exclude those who are not mentally and physically “able.”

      Men, white people, able-bodied people… are already the dominant group. For them to co-opt the means that oppressed people have of fighting for their rights and needs, is what is actually absurd.

      George Orwell was talking about the fucking Stalinism – predicating the dictatorial, oppressive nature of a STRAIGHT WHITE ABLE BODIED MAN.

      As I said, co-opting Orwell’s narrative for your idiotic claim to “men’s rights” AKA: “Rights,” you already fucking have them. What the hell are you complaining about? That you now have to share them with women, people of colour, and disabled people? MRAs have the same logic as White Supremacists.

      Marwa was being kind with you, phrasing her criticism so lightly. I would have spit in your face.

        • Shadowfax said:

          I just wanted to thank you for epitomising and demonstrating the kind of feminist vitriol that we first saw at the Warren Farrel lecture at UoT.

          Please, continue to make these kind of posts, with hateful words such as “I would have spit in your face.”. It’s fantastic to see your true agenda and motivations being made so publicly. In fact, every post you make like this makes it more likely that another compassionate individual somewhere will see through your bluster.

          They’ll see through your bluster and realise that you doth protest just far too much. What are you so afraid of? Really? Does it suck so much to at least LOOK AT the reasons why men and boys are killing themselves, for example? Why is it so bad to ask why young boys are dying? It’s a genuine question.

          And what happened to your own basic humanity, that you can so callously throw nearly half of the human population under the bus like that? And aggressively deny them the right to be heard, or to get support?

          Do you have no basic human decency? Again, a genuine question.

  19. E.M. said:

    As a publication that distributes itself within an academic setting, I am really disappointed that the Eyeopener would publish this without any critical analysis of Men’s Rights Organizations. I am also offended personally.
    I figured the Eyeopener was just sort of a vapid newspaper, not completely ignorant and complacent to dangerous bigotry – or even worse, that you support it?

    • Murray Pearson said:

      We can coin a new word, for this sort of blinkered, dogmatic journalism — I propose “Eyerony”.

  20. Dean Esmay said:

    With the continually growing problem in education for men and boys, the suicide rate, the shorter lifespans, the higher unemployment rates, the higher imprisonment rates, unacknowledged victims of female abuse, and more, it says great things about the compassion of people at Ryerson to actually want to step forward and do something. Thank you so much.

  21. MGTOW-man said:

    Thank you for going out on a limb for us. When we help men and boys, we help everyone.

    I do have a question that I hope you have an answer…and a positive one.

    What are your contingency plans in case you are not allowed to form this entity? After all, feminist hatred and envy has poisoned nearly everything. Thus, there is bound to be much inside opposition to this endeavor. It is the way they have already accomplished censorship.

    I certainly hope you will come back with other possibilities that help men and boys.

    • BASTA! said:

      > Thank you for going out on a limb for us.

      No exaggeration here. Sadly, samples of what Sarah is in for can already be found in this thread.

  22. Brendan Rex said:

    I think there is plenty of room to discuss misogyny here. Marwa Hamad’s comparison of being female to being physically disabled for one.
    I applaud you for taking the initiative and shining light on these issues, and it is very nice to see people speaking out against the violence and hatred of people such as the U of T protesters

    • Trent said:

      I almost spit out my coffee reading this:

      “Would it make sense to make a straight people centre or an able body equity group?” Hamad said.

      Well, Hamad yes it would if, for example, straight people were killing themselves at a rate 3 or 4 times that of homosexuals simply because they were straight. Or if able bodied people were systematically being deprived of seeing their children simply for being able-bodied. Then it would make sense now wouldn’t it?

  23. Kris said:

    Ms Santhosh, What a JOY seeing young women like yourself not just taking a stand against feminist bigotry, but doing something positive to address the damage it has inflicted on men and boys for decades. Please accept our appreciation as well as support.

  24. Jon Bellamy said:

    Sarah, thank you for your courageous young voice articulating what has only recently become apparent to this middle age man. As a reader and follower of Dr. Warren Farrell, I am pleased that men’s issues are getting a woman’s support in support of gender equality as not only a women’s issue but as men’s issue as well. Good luck with the venture!

  25. Concered Male said:

    Feminism serves to deconstruct restricting gender binaries that are basically arbitrary social constructs. Do “Men’s Rights” groups ever actually tackle this? these people need to realize that the oppression that men, women and everyone face are a result of complex intersections and power and exploitation that are more than just the sum of everybodys genders. grow up, M.R.A’s.

