Mr. Yale knows no gender

Jen Ivers ’10 doesn’t want to make a statement; she just wants to be Mr. Yale.

But as the first-ever female competitor in the annual talent show sponsored by the Yale College Council, Ivers — who does not involve herself in politics and would not describe herself as an activist — may, however reluctantly, become one.

Jen Ivers ’10 of Timothy Dwight is the first female to compete in the Mr. Yale talent show, which will be held this February.
Nathan Laughton
Jen Ivers ’10 of Timothy Dwight is the first female to compete in the Mr. Yale talent show, which will be held this February.
No caption.
Nathan Laughton
No caption.

Students from Ivers’s residential college, Timothy Dwight, voted overwhelmingly to make her their representative in the annual pageant, YCC events coordinator Mathilde Williams ’11 said. After the votes were tallied earlier this month, a YCC rep told Ivers she had been disqualified because of her sex. But the next day, the YCC apologized for what it now calls a miscommunication: She could compete after all.

That leaves Ivers and the YCC busily preparing for February, when she and 11 men will take the stage, hoping to be crowned Mr. Yale 2010.


When the competition takes place, Ivers said attendees should not expect to see her wearing a dress.

A Spanish major from Illinois with short-cropped brown hair, Ivers prefers men’s clothing and knew since she was young that she was attracted to women. When she was 8 years old, Ivers said, she stumbled across the word ‘lesbian’ in a magazine, and upon further investigation, she said, she realized the label fit. Shortly thereafter, in her first “coming out” experience, Ivers told a friend she was a lesbian while the two were on a bike ride. Her friend’s response: “Duh.”

Although Ivers is comfortable with her sexuality around friends and family, she said strangers are often confused by her masculinity. Ivers said strangers occasionally make comments to her when she is in the women’s bathroom, asking if she is in the wrong room.

Still, once people get to know her, Ivers said, the ambiguities surrounding her gender identity become unimportant.

“Most people don’t see me as falling within some sort of gender stereotype,” Ivers said. “And you can’t be friends with me if you can’t get past that.”

Ivers said she identifies as neither male nor female, and she said she does not identify as transgender. Ivers said gender is a non-issue in her life and should not hold any influence in the pageant.

Yoshi Shapiro ’11, co-coordinator of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Cooperative and a friend of Ivers, said Ivers fits the criteria of Mr. Yale.

“She’s always funny, and she’s always making people laugh,” Shapiro said. “She’s an eligible bachelor.”


But while Ivers is now excitedly making plans for the competition, earlier this month, it seemed she might not be allowed to compete.

When Timothy Dwight YCC representative Sophia Chen ’12 told Williams, the events coordinator, that Ivers had received the most votes, Williams said she was confused. A female candidate had never run for Mr. Yale, so perhaps, Williams thought, a mistake had been made.

Once YCC reps confirmed that Ivers had been selected, conversation turned to the logistical problems that would arise when Ivers competes: shirts depicting a male body had already been printed, for instance, and YCC reps wondered if they would have to be changed.

Williams said YCC reps never questioned Ivers’ eligibility, as no rule expressly prohibits women from Mr. Yale. But amid confusion about logistics, Chen sent Ivers an e-mail Nov. 2 saying the YCC had rejected Ivers’ candidacy.

Ivers was surprised, upset and furious, she remembered. Yale’s environment can seem very politically correct, she said, and she thought her peers would frown upon her exclusion from the competition.

“I thought they were being a bit foolish and they didn’t realize the implications of that decision,” Ivers said. “It made me feel like I wasn’t cool enough to be in Mr. Yale.”

The next day, Williams and Chen drafted a conciliatory e-mail to Ivers informing her she had won the Timothy Dwight nomination for Mr. Yale. The e-mail also said the YCC respected that Ivers defies “conventional standards of gender.”

In an interview Tuesday, Williams expressed continued support for Ivers.

“I feel awful about that miscommunication,” Williams said. “It’ll be really cool and unique to have her compete.”

