Wednesday, 13 April 2016

On the Ryerson MIAS law suit, and the RSU

I was reading a post on an online magazine called "COED" about the law suit that's been filed by Ryerson University's latest attempt at an official Men's Issues Awareness Society. I left a comment there, but I thought it would be prudent to reproduce it here, as memories these days can be woefully short. Here it is in full, with some relevant links at the bottom:

This is actually the second such group to be denied official status by RSU in the last 4 years. The previous men's issues society was founded by two women and a man, and was denied status after months of waiting on their application (usual turnover is a couple weeks), during which RSU amended their charter, behind closed doors and without any open debate, in order to pre-emptively exclude them.

The charter was amended to ban any men's group that did not "center women's voices" in the equality debate. They used this change, made after the previous MIAS applied for official status, to deny them status.

In other words, they changed the rules, mid-game, without any public debate, specifically so they could exclude the first MIAS.

This is particularly ironic considering the first MIAS was founded and led by two women and a man--putting the voices of women, both women of color, not only at the center, but in the leadership, of the MIAS.

Of course, these women were not the "right kind of women" (that is, they weren't self-declared, fervent, "patriarchy-smashing" feminists). Enter the backroom shenanigans of the RSU, which effectively put the kibosh on the entire thing.

Their objections have nothing to do with misogyny, safety, women, or even women's voices.

It has to do with feminism maintaining hegemony over any and all "official" and "officially sanctioned" discussions of gender issues. If you aren't looking at the problems of men through a feminist lens, even if you're a woman of color, then you end up pushed to the margins.

I would suggest the author of this piece look into the efforts of Anjana Rao, Argir Argirov and Sarah Santhosh to form a MIAS at Ryerson in 2013, and the concerted (and effective) efforts of the RSU, through arguably malfeasant methods, to deny them official club status.