This weekend's op-ed pages saw the first of what could be a slew of reassessments of the recent "Save the Males" campaign. A Washington Post "Outlook" article fretted over "the myth of the "boys' crisis," and Jill Abramson reminded us in the New York Times that the "first woman to ____" label has suddenly disappeared from the discussion of a certain morning flower's new employment... without mentioning the paper's previous un-P.C. cracks about the clickety-clack of Ms. Couric's stiletto heels. Rebecca Traister's already got a discussion of the WaPo article going at Salon's Broadsheet, but it's worth pointing out in addition that there's growing awareness of a potential "girls'
crisis" at one of America's oldest old boys' clubs.
You may remember this fall's minor national fuss over Yale's (alleged) legions of future stay-at-home moms, but a cover story this week for the Yale Herald takes up the torch again, addressing the surprising dearth of women in leadership positions in Yale's most progressive organizations. In one section, author Alexandra Suich chronicles the challenges of Yale's chapter of the Roosevelt Insititution, "the nation's first student think tank," to integrate its flush of feminine smarts into the fold:
Dani Gilbert, former press director and current fundraising chair of Roosevelt at Yale, was one of the women who brought gender dynamics to the attention of the organization's leaders. A natural leader herself, Gilbert spoke about her experiences with decision and articulateness. "There are a lot of gender issues in Roosevelt," she said of the Yale chapter. "Not that we're underrepresented, because there's a lot of females, so it seems like we should have a lot of influence. But the people who are really involved exclude us from the benefits of the organization. We do the busy work without getting to enjoy the exciting benefits." Gilbert admitted that the group called those tasks that no one wanted to do "bitch work" before they concluded that the gendered term was inappropriate, yet reflective of the division of labor.
Yale still has its fair share of prominent female personalities, as Suich notes — two of
Yale's three Rhodes Scholars this year are female, as is one of its Marshall Scholars, HuffPo contributor Sarah Stillman, but the article is a striking account of other females' frustrated efforts to be acknowledged, and a timely reminder that there might be something to old-school feminism after all.
Earlier this year, the state of women at Yale even prompted two students to start Broad Recognition, a blog which points out anti-feminist depictions in campus publications. But it's been dismissed by some as insufficiently serious since John Fund called out editor Della Sentilles in the Wall Street Journal for writing on the website that "as a white American feminist, I do not feel comfortable making statements or judgments about other cultures, especially statements that suggest one culture is more sexist and repressive than another" in reference to non-degree student Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, a former spokesman for the Taliban.
We shouldn't ignore the issue of unmotivated boys, of course, but how 'bout that manliness movement now? Seems like at Yale, it's not the boys who need the extra help.