Is anyone else troubled, or irked, or maybe just puzzled by the YSAC's Mr. Yale competition? YSAC describes the contest in the following words:
"YSAC seeks the best, craziest and funniest representatives from each college to compete in the first ever Mr. Yale. This exciting showcase will feature modeling and talent competitions, interviews, special judges (including Dean Peter Salovey) and much more! It’s your chance to show your Eli spirit as we gear up for The Game. At stake: a chance to debut the Mr. Yale crown and sash in the the halftime show at Yale-Harvard."
I guess I don't understand why the "best, craziest and funniest represetatives" must be men. Perhaps YSAC feared a "beauty-contest backlash" in which female nominees would only be judeged by their looks. Alternatively, perhaps YSAC was only using the phrase "Mr. Yale" as an all-encompassing, universal term (a problematic action nonetheless), but even if this was the intenetion, Yale students took the Mr. prefix seriously. All 12 candidates are male students. Are we saying the only men embody the spirit of Yale? In my opinion, the whole thing smacks of the ethos of an earlier Yale, a Yale that promised to continue to produce "1000 male leaders" every year, despite the sudden influx of 300 female undergraduates. By identifying a male student as the quintessential representative of Yale College, we ascribe a male normative standard to the university. Women become add-ons, after-thoughts, supplemental figures to this core of male students. The YSAC contest revives Yale's historically partiarchal identity, an identity that most of us hope had faded over the last 35 years.