Williams said she will advise the next events coordinator to make the rules of Mr. Yale much clearer to avoid future confusion. Though such recommendations have not been finalized, Williams said she thinks the new rule should limit the competition to men and people who identify as male because female beauty pageants are often seen as objectifying women. But Ivers disagreed: Because Mr. Yale highlights traits that are not exclusive to men, she said it is unfair to bar women from the competition if there is not an alternative.

“Being funny isn’t a masculine characteristic,” Ivers said. “There’s a lot of hilarious and talented girls that could impress an audience without wearing a bikini.”

Adding women to the competition would also draw a more diverse crowd, Ivers said, adding that friends of hers who have not attended Mr. Yale in the past are planning to attend because of her candidacy.

And if Ivers’ participation proves successful, Williams said she would consider recommending that the competition become co-ed. Ivers, for one, has already been brainstorming for a co-ed pageant.

“I was thinking it should be called Captain Yale instead,” Ivers said, laughing.


Even if Ivers earns the title of Mr. instead of Captain, she said her reason for competing is simple: having fun.

To Ivers, running for Mr. Yale represents little more than an opportunity to enjoy herself and to exercise her comedic sensibilities. After all, Ivers said, the pageant is not meant to be taken seriously.

“It’s not really a male beauty pageant,” Ivers said. “It’s a male ridiculousness pageant.”

As the manager of the women’s varsity fencing team and a fencer since age 14, Ivers said she plans to incorporate her fencing prowess into the talent portion of the pageant.

Though Ivers maintains that she is not trying to make a political statement by competing, she said she realizes the significance of her participation. Ivers said that had she been banned from the competition, there would have inspired student anger toward the YCC. From both a feminist and a transgender perspective, she said, it would have been discriminatory not to let her to compete.

Coop co-coordinator Rachel Schiff ’10, too, said Ivers’ participation carries meaning beyond its initial appearance of “ridiculousness.”

“It’s significant in assisting us to stretch our minds around preconceived notions of gender and gender identity and pushing us to re-conceptualize what we know about the gender binary,” Schiff said. “It reminds you that masculinity isn’t just contained in a man’s body.”

Still, Ivers maintained that she wants nothing more than to have a good time.

“I acknowledge that it’s significant,” Ivers said. “But I just want to get up on stage and have fun.”

The Mr. Yale competition will be held on the night of Feb. 4 in Sudler Hall.


  • CC12

    Yeah Jen!

  • Disstionary

    Brava or maybe Bravo for Jen—and for Yale after its initial faux pas.

    Now, if the situation can avoid dissing based on gender stereotyping–even transgender stereotyping–it will have achived something truly novel (hunks and honeys are mild examples: usually it is words associated with reproductive equipment, words I need not specify they are common in the disstionary).

    See “trans-gender dorms at Yale and Harvard…” post at

  • cnc

    Wow, Yale enters the 20th century. Stand back when it comes ’round and enters the 21st.

  • BR 10

    I’m glad Jen mentioned the feminist perspective in all this. There is no “Miss Yale” pageant because of fears about objectification–implying that were women to have their own version of Mr. Yale, it would by definition have to be all about sex appeal. But Mr. Yale is more about being humorous and having fun than about the sex appeal of the competitors, and women are just as capable of that as men. I was proud to hear Jen was competing, if only because this means we can start to look beyond sex appeal as the main appeal of female competitors and acknowledge their ability to be funny and entertain in the same arena as men.

  • Yale 08

    What a sad, confused young girl.

  • manfromthe7thfloor

    Jennifer, I lovvvvvvvee you.

  • Yalie

    Dude, are you like retired or something? Shouldn’t you be focusing on your day job? “Glory days” are so… over.

    Oh: and Yay Jen!

  • SM11

    haha. now there will be lots of queer women at Mr. Yale, myself among them. major props to jen, who i don’t know personally, for doing this.

  • Joe W.

    Yale descends even further into pointy-headed ignorance.

  • here we go

    On one hand, I respect her for not making this some kind of a crusade, and doing it because it’s fun.

    That said, the details of this article really hit at the core ridiculousness of the non/transgendered “movement.” Consider: “Ivers said she identifies as neither male nor female, and she said she does not identify as transgender. Ivers said gender is a non-issue in her life and should not hold any influence in the pageant.”

