Poe’s Law, University Edition

     If you were told a university to combat “toxic masculinity” setting up programs with acronyms like “BALLS,” “DUDES,” or “PENIS,” would you think that this is legitimate, or a case of Poe’s Law where parody becomes indistinguishable from reality?  The answer is both.

     The University of Redlands has started up such programs to combat “toxic masculinity“.

“The private liberal arts university in California has long had a Men’s Retention Committee, but it had failed to boost graduation rates. Last year, Zack Ritter, the university’s associate director for campus diversity and inclusion, and Reggie Robles, the university’s first-generation-students coordinator, decided to try something new.

“Using the budget usually reserved for the committee, they created a program called Dudes Understanding Diversity and Ending Stereotypes, or DUDES.

“‘It’s masculinity programing designed to improve retention,’ Ritter said. ‘We know male students exhibit higher rates of alcohol and substance abuse. And we also know they’re less likely to seek out student support services. This takes the support to them.’

“Ritter describes DUDES as a ‘traveling men’s center.’ Several organizations operate out of the center, including groups focused on diversity, social justice and personal development. DUDES also operates a leadership institute called Men Achieving Leadership Excellence and Success, or MALES.”

     An, of course, this is all to combat “hypermasculinity”:

“Colleges looking to create masculinity programs, Kruger said, should be sure to also focus on how ‘toxic masculinity can promote and normalize sexual violence’ and promote dangerous drinking habits, in particular among fraternity members and athletes.”

     This use of silly acronyms to fight masculinity by saving it, so as to speak, was mocked, of all people, by Gawker.

“The leadership institute’s subcommittee, Brothers Allied to Learn Life Successfully, recommends creating a specialized program, Progressive Excellence Needs Institutional Support. That will in turn produce a platform for change, Diversity Is Coherent Knowledge Helping Every Action Demand Solutions.”

     I.e. “BALLS,” “PENIS,” and “DICKHEADS.”

     Reality is beyond parody; it is self-mocking.

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