    • Neil Westlake said:

      Yes, C.M. me ol’ mate: men’s Human Rights Activists actively fight restrictive binaries (the difference is that we do not use the nebulous voodoo of the epistemic advantage, but rather, with statistics and reason.)

      • confusion said:

        C.M., the primary obstacle facing the MHRM right now is the inability to voice an opinion on ANY issue without being slammed with baseless accusations and rhetoric intended to shut them up.

        I agree that oppression is the result of complex intersections, but can’t quite follow your leap that a group campaigning for awareness of some of the least acknowledged areas of disadvantage needs to “grow up.”

  26. elise said:

    WTF. is this a joke?
    ” Santhosh said could include hosting gender studies guest speakers, men’s issues film screenings as well as a book or article discussion club.”
    So, you intend to read the news paper, go to the multiplex, and read one of any of the thousands of books on the bestseller list or in the library? Excellent. Keep up the good work of fighting for an historically underprivileged, underrepresented, and oppressed group – men.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    pathetic.

  27. MHRActivist said:

    Please do this for all of us manginas as AVfM. We worship your pussy. You are an amazing goddess. What can we do to help you? Do you have a paypal account we can donate to? You are so amazing. Everything you say is amazing. Such a goddess. We’re not worthy.

    • Corbin said:

      Nice to see some trolls here on the comment thread. I worship your attacks on human rights activists, great stuff. ;-)

  28. Joey1000 said:

    You’re doing the right thing. The MHRM needs women more than anything. When this is all over, we will drop the M and we will be the HRM so we can be totally inclusive to everyone. Women like you are the reason I’m part of this movement. I hope one day we men can be men-enough to do what’s right regarding women and our LGBT brothers and sisters.

    Keep fighting the Good fight.

  29. Neil Westlake said:

    Notice the tone of the language, people? Notice how these gender ideologues / supremacists cannot pull even the flimsiest veil over their contempt for men and boys – women, even. It is our fulcrum and it will be the very thing that will, without a doubt, cause their timely demise.

    Remember, above all else, to ignore their baiting. Peace, love and reason are ours.

  30. Schala said:

    “So, you intend to read the news paper, go to the multiplex, and read one of any of the thousands of books on the bestseller list or in the library? Excellent. Keep up the good work of fighting for an historically underprivileged, underrepresented, and oppressed group – men.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

    Most newspaper that talk about men either talk about the 1%, celebrities, rich people, politicians, not Joe Average. Or they talk about (mostly male) criminals and how they’re awful and need to be locked up. Or they talk about making recipes, astrology, sport results.

    How is this gender issues for men, besides telling them they’re either rich, famous, powerful or losers who need to be locked up?

    Most fiction books will portray one or many guys, and not talk about gender issues. Most non-fiction books are about certain topics, and very very rarely men’s issues (women’s issues are way more popular).

    Both sexes have been historically underprivileged and forced into restrictive devaluing roles, unless they were very rich, then they had golden cages often of their own making (it would have been way easier for rich people to say “screw it, I’m rich” about gender roles, suicide for a peasant).

    Underrepresented. Well yes, oppressed men are underrepresented in media, and no one likes to acknowledge men can even be oppressed. Even the men at the top would rather we not talk about male homelessness, male DV victims, male rape victims, male suicide. But believe me, they’ll be enthusiast about countering violence against women and eliminating the wage gap. How are they representing men? They’re not.

    Gender roles have historically oppressed men, yes, just like women. Being in a prison of violence expectations (take it and dish it), invulnerability, and where you ARE your usefulness (break a leg and you lose all utility and worth to society).

  31. Stephen said:

    I’m excited to hear this. Well done, Sarah. Hopefully, the group will be able to analyse positive and negative examples of male portrayals in the media, focus on society’s treatment of them as disposable (such as the focus on fatherhood as secondary/optional and the male-only draft) and take a look at the lack of medical funding for male illnesses compared to female ones.

    What I’m really hopeful for, however, is that you’re able to reach out to young male students in abusive relationships. Young men who are victims of rape. Or suffering from depression and contemplating suicide. I hope the Ryerson Association for Equality is able to make some headway into helping students suffering from these issues.

  32. Kris said:

    @F*ck You,
    Feminists have long infiltrated and co-opted every conceivable cause to insert feminist bigotry into each of them, much like a virus inserts its DNA into its host cell to replicate itself. Indeed the feminist bigotry is gone global, and every nation, every race and every institution in the world is corrupted. It is time we expose this corruption whenever a feminist speaks of rights of minorities, of gays, of children or of any other group. They have no real interest in the welfare of any of those groups. Their only interest is advancement of their hateful ideology.