    And yet the article kicks everything off by saying she’ll be the “first-ever female competitor.” On a similar note, how can she be a lesbian if she doesn’t “identify” as a woman? Should we even be using the word “she?” A little consistency, perhaps? You can’t have it both ways, and her in case it sounds like she shouldn’t even have it ONE way at all. I understand the women’s bathroom thing, seeing as there are no “non-gender” bathrooms (yet), but if she leans on the side of being a girl for social convenience, then she (or rather, Miss Schiff) can’t pull the “masculinity is a state of mind” thing at the same time to get into Mr. Yale.

    And speaking of state-of-minds, I’m sorry, but if I happen to identify as a frog, that does not make me a frog. Physiologically, I’m a human. Sexuality is one thing… gender, on the other hand, is not tied to your head. There are concrete, biological ways of differentiating. If you have lady bits, you’re a lady. If you’ve got man bits, you’re a man. If you have both, like Jabba the Hutt, then you’re a hermaphrodite… but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case here. Breasts, vaginas and menstruation are not just mental constructions, kids.

    Furthermore, even if she were “just” a woman, there’s nothing wrong with an event like this being all-male. It’s not backwards, it’s not maliciously patriarchal, it’s not antiquated. That’s simply what the event is, by definition. The answer to create an equal alternative is to start a “Miss Yale” pageant… but no, that wouldn’t be making enough of a statement for the Coop community.

    And speaking of Coop, I really wish Schiff would back off. Even though I disagree with the logic behind Jenn’s gender dynamics, it really sounds like she just wants to have a good time. She doesn’t describe herself as activist, and she’s not looking to make this a statement, and therefore people who ARE activists should NOT hijack this and make it one. Rest assured, however, that the vote will get swamped, she/he/it will win, and then all will hail Yale as a bastion of triumphant progressivism.

    And so it goes…

  • wow

    Next year’s ‘Mr. Yale’ will be a seahorse.

  • HDT

    @#10- I suggest reading up on gender identity. Psychology and medicine have put a lot of research into the subject, and theorists have put a lot of thought into it based on this research. I suppose the evidence you’ll find most compelling is the biological: that there is, in fact, a biological basis for gender identity, even when it doesn’t match up with physical sex. If you want to learn more, the Wikipedia article on gender identity is a pretty good start.

  • hmm

    wow so why is the competition still called “Mr” Yale. The name should be changed to something neutral.

  • TD 11

    We love you Jen! Best TD rep to Mr. Yale ever!

  • in response to #10

    #10, although I respect you for separating the activists from Jen, and acknowledging that she simply wants to have fun in the competition, I think you are a little confused on the concept of gender and sex, and their differentiation, despite your very eloquently written comment.
    First of all, I admire you for being so bold in your opinions on gender expression when (I assume, I could be wrong) you have no f*cking idea what the gender identity struggle is like at all. Sure, this person may not identify as male or female. Maybe we should be more “consistent” and consider what personal pronoun to use when referring to this person. She may not feel perfectly fitting (which I assume this person is perfectly aware of), so should we use the pronoun “he”? Like you point out, breasts, vagina, and menstruation most likely makes this personal pronoun just as uncomfortable. So should we call this person “it”? No, this person is a person. And because of social convenience she may feel more comfortable referring to herself as she, even if the connotation of that pronoun does not fit her in the same way it fits other women.
    Whether or not she is a lesbian? Valid point. If you define lesbian as a woman who is attracted to women, then obviously calling her (using this pronoun because we established this above) a lesbian is complicated if she does not identify with a particular gender. So maybe we should just not label her sexuality since we cannot label her gender, but this just seems irrelevant and frankly stupid. Leave the labels and the definitions to the individual herself; to be honest, I’m sure she’s given these labels and definitions much more thought than you have (as seen in the article, she’s been thinking about these things since she was eight years old).
    Most importantly though, there is not a “concrete, biological way of differentiating” gender. This is where you are tragically confused. SEX can be differentiated by biological anatomical facts; however, gender is a much more fluid concept. You can be “male”, having a penis, and still associate as a woman. You sex is stable (unless you make a MTF or FTM transition through surgery), but your gender is fluid, as Schiff said—it exists on a binary.
    All and all, your comment is of course well-written and I respect may of your points, but I think you just need to understand how gender can be completely separated from one’s assigned sex. Gender differentiation CANNOT be done through anatomy or biological facts like “breasts, vaginas, and menstruation,” like you wrote.

