Have you subverted the patriarchy this ovester?
Consider this question as we celebrate the 40th year of women at Yale. In reading the News’ series on coeducation that ran over five days last week, two things popped out. First, I was impressed by the impact of Yale’s female graduates, at both the local and international levels, and struck by how few of these graduates have left a negative impact on the world, a claim that Yale’s male graduates cannot make.
Second, I was reminded of the tensions that existed between men and women in the first years of co-education. Have these tensions subsided? Sure. As our society becomes more egalitarian, these gender differences, like old soldiers, fade away. But some remnants of tension still exist.
It is with this in mind that, despite my strong alpha-male personality, I have chosen to posit that Yale should return to its pre-coeducation roots — but this time it should only admit women.
Yalies could be concerned that this policy might mean that our University would educate fewer of the nation’s elite, because of the metaphorical “glass ceiling,” which keeps women from holding more than a set percentage of important positions in our society. If true, the exclusion of men from Yale would mean that the number of Yalies in important positions would necessarily decrease if no men were to hold a Yale degree. Fortunately, Hillary Clinton LAW ’73, as she reminded us so many times, put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling; it can’t last very long with this type of damage. With the ceiling almost gone, Yale will not educate a smaller proportion of the nation’s elite.
A look at some of Yale’s male undergraduates first prompted this entirely serious and practical idea.
The cotton gin, invented by Eli Whitney 1792, strengthened the economic foundation of slavery; we can thank John C. Calhoun 1804 for the doctrine of nullification and a defense of slavery as a “positive good,” leading to the Civil War; city planner Robert Moses 1909 contributed to the ruin of the South Bronx and the exodus of the Giants and Dodgers baseball teams to the West Coast; CNN’s David Gergen ’63 has never had an original thought.
Montgomery Burns ’14 is evil; Morgan Stanley, the offspring of Harold Stanley 1908, declined to interview me for an analyst position; FedEx, founded by Frederick Smith ’66, ships me the weekly issue of The Nation; Howard Dean ’71 was head of the Democratic National Committee.
Perhaps most auspiciously, Yale educated the 43rd president of the United States (and his vice president, for a year), who, with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter — whose Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance ’39 LAW ’42, succeeded in allowing the Iranians to overthrow the shah and the Russians to invade Afghanistan — was the worst president in my parents’ lifetime.
Some may not consider Dick Cheney a Yale man, since he never graduated, but I don’t think that’s fair. Ethics classes are difficult for any student, let alone one without a heart or soul. Another failed student, Taliban PR man Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, is one of our proud attendees.
Even adjusting for the number of female compared to male graduates, no such society of shame exists for Yale’s females. The only female graduate in some disrepute is Jodie Foster ’85 (if you’ve seen Flightplan, you understand).
A comparison of senators John Kerry ’66 and Amy Klobuchar ’82 demonstrates the gap between Yale graduates in the same profession. Kerry ran the worst presidential campaign in my lifetime; Klobuchar has never lost an election. Kerry is often l-o-n-g-w-i-n-d-e-d; Klobuchar is known for her successful politicking behing the scenes. Kerry graduated Yale with a “gentleman’s C”; Klobuchar was an associate editor of the law review at the University of Chicago. These two stand for many others of their respective genders who have, respectively, shamed and honored our dear Yale.
I don’t think Yale should have never allowed men to attend. But now is the right time to make a switch. All we need now is this generation’s Maya Lin ’81 ARC ’86 ART ’87 to design the Men’s Table, which, starting in 2010, ought be a giant, upright “0” situated where the SigEp house had once been. This is, I believe, a modest proposal.
Adam Lior Hirst is a senior in Branford College.