Steve Saltarelli, a Junior at the University of Chicago, has launched a student group that “promises to help men get ahead professionally.” The group is called “Men in Power,” and it started as a satirical article that Saltarelli penned in student newspaper The Chicago Maroon.
Umm, I guess that explains the name.
Saltarelli is now the group’s president. As it turns out, some students didn’t think Saltarelli’s column was so funny—-they thought it was awesome! And so, “Shortly after the column ran, Saltarelli started getting e-mail messages from men eager to join.” Say it with me: White Men in Power!
But what about before the group was real—-and was really actually called “Men in Power”? What about when this was all just “satire”? Let’s take a look at Saterelli’s satirical “Men in Power” pitch, published in the Maroon on March 2.
Saltarelli’s main argument is that women’s advocacy groups on campus—-like “the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, and Women in Business”—-are nothing more than unnecessary girls’ clubs that box out 50 percent of the male population to hoard all of the University of Chicago student group funding. “I know what you’re thinking,” Saltarelli writes. “This sounds really misogynistic.”
First of all, how does Steve Saltarelli know what I’m thinking? Second, this sounds really misogynistic! He writes:
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.
So, Saltarelli thinks women’s groups are unnecessary, and also sexist. He chooses to bolster this argument by pointing out how unnecessary and sexist a “Men in Power” group would actually be (remember: it’s actually actual now!):
* “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,” he writes.
* “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,” he writes.
* “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,” he writes.
Okay, Saltarelli, you’ve convinced me—-“Men in Power” is unnecessary and sexist. But what about the part where you convince me that the Feminist Majority and Women in Business—-two groups whose names explicitly fight against the status quo—-are unnecessary. According to Drew Carey (okay I can’t fucking track down any other statistics at this point), only 29 percent of American women identify as feminists. Meanwhile, 2.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are female. Why might that be? Oh yeah, because our country full of unofficial “Men in Power” groups in workplaces, in the media, and in the government—-a point that you made yourself, and then completely discarded when you actually formed this group.
Here’s the thing, Saltarelli: Some aspects of the group sound interesting, actually. I’d totally go to the first scheduled “Men in Power” event, “a student panel discussion titled ‘Gender and Media: Trespassing the Taboo'” (umm, depending on what the taboo is). And the end goal of “raising awareness of the male experience” sounds like it would start a lot of good conversations with those feminist groups Saltarelli is so pissed about. Plus, X-Men is pretty cool.
But could we just get somebody—-anybody—-to tackle these issues on a college campus and try to get a little bit further than Two and a Half Men territory?
Photo by freeparking