    And congrats Jen—I’m so sorry that so many people are taking this as an opportunity to talk about gender identity and sexuality with you as the objectified subject of the conversation…belittling something you’ve undoubtedly thought about much more than these commenters.

    And sorry that so many people are still ignorant. And I hope you have fun in the competition!

  • Mike

    Pardon my ignorance, but I thought that the word “male,” when used in connection with the species homo sapiens, means someone who, absent some disease or defect, is ordinarily capable of producing sperm during the portion of that person’s lifespan between puberty and old age, and “female” similarly means someone who, absent some disease or defect, is ordinarily capable of producing ova during the period between puberty and menopause.

    I can go through life with the sneaking suspicion (or complete conviction) that I am not male, but my plumbing tells me otherwise.

  • @12

    Second sentence of that wikipedia entry for gender identity:

    “It is not necessarily based on biological fact, either real or perceived, nor is it always based on sexual orientation.”

    I think what #10 is saying is that biological fact is way we should be objectively gauging gender, and that this whole idea of non-physical “gender identity” is a load of bullocks that has grown out of the LGBQTKDNFKJDS movement. I also agree with him wholeheartedly. It’s very tragic that some people feel out of place in their skin, but that’s nature.

  • Disstionary


    The comment is ageist and presumptuous.

    I read this digital version of YDN at 5.a.m. with coffee before work. Do I have you leave to do so my young lord?

    Glory days? It was like war, with words for weapons. I was a townie and Yale was a pompous, smug, dying male enclave.(1976-80) If anything, it is Yale which may be having trouble leaving the past.

    I was drawn to puncture it a few times—but those were gorey days, not glory days.

    If the thrust of your comment is that the ‘old’ and the townfolk are un- unwelcome in your Yale Daily News’s digital arena, that’s the very elitism which has turned my stomach at Yale for 50 years.

    Glad to have irritated you with my wrinkles, silver hair, and unprivileged background.

    I take my humble leave of your youthful lordship’s prose, reserving the right to comment on a place which continues to intrude( economically, architecturally, socially, politically) on the lives and values of those born and raised in New Haven and environs.


    Paul Keane
    M.Div. ’80

  • Yale 2008

    I declare myself to be a duck.

    I feel that there is a duck inside me waiting to be free.

  • Again

    To repeat in case you have a short attention span:

    Gender =/= sex

  • y10

    Pretty clear Williams and the YCC made the right call on this, and then got assailed by the media and their peers and were forced to awkwardly change course. Never has Yale been so insufferably PC. New low.

  • fruitfly

    Yay! we love you jennnn. so excited…expect body paint

  • what?

    gender=sex? excuse me? I’m sorry, that is just wrong. Very, very wrong.

  • your plumbing doesn’t lie

    Being male is different from being a man, and being a female is different from being a woman, as some would argue.
    The fact that you have a penis does mean that you are indeed male by assigned sex. Whether or not you identify with the male GENDER, however, is a different story. And I think that is more the issue at hand. Not whether or not your penis is deceiving you into thinking you somehow cannot produce sperm. I trust that your equipment allows you to find this out in the bathroom or in the privacy of your bedroom.

  • ummm…

    I am definitely a whatever floats your boat kind of person…

    But I don’t get this whole thing AT ALL. If she doesn’t identify herself as male, why does she want to be part of Mr. Yale?

    The only thing she identifies with is being a lesbian, and being a lesbain does not mean you are a male.

    So I must be missing something…Maybe I am trying to oversimplify something that apparently isn’t so simple.

    Oh well, whatever floats your gender neutral, lesbian, male clothes wearing self.

  • Why?

