Free Think University

View Our Newsroom

Lecrae, Ann Friedman, Hanna Rosin Lend Voices In New Free Think University Course About Masculinity

Industry: Education

Course Contrasts Traditional and Progressive Views About How the Definition of Masculinity is Changing and Why It Matters

Washington D.C. (PRUnderground) February 7th, 2014

What makes a man a “man”? Usually the discussion centers on various manly virtues or character qualities. A real man acts in this manner, or does not eat quiche, or has facial hair, or manifests some other distinguishing marks.  But the ideal of manliness is under attack. Some in fact believe it is time for the male gender to become much more effeminate, or at least androgynous. The debate in this new Free Think University course experience titled “Should We End Masculinity?” is whether or not there is real evidence that manliness is on its way out, and whether it should be.

Subject author Christine Hoff contends that there is a bias in early education to suppress energy and aggression in boys before they can learn in school. On the other end of the spectrum, males are taught that they should be tough, brave, and never cry, as explained by commentator Thomas Page McBee.

The course presents (through the Idea Channel on Youtube) the “progressive view” that is seeking to change the definitions and expressions of masculinity in our day. Author Hanna Rosin discusses reasons behind the changing definition of masculinity as she writes in The Atlantic: “Man has been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But for the first time in human history, that is changing – and with shocking speed. Cultural and economic changes always reinforce each other. And the global economy is evolving in a way that is eroding the historical preference for male children, worldwide.“

The “traditional view” presented in the course is not willing to simply redefine masculinity, but rather seeks ways in which the traditional view can be revived and restated in a manner that engages the current culture. In a counter article to Rosin’s “The End of Men,” author Ann Friedman writes, “Despite lots of hand-wringing about the death of masculinity and the he-cession, the problem isn’t men. It’s traditional gender stereotypes.“

Much of the debate here stems around the maintenance or destruction of gender roles. Is it appropriate for men to behave as “men” and women as “women” – or should people of one gender identity seek to be “the same” as those of a different sort?

Popular music artist Lecrae weighs in on the subject to present a Christian viewpoint, still very popular in American culture, saying: “I think Jesus is the perfect picture of biblical masculinity. He was selfless…willing to sacrifice himself for others and for the woman he loved – the Church – so a man should be willing to sacrifice himself. Jesus walked in authority and respected authority. He did not passively walk through life. He embraced his responsibility. That’s masculinity, that’s manhood.”

“This controversial course experience is enormously important, and both male and female students seem to be engaging with it in record number,” noted Free Think University co-founder Jim Van Eerden. “One is left to answer the question themselves: would the world be better or worse without a vibrant and positive expression of masculinity in the world?”

To access the full course, click here. For additional media information, please contact

About Free Think University

Free Think University is where more than 30,000 free-thinking students have joined what Mortimer Adler called “The Great Conversation” – the dialogue of the ages about The Big Questions of our day, and where they participate in one of the fastest-growing independent scholarship funds in America. Submit questions for future courses to For more information go to or follow @freethinku.

Become a Fan

Press Contact

Jim Van Eerden

Image Gallery