A course is being taught at a New York college on the crisis of white masculinity and it’s about time
According to Campus Reform, The New School’s Eugene Lang College of liberal arts, which is based in New York City, will be offering a class titled “Male Melancholia: Crisis Masculinity”, which will focus on post World War II masculinity and how it has been depicted both in news and pop culture media.
According to the course description: “While feminist discourse has forced women to continually redefine and expand gender roles, white masculinity has increasingly taken melancholic form and gone into crisis, on and off the screen… This has resulted in screen portrayals of male backlash, breakdown, absence, gaslighting, inertia, and depression—both serious and comic.”
Professor and writer Masha Tupitsyn first taught the class following the election of Donald Trump in 2016 but says the university asked her to teach it again due to the popularity of Tarana Burke’s #MeToo movement and its function as a push against what she terms “crisis masculinity.”
Tupitsyn tells Campus Reform: “We are really seeing the fall out of masculinity now, but it has been in crisis for a long time in the form of melancholia because it cannot mourn its former self… Masculinity, like whiteness and heterosexuality, is taken for granted. Women, gay people, and people of color have been forced due to oppression and marginalization to continually examine femininity and blackness. While as a privileged group, masculinity, straight white masculinity in particular, can get away with doing nothing. It can just exist. And it has in all of its toxicity.”
Tupitsyn is not the only scholar doing serious work around the issues of whiteness and the ability of white people to enact social harm, as the New Yorker reports sociologist Robin DiAngelo has been doing work around the area of white fragility, a term she coined in 2011.
DiAngelo writes in her new book White Fragility: “I believe that white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color… To the degree that white progressives think we have arrived, we will put our energy into making sure that others see us as having arrived.”
Much like Tupitsyn’s course, DiAngelo’s book is targeted at whiteness as a concept that must be interrogated and confronted by white people.