    Why would a female want to be Mr. Yale? The interested female should try to get a Ms. Yale contest going. Otherwise, the female is living a make believe world about her gender and the supporters merely don’t realize that the emperor has no clothes. Perhaps a child can point out that she is not eligible to be Mr. Yale despite of the propaganda dished out to the masses.

  • @15

    Fair enough. I’ll read up.

    In the meantime, however, I still think Schiff and Co. have made this into an issue where none really exists. Let’s say we’re all on the same page with the connotations of gender vs. sex, genotypic and phenotypic measures of gender, identification, etc. It sounds like Schiff doesn’t even know this poor girl (I’ll use “girl” because that’s what the article uses), because in the article she’s arguing that masculinity is a mental construct, blah blah blah… as though Ivers is a person with female genitalia but who identifies as a male, and should therefore be allowed to enter Mr. Yale. Reading Miss Ivers’ quotes, that’s not the impression I get at all. She’s NON-gender, and if anything has female physical traits. The question, then, is not whether females who identify as males should count as males (and thus qualify for Mr. Yale), but whether or not non-males should be allowed to enter the contest.

    At the end of the day, I think they should just make a parallel Miss Yale competition next year, but for now… TD voted Jen fair and square, and therefore I think she should be able to compete. Coop, on the other hand, needs to back off and stop misguidedly using every “incident” involving LGBQT students as a soapbox.

  • oversimplification

    yeah you’re oversimplifying. She just wants to be in the competition, why shouldn’t she be able to? Mr. yale is so ridiculously stupid anyway it’s about time someone makes it more interesting. it’s ridiculously heteronormative in assuming that all the men who have previously competed are straight…that the sexual partner of choice must be a woman to be a “Mr”,or that to be masculine or manly or a man you have to have sperm-producing genitalia.
    whateverrrr though, i’m excited about this year’s competition. it’s going to be a hell of a lot more interesting.

    and lay off all the debates about gender, sexuality, and labeling…I think we’re forgetting that there is an actual person behind all of this that just WANTS TO PLAY.
    For God’s sake it’s just an effing pageant. It’s about having fun.

  • You are confused

    #24: You have exhibited a fundamental flaw in your thinking. A person is objectively MALE or FEMALE despite of their mental state. For example, a male hospitalized after a painful car accident may think he is a female due to some analgesics and then wake up and realize that he was confused. He didn’t change his gender due to his mental state.

  • Yale CC ’08

    I too do not quite get this. I am very happy that Jen is going to do this. If she feels the need to set precedents in gender-bending or because she is more masculine than most women, then go ahead. After all, Mr. Yale acknowledges they essentially pokes fun at male constructs of machismo/ beauty, etc.

    But if she does not identify as a male, has not taken a hormonal drug or used surgery to make herself male, and identifies herself only as a lesbian, then she neither identifies herself in terms of gender or sex, even though we know full well that by process of elimination she is indeed a female. Perhaps a female who feels a great affinity for a masculine state of being? So her wish to participate in Mr. Yale would have to be defined by a wish to be the first woman to compete. Moreover, she feels it her prerogative because the competition itself makes fun of what it traditionally means to be ‘male’. Thus Mr. Yale is more about gender identity, which as we have all discussed above, is not a biologically-assorted definition but a social construct.

    So go for it! But if Mr. Yale was a serious competition, I think it would have been wholly inappropriate. She would have to have a sex change.

  • Go Jen!

    This is fantastic. Jen, thank you for following what you want to do. Best of luck and you will be fantastic.

    Those who disagree: are you casting ballots or are you casting stones?

  • 2013

    This is ridiculous.

    I am not sexist or homophobic by any stretch of the imagination, but MR. Yale is for MISTERs not women.

    Is Jen legally a man or a woman? If she is a woman, then she is a MS. This really isn’t difficult …

    Just ask anyone in the biology department or law school if this makes sense …

  • MC ’08

    Two points:

    1.) Why does this pageant have to be “Mr.” Yale? Isn’t the winner of this competition supposed to represent the affability, intelligence, humor, and talent that Yale students embody? Can’t a woman be an emblem of what’s best about Yale, just as a man can? Frankly, I agree with # 28. This pageant is about having fun and celebrating someone who represents Yale to its fullest. If Jen can do that, then let Jen try.