  33. Danny said:

    Just wanted to chime in with a big thanks for putting your neck on the line and wanting to help men in a direct manner rather than the usual “let’s focus on women only and the help will eventually trickle down to men” method that has become so common place.

    The one thing I hope you are on the lookout for are attempts to try to turn thing into a women’s advocacy auxiliary where all the discussion about men will be filtered through a lens of “how can men change for the better for the sake of women”.

    The last thing men need is more help that is done more for the sake of women than for men themselves (which was the corner stone of chivalry).

    I wish the best of success to you and your group.

  34. terry said:

    It’s important to realize that the problem facing men and boys are actually problems for women and girls. Women and girls suffer disproportionately and the MHRM realizes that. That’s why we all need to support this movement.

  35. Pat said:

    I’ve been a proud MHRA every since the movement began to address the oppression faced by LGBT communities and women, and to denounce misogyny on all levels. Many great steps have been made, but there is so much more that can be done within the MHRM to help these struggling groups and to stop the hate speech.

    I’m very proud of the MHRM’s commitment to continue this fight.

  36. Turbo said:

    Sarah Santhosh, Anjana Rao and Argir Argirov. Congratulations on your honest search for equality in the face of the bigotry you are surrounded by. You show great courage and all fair minded people will be heartened by your efforts to bring to light the issues that face men and boys. Much Respect.

  37. Tony Sprout said:

    Just an observation; the “Unsinkable Molly Brown”, an early feminist, was unsinkable because the “oppressive” men of the Titanic sacrificed their lives for the women. During times of extreme danger you will find no atheists in foxholes or feminists in lifeboats. Convenient ideologues generally revert to type. The patriarchs on the Titanic, right or wrong, died for their beliefs. Thanks, Sarah.

    • Tony Sprout said:

      My point is that feminism, while stripping away male power and privilege, refuses to yield privileges granted by the patriarchy. Men, on pain of fines and loss of certain government entitlements, are required to register for a national death lottery. Men are forced to pay for a woman’s Choice. Parenthood is, after all, merely a social construct foisted upon one sex by the other. Feminists refuse to let go of the mother-as-superior-parent canard so fathers routinely lose custody battles by a whopping 85%. “Nuff said, time for the analogy. Today’s feminists are akin to pedophile priests. Pure as the driven snow on the outside, pointing out everyone else’s sins in an attempt to prevent us from looking behind the facade.

  38. Jack Day said:

    This is absolutely great news. Thank you Sarah for standing up and sharing with so many the real meaning of equality for all men and women.

  39. Dave said:

    This is wonderful and inspiring, and I’m so thankful to everyone who’s helping with it. I wish it existed back when I was in college. (I’m 35 now.) I never thought I’d see mens’ issues taken seriously in my lifetime. To see it only a decade and a half later is great!

  40. menrppl2 said:

    thankyou….your compassion and consideration for men and mens issues and recognition that are struggle faces much unfairness and is something you are willing to do something about is heart warming

  41. Dr. F. M. Christensen said:

    “Male youth violence, misogyny” are topics of focus, not female abuse (more frequent than the reverse and about equally harm-causing in this age-group) and misandry? How is this a way to ameliorate the massive anti-male bias
    exposed by the reaction to Dr. Farrell’s visit?

    • Mark Neil said:

      Santhosh responded in the comments above that misogyny was a mis-spoken word, that misandry was the term she intended and has taken efforts to correct.

  42. Open your eyes, please said:

    All the issues Men’s Rights Activists focus on are actually the result of patriarchy. Patriarchy affects women primarily and most severely, but it also affects men in some ways, which is the “oppression” Men’s Rights Activists claim. Feminists never said that men do not have unique issues, nor do they live perfect lives. The point of feminism is that while men of course have issues, these issues are the exact same ones that plague women, but women experience them countless times worse. Multiply that even further for people of colour, people with disabilities, poor people; the list goes on and on. Men’s issues are COVERED in feminism. We do NOT need a whole new movement focusing on the least victimized group to solve these issues, as this is only causing further division, and now we are essentially arguing over semantics (being an “equalist” or a “humanist,” but not a feminist). What we need is FEMINISM.

    • Murray Pearson said:

      That argument would hold water, if not for the breathtaking determination with which feminists deny the existence or importance of ANY issue faced by men. FAIL!

  43. M said:

    I would want as many people as possible to “say no to misandry”!

  44. James said:

    Thank-you for having the courage to advocate for the discussions of men’s issues Sarah. Good luck with approval.

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