Canadian Professor Accuses Homeless Men of Perpetuating Gender Stereotypes
A professor at Wilfrid Laurier University has accused homeless men of perpetuating dangerous gender stereotypes.
Professor Erin Dej of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, recently published an academic paper that argues that homeless men perpetuate harmful gender stereotypes. The paper was first highlighted by Toni Airaksinen of PJ Media.
Dej tells the story of a 45-year-old homeless white man named Julien who lived in various shelters for six years with severe anxiety. Julien explains that he is ashamed by his situation.
Julien was a 45-year-old white man who lived in emergency shelters for six years and was diagnosed with severe anxiety. When discussing how he copes with his anxiety, he revealed his deep shame: ‘Well remember, you know, I’m ashamed that I have problems. Like, guys in our society are not supposed to have problems. They’re supposed to be like an island’. Julien’s comment that men are meant to be ‘like an island’ reinforces the stereotype that masculinity requires emotional numbness. While it is understandable why someone facing such debilitating emotions may revel in the idea of feeling nothing, the fact that this is a way of being that all men should emulate is deeply problematic. When I probed Julien further, asking if being an island was a realistic E. DEJ 223 expectation for men, he responded ‘no’, but with little conviction. For Julien, his anxiety was in contradiction with his sense of masculinity and was quite troubling for him.
The issue with Dej’s work is not that she incorrectly identifies the unique expectations that men face. The issue here is Dej’s characterization of masculinity and a socially-induced mental illness. How does she do this? Take a portion of the paper that argues that “masculinity” forces some homeless men to blame women for their homelessness.
The most common example of compensatory masculinity took the form of men blaming the women in their lives, specifically their spouses, for their mental distress and becoming homeless. Some claim that their wives cheated on them, others that they spent all their money, while still others characterized their wives and girlfriends as emotional, vindictive, and manipulative, feeding into common tropes of the ‘fallen woman’. Women were consistently characterized as malicious, devious, promiscuous, and who willed the men’s fall into homelessness.
Breitbart News extensively covered Wilfrid Laurier University’s treatment of their teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd, who was interrogated and threatened by administrators after she showed her class a public television debate clip of Jordan Peterson discussing transgender pronouns.