    2.) In my opinion, people like #19 demonstrate a hyperbolic, “slippery slope” attitude that endangers constructive dialogue around so many important issues in today’s society. Americans today seem so quick to jump to “all or nothing” arguments like # 19 did, as well as to ascribe arguments with labels such as “left wing” or “right wing”, “feminist” or “sexist”, “communist” or “redneck”. These labels have no clear meaning but engender instinctive negative reactions. It seems we no longer care to see the intricacies of arguments, because, frankly, we’re too lazy to examine the facts. It’s just easier to make a saucy quip about ducks.Any rational person knows there is a major difference between identifying with another gender and identifying with fowl… and that allowing/understanding the former doesn’t mean we condone the later.

  • Yale 11

    This is completely ridiculous. What’s wrong with having categories that mean something? Or are we too postmodern for that? Isn’t it obvious that the conclusion of the LBGTQQFCRHL… movement is the dissolution of language itself? Stupid people.

  • ugh

    Should girls be allowed to rush fraternities? No. Is it sexist to say so? No.

  • GoJen

    Jen for the win.

  • HDT

    So if someone has XY chromosomes but also breasts and a vagina, what are they? If she feels female, do we disagree because of the chromosomal makeup? If he feels male, do we disagree because of the breasts and the vagina?

    Trying to argue that anyone but that person can really know for sure who they are is arrogant and presumptuous. The same goes for less clearly understood phenomena, such as identifying with a gender that does not coincide with your sex, or identifying with neither gender.

  • A modest suggestion:

    In order to accomodate current thinking, lets have (1) a “Mr Yale”, (2) a “Ms. Yale”, and (3) a Mr/Ms Lesbian-Gay Transgender Yale!!!

    All persuasions would have their king.queen/whatever … everybody happy?

    They could rotate occupying the center slot at all formal appearances during their reign.

  • James

    This is how it should work:

    It this pageant is constructed around gender, Jen should be allowed to compete. After all, gender is a social construction.

    If this pageant is constructed around sex:

    Jen should not be allowed to compete, but instead, a portion should be dedicated in Mr. Yale for full-frontal nudity.

    After all, if it is about sex, let’s seem some penis. Amirite?

  • Yay!

    Jen, it is great that you are doing this. This woud be a great opportunity to educate, but I think I just want to leave it at…YAY and hope you have more fun than you even expected to.

  • Egalitarian

    To #37: I completely agree with you. The hypothetical situation that you describe is a reality for some people. It’s known as androgen insensitivity syndrome. Apparently, people with this condition are identified as female by society. I’ve never met anyone with the condition and therefore never heard the perspective of someone who’s experienced it firsthand. However, I’m inclined to believe that society should refrain from pushing an identity on such people to make them fit in and instead allow them to identify in the manner that fits them best.

    Personally, I have gynecomastia, which means that I larger breasts than the average man, although still smaller than the average woman. Apparently, many men with this condition opt to undergo surgery to reduce their breast size. I have refused to do so, as I do not consider the shape of my body to be a disease to be cured. This is my perspective, although I may be in the minority. If there is something wrong, then it is with society, not with me or my body. I believe that anyone who believes that an androgynous man or woman is in any way inferior to a very masculine man or a very feminine woman is prejudiced, plain and simple.

  • #29 get your terms straight

    Going along with your story, he didn’t change his SEX due to his mental state. AGAIN, gender is SEPARATE from SEX. He is of course still a MALE despite his post-traumatic confusion. His SEX did not change. HOWEVER, GENDER identity is rooted in a mental state.

  • Master

    If she is eligible to compete for an M.A. degree, she is eligble to compete for Mr. Yale from an etymological standpoint:

    Word Origin & History


    as a title of courtesy before a man’s Christian name, 1447, unaccented variant of master.
    Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper
    Cite This Source

  • 11

    can i be miss america? why is it called miss anyways? everything is so restrictive. homo sapiens? gross- thats soooo heteronormative.

