Just recently, an event about “toxic masculinity,” which is the idea that certain traditionally masculine traits are harmful, was held at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Shockingly, one of the requirements for the event was to not wear any scented products.
Specifically, the Intergroup Relations Program (IGR) at UCLA hosted a talk last week focusing on the supposed problem of “toxic masculinity.” According to reports, out of the roughly 42,000 students enrolled in the school, only about 10 attended the event.
In a Facebook post published prior to the far-left event, those who attended were told not to wear anything with a scent for health reasons. “THIS IS A FRAGRANCE-FREE EVENT,” proclaimed the IGR organizers.
To clarify, they stated, “for the health and safety of all participants, please refrain from wearing products that contain fragrances when attending IGR events. Such products include perfumes, hair products, deodorants, detergents, etc.”
In the same Facebook post, the event organizers also provided more information about why they decided to host the event.
“In lieu of recent events (presidential ‘locker room’ talk and UCLA fraternities in-house alcohol ban), we would like to invite the UCLA community to dialogue about how toxic masculinity manifests itself on our campus,” they explained.
“While we hope to discuss Greek Life, we also want to touch upon the silence surrounding toxic masculinity, emotional repression, locker room talk, and broader social norms,” they continued, adding, “we plan on having a safe, productive, and honest dialogue and we hope you can join us!”
During the event, the attendees were given a worksheet with different definitions of “toxic masculinity.” In addition to the definitions, the worksheet also attempted to clarify that combating toxic masculinity does not mean working to undermine all masculine traits, such as “devotion to work” and “providing for one’s family.” Instead, they claimed they’re only trying to push back against traits like “violence and sexual conquest.”
Despite the fact that such an event is clearly ridiculous, there wasn’t a massive amount of pressure to have the event canceled. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said when conservative events are held on a college campus.
For example, earlier this month, when Townhall editor and conservative author Guy Benson gave a talk at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, it was subsequently protested by numerous liberal students who claimed that his “fiscal conservatism and free-market ideology” enable “white supremacist and fascist ideas to fester and flourish.”
Specifically, in an open letter to the university published the day of the event, roughly 18 students jointly spoke out against both the event and Benson’s ideology in general and called on others to do the same.
“Based on our research into the speaker, we anticipate that Benson will make arguments in support of the freedom of any person to make hateful, oppressive, or damaging remarks based on their constitutionally protected right to free speech,” they stated at the beginning of their letter.
“We, the undersigned, are staunchly opposed to this event,” continued the students, noting, “we consider Benson’s invitation yet another iteration of a conversation that is misguided, narrow-minded, and explicitly dangerous to the well-being and continued thriving of people of color and other marginalized people at Brown University and the broader community.”
Later in their letter, they, claimed, quite absurdly, that there’s a connection between Benson’s beliefs and violence against minorities.
“There is a wealth of writing on the inextricable connection between Benson’s ideologies — fiscal conservatism and free-market ideology — and real, tangible, state violence against marginalized communities,” argued the students, adding, “such thinking is fundamentally at odds with any intention to pursue real justice for structurally and historically marginalized people.”
To clarify their opposition to Benson, they explained that “arguments like Benson’s enable white supremacist and fascist ideas to fester and flourish by defending the speech of already empowered people over and above any concern for justice or histories of violence.”
In addition to “toxic masculinity,” many at the university level are also actively trying to combat the supposed problem of “cultural appropriation.” Several weeks ago, for instance, a religious studies professor helped write an essay speaking out against white people “appropriating” yoga.
Specifically, Shreena Gandhi, a Religious Studies professor at Michigan State University, published a co-authored essay earlier this week, titled “Yoga and the Roots of Cultural Appropriation.”
In the essay, which was co-written by Lillie Wolff, a self-described “anti-racist white Jewish organizer, facilitator, and healer” who is focused on “decolonizing” yoga, they argued that “yoga practice in the United States is intimately linked to some of the larger forces of white supremacy.” They also asserted, quite absurdly, that the practice is supposedly “tied up with colonialism.”
To support their position, they wrote, “yoga contributes to our economic system, but never forget this system is one built upon exploitation and commodification of labor, often the labor of black people and people of the global south.”
To clarify, they added, “yoga, like so many other colonized systems of practice and knowledge, did not appear in the American spiritual landscape by coincidence; rather, its popularity was a direct consequence of a larger system of cultural appropriation that capitalism engenders and reifies.” By saying this, Gandhi and Wolff are essentially suggesting that the practice was somehow stolen from Asia, which is clearly absurd.
The authoritarian left must not be allowed to control the lives of others. To ensure that they don’t, conservatives must continue actively speaking out against absurd rules like prohibiting people from wearing scented products.