In March, Steve Saltarelli, a junior Law, Letters, and Society major at the University of Chicago, wrote a satirical article for the student newspaper, the Chicago Maroon, entitled “Men in Power.”  The subtitle read, “True equality means groups that advocate for men as well as women.”  In the article, Saltarelli jokingly proposed founding an advocacy group that would accomplish for men what similar groups accomplish for women:

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.” . . . 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.

Saltarelli garnered so much positive student feedback that he founded a group called Men in Power shortly thereafter.

Instead of teaching men how to throw a tight spiral or fire a Glock, MiP aims 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.”  In interviews with FOX News, MSNBC, and others, Saltarelli, usually facing irritated female hosts, stressed that his group was not about male domination but about helping men his age deal with such issues as the higher occurrence of suicide among men, the fact that men graduate from college at a lower rate than women, awareness of men’s health issues, etc.

Reaction to Saltarelli’s group has been mixed.  While some hail MiP’s agenda as unnecessary and “misogynistic,” many others have lauded it as a necessary and much-delayed reaction to militant feminism.

Saltarelli and the Men in Power were probably aiming for something good—a reinstatement of their masculinity in the face of their university’s feminazi agenda.  They recognized that there is something deeply wrong with a school that sponsors ten women’s advocacy organizations and hosts a “gender studies” program.  If nothing else, MiP’s founding suggests that many young men and women (the organization includes several female members) have become tired of reading Kate Chopin and listening to their professors rant about the suppression of women, and they wanted to send a message to the University of Chicago.

So, what did they do?

Exactly what women have been doing since the heyday of the suffragettes.  They formed an advocacy group—someplace where they could go and develop professional contacts, find out how to write good résumés, and learn about prostate cancer.

Universities are not places where men can learn how to be men.  They are bastions of 1970’s-style feminism where male students have little choice but to toe the politically correct line or get lynched after class.  Dominated more and more often by female faculty, universities also tend to have more female than male students—something that college guys might appreciate, but not something that helps them learn the things they need to learn.  No wonder MiP responded the way it did.  Any other method might have got them suspended.

Still, it would have been better if Saltarelli’s article were written in earnest—and if MiP followed the article’s plan.  Imagine a campus organization where guys actually learned how to do guy stuff—play tackle football, grill, shoot guns, pitch a tent, fish and hunt.  They could learn how to dress like guys, too.  No pink Oxford shirts allowed.  Such a group would have had practical benefits.

A few years ago, a friend of mine—one of the presiding officers of his fraternity—became concerned about the number of perfectly groomed, cologne-scented, pink-shirted guys in his house.  He and the other members of the executive board instituted a mandatory weekly Flannel Day.  Something more like Flannel Day and less like NOW is what the men at the University of Chicago and places like it need.