  • Juan Diaz

    Goodness, everyone, Jenn just wants to have fun and she is willing to play the male or masculine role for the Mr. Yale competition. This is supposed to be about having fun. Life is diverse. People come in different shapes, genders, sex, colors, etc. Based on the pictures and the article, she seems to have a knack for this, so let her compete and enjoy the show. I am an alum, but I would love to see the competition. Yale already has enough Maggy Gallagher’s in its alumni base. I can’t wait for Jen to join the alumni pool. We need you!

  • Elm City

    She’s already a better man than most of the males at Yale.

  • sweeeeeet!

    Yo, let the haters hate, you do your thing Jen! CONGRATS :-)

    Also does anyone else start yawning and/or gagging every time Schiff says something?

  • Mistress

    To # 44
    The etymological answer to your question (Why is it called “Miss” anyway?)is that “Mrs.” was an abbreviation of mistress.

    Word Origin & History


    1582, abbreviation of mistress (q.v.), originally in all uses of that word. The pl. Mmes. is an abbreviation of Fr. mesdames, pl. of madame. Pronunciation “missis” was considered vulgar at least into 18c. The Mrs. “one’s wife” is from 1920.

    Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper
    Cite This Source

    This is getting to be worthy of a new post on

    (see “The Arrogant Young Prince from Yale”)

  • ?

    @#48 “Mistress”

    P. Keane is now claiming his own gender bent status? How very… Zelig.

  • Congrats!

    Go Jen! This is so awesome. Best of luck in the competition!

  • skeptic

    hmmm.. 50 posts… almost a record. Wonder why other people’s sex and gender get so many folks all riled up? Why might they be so anxious about something so trivial that does not affect them in the least? Insecurity?

  • King kong

    Must we waffle on the specificities of sex and the quirky quagmires that cause us to generalize genes to genders?
    Paul Keane I do not understand your being a master then a mistress but this is America and I will fight for your right to do so.

  • Zelig AKA Forrest Gump

    You almost stumped me on Zelig. I had to Google the allusion. I’ve been called Forrest Gump for the same ubiquity in the past, but Zelig is a new one.

    On an entertainingly offtopic note: thanks to whoever said my contributions to the HIV story were “entertainingly offtopi”. I have been looking for an epitaph and that fits me perfectly.

    Paul Keane
    (1944 – 20–)
    Entertainingly Offtopic

    I love it!!!

  • The late Quentin Crisp in memoriam

    Dear King Kong:
    Thanks for protecting my freedom of expression.

    As for Mister Mistress: Would you expect less from a divinity student who in 1976 invited Quentin Crisp to speak at Yale Divinity School on the topic: What it is to be a transvestite.

    Can you think of a contemporary analogue?
    Chastity Bono being invited by the Vatican to speak on celibacy and gender identity?

    There is nothing as scandalous in my recollection as the image of Mr. Crisp in dyed purple hair, lipstick and painted nails,walking through august alabaster hallways peopled with portraits of Jonathan Edwards and H. Richard Niebuhr to speak to 200 listeners in the Divinity School Auditorium.

    No Divinity School faculty attended: But some Psychology faculty did. They invited Crisp to participate in interviews about the subject of cross gender idenity and he agreed. Thus began the long history of Yale’s gender identity movement.

    I am proud to have insisted 34 years ago that ALL people are entitled to respect, including Mr. Quentin Crisp.

  • Please define Mr.

    If Mr. Yale is a competition for men, then sorry, Jen. You should be disqualified. You’re not a man. If Mr. Yale is for people who dress like men, then Jen should be in. If the idea of Mr. Yale is wrong in its own right for only allowing men to be a part of it, then the bold thing to do would be to nominate a woman who dresses in the most feminine way possible.

