Polemics & Exchanges

On Dressing Down

In her short piece “Men in Power” (Vital Signs, September) Nicole Kooistra describes a men’s organization at the University of Chicago that grew out of a satirical article, and then proceeds to berate the organization for its pursuits (such as developing professional contacts and learning about prostate cancer), the appearance of its members (“perfectly groomed, cologne-scented, pink-shirted”), and its failure to teach men “how to be men.”  She would prefer that such an organization instruct its members in how to grill, throw a football, and wear flannel shirts.

I frankly find this a not only disturbing view of the purpose of attending university but a shockingly limited understanding of manhood (and its proper appearance) to be held by a contributor to Chronicles.  The places for a man to learn how to be a man are in his father’s home, and then within his community of extended family, neighbors, sports teams, etc., where he can learn his responsibilities and how to meet them.  Universities are where students go to gain knowledge both general and particular, and incidentally to gain a broader group of acquaintances and “contacts” that will help them along in life.  Colleges and universities founded along particular religious (or otherwise) lines can ...

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