To celebrate ::cough, cough:: Women’s History Month, Fox News is airing a weekly feature on the oppression of men, called “Men in America.” Of course, a set of news stories on men in America need not be framed as how oppressed men are, but this is the spin Fox News’ Tucker Carlson puts on it. Carlson began the series listing all the ways men are disenfranchised– in prison, committing suicide, committing mass murders, and dropping out of school, all at a higher rate than women.
What first struck us was how Carlson actually added the fact that almost all mass shootings are committed by men–something the SUNY sociologist of masculinities Michael Kimmel has for years tried to call the public’s attention to. For Fox viewers, Tucker Carlson frames this not only as evidence that “something ominous is happening to men in America” but also as evidence that we must *restore* masculinity rather than critique it further. (Of course, Fox News does not suggest that the frequency with which semi-automatic weapons are sold to and bought by men is “ominous”.)
The violence men are committing is also framed as evidence not of growing global economic inequality that leaves increasing numbers of people (men as well as women) disenfranchised, but as evidence of women’s power and privilege over men. Of course, as Fox is quite infamous for doing, this only fuels men’s entitled rage rather than helps anyone understand it.
But lest Fox viewers think they should turn to the gender scholars to better understand these things that are “happening” to American men, Tucker Carson heads them off at the pass and frames even gender studies scholarship as part of the problem. For after listing the many ominous things that are happening to American men (turns out they are also more likely to be late for work than female employees–although we doubt it’s because they are now also stuck doing more childcare than women are)–Carlson said that, to make matters worse, we only have a discourse of male privilege thanks to the women’s studies empire. Women’s Studies programs are on every campus and their core mission, he said, is to “attack male power.”
If you want to help people understand what is happening, curb men’s violent attacks, and reduce the suicide and incarceration rates, Tucker, you should probably read some gender studies scholarship rather than attack it. Women’s and gender studies programs actually have missions to generate knowledge–academic research, not bogus claims based on a particular ideology. Making bogus claims based on an ideology, Tucker, is your job, not ours.