  • Ricardo L. Rodriguez MD

    Here we are at Yale, again, Alice in Wonderland, where:
    ““When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”
    To that poster well versed in chromosome analysis who asked rhetorically what an XY individual with a Vagina and breasts is, we can call such individual, if we see HER, Jamie Lee Curtis, for she is one such specimen.
    Gender at birth is assigned phenotypically, arbitrarily, yes. In cases of indeterminate sex at birth, such issues are of crucial importance, and the choices have deep and far reaching consequences. A novel concept for those who want words to mean precisely what they want them to mean.
    A Mister with a vagina instead of a penis, an entire book about Mohammed’s cartoons with everything in it except the cartoons. What’s next, a Bachelor of Arts without common sense? Oh wait, sorry…This is Yale.
    Jen was, is, and will always be a Lesbian. Power to her. She is not a Mr., and never was. Words and thoughts are powerless in this situation, except as a lie.
    Lies may conveniently drape over a crack in the logic or a hole in the argument, but in this case one should let the naked truth speak for itself.

  • You say Mister; I say Master

    Mister means Master. Please define Master.

  • VoiceofReason

    For the love of God, YCC, you capitulating, spineless, sycophants. You know that gender is not a social construct; that’s why you disqualified Jen Ivers in the first place. Then some misguided and objectively incorrect “freethinkers” told you that gender isn’t real. It is. Men are men. Women are women. Men who like men and women who like women are homosexuals. This does not mean that they are different genders. God help us if any of you ever rise to actual political office, you useless wastes of student activity fees and UOFC funding.

  • Don’t we go to Yale?

    OED: “Mr, n. 1.a. A title prefixed to the surname or first name of a man without a higher, honorific, or professional title, or to any of various designations of office.”

    Here’s some basic logic for you guys:

    She isn’t a man ==> she isn’t a Mr.

    I know, I know, language is so ‘un-PC.’ It’s so ’20th century’ how words have actual meanings based in tradition. And it’s so pre-modern how we can actually decide what certain things mean. I cry about it every night right after I put down my copy of Slate, finish a PBR, and get into my flannel PJ’s.

  • Hieronymus

    Weirdly: I couldn’t care much less about this topic.

    I take the whole “mister” thing, in a context such as this, to imply “epitome.” Therefore, the honorific “Mister Yale” goes to the person who epitomizes Yale.

    A lesbian who works to look like a man but identifies with no gender, who is a d*mn fine sportsperson but wastes the academic opp on an inconsequential major?

    Yeah, that pretty much epitomizes today’s Yale for me. Go Jen!

  • FailBoat

    I feel like a dolphin. I shouldn’t have to pay taxes, because dolphins don’t pay taxes.


  • Jen-der Jen-eration

    This is the first generation in the history of the world without a culturally accepted definition of “man” and “woman”. Biologial determinism is passe. Sexism is passe. If a penis doesn’t mean manhood and a vagina doesn’t mean womanhood, then up is down and down is up or over or beside or around. It is an Alice in Wonderland world.
    What will this confusion arrive at? If there are no polarities, if there are no dichotomies in gender identity, how will infants come to see themselves as they grow through the psychosocial stages ?

    I am a Being? I am a creature? I am an appetite? We may already as a culture have capitulated to the latter: identity based on appetite.

    see “Transgender dorms…” post

  • Hieronymus

    Failboat: I think I might be developing a crush on you…

  • hmm

    Maybe it’s because neither of you can make a logical argument? Truly a match made in heaven.

  • yaylie

    I’m glad that when I was in the College, Mr. Yale was Mr. Yale. And it would only be fair for there to be a Miss Yale – somebody should start that up. What can I say…way to go for the queers to screw up, pervert, and make a mockery of yet another good emerging Yale tradition.

  • Common Sense

    Isn’t this competition called “Mr. Yale?” Therefore, only men should be allowed in. Honestly, common sense people…

  • Inconsequential major? You people make me sick.

    Inconsequential major? You people are ridiculous! What’s so inconsequential about understanding Latin America and learning to relate to the other inhabitants of AMERICA (the continent(s) on which we live, not the country)? I think greedy Econ majors who choose to take econometrics instead of what they are truly passionate about merely to obtain a high-paying job and consequently waste their life slaving away in an I-Bank have made the incorrect choice for a major, not someone like Jen.

  • http;//

    Caster Semenya rules!
    (see this week’s New Yorker)

  • GoJen

    Jen for the win!!

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