OP-EDS

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March 3, 2009

Men in power

True equality means groups that advocate for men as well as women.

It’s no secret that since the 1990s, women outnumber—and out-graduate—men in American post-secondary education. Currently, the fairer sex accounts for 58 percent of the nation’s college students and many experts estimate that number rising above 66 percent in the coming decade. There to usher the growing masses through the university system are a myriad of women’s advocacy organizations, evidenced on our campus by 10 such RSOs, most notably the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, and Women in Business. There are zero such male-oriented RSOs, as misleading as the name of the female a cappella troupe Men in Drag is.

As a member of the 49.6 percent of the students at this school with a Y chromosome, I feel it is my duty to ensure that similar resources are provided for males now and in the future. Without further ado, and beginning next quarter, I’d like to propose a new group entered into the University of Chicago RSO landscape: Men in Power (MiP).

Basically, Men in Power at the University of Chicago will serve as the flagship organization for a national group of the same name, working to spread awareness and promote understanding of issues and challenges facing men today. Many don’t realize that men are in power all around us—in fact, the last 44 presidents have been men, including our own Barack Obama.

Embracing a range of gender identities and ideological positions, its members will work cooperatively to organize events and facilitate open discussion. Men in Power’s ultimate goal, however, will be to offer a unique opportunity for undergraduate men at the University of Chicago to expand and sharpen their knowledge of business, politics, and networking—giving them the skills they will need to become future leaders of the world.

I know what you’re thinking: This sounds really misogynistic.

I assure you, however, that the group would not be against or in any way attempt to inhibit the advancement of women. We would simply advocate for men in the same manner that female groups advocate for women. Anyone with an interest in both studying and learning from men in powerful positions, as well as issues involved with reverse sexism, may become a member of MiP.

Establishing a relationship with the university community as a whole will be crucial to the success of this nascent RSO. Accordingly, next quarter will feature a number of events aimed to raise the profile of Men in Power on campus. Firstly, we will be hosting weekly study breaks/screenings of movement-oriented films, including: A Few Good Men, 12 Angry Men, Men of Honor (and many other Cuba Gooding Jr. masterpieces), All the President’s Men, and—of course—X-Men.

Additional upcoming events will include an open-mic night on issues concerning body image, a tutorial on barbecuing, and our much-anticipated workshop “Protecting What’s Yours: Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement.” Given the lack of similar groups on campus, MiP will have to establish a broad base, merging social issues and activities with a pre-professional slant. Through our fishing, hunting, and flag-football retreats, we hope to cultivate close relationships with many individuals and organizations in different sectors of power—including business, politics, and academia.

As should be the case with any RSO, social responsibility will take a front-seat role in MiP. Through our “Little Men in Power” program, we hope to provide middle school and elementary students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become the next generation of this country’s leaders.

I hope the above, and the successes of next quarter will show that MiP will be a far cry from an “old boys club”—after all, its members will all be pretty young. As is the case with every other special advocacy group such as the aforementioned, Chicago Friends of Israel, and UCDems, MiP will be applying for funding through ORCSA, a group bankrolled by our collective tuition. Accordingly, I encourage all those interested to attend events and get their slice of the big RSO pie.

Steve Saltarelli is a third-year in the College majoring in Law, Letters, and Society.