For over a century, the battle of the sexes has driven much political controversy. The power that men held over western culture and society centuries ago and thus the suffrage and oppression of women, provoked several waves of liberation crusades of culture versus legislature. Women’s efforts through these feminist movements over the last century to gain not just cultural equality but clout and respectability, has made a deep impact in today’s society, so much so that some believe men’s vitality in the workplace and higher education may be in jeopardy.
Steve Salterelli, a third-year student attending the University of Chicago, feels so strongly about an overall decline in “manly fortitude,” he has formed a group called Men in Power, a men’s advocacy group and the first of its kind to ever be formed at the University. Salterelli and a group of several other students, including a woman, who is the group’s Director of Outreach, believe that “true equality means groups that advocate for men as well as women.”
Troubled by the shrinking number of men to gain bachelor’s degrees (100 for every 135 gained by women) and master’s degrees (100 for every 150 gained by women) and men’s general display of reluctancy when it comes to pursuing alumni networking support, Salterelli felt it beneficial to create an outlet where men could learn how to feel comfortable engaging opportunity as opposed to shirking it.
In an article by the Chicago Tribune entitled ‘Power’ Move by Male Students Ruffles U. of C., the writer states, “Saltarelli hopes Men in Power will help more men get ahead while raising awareness of the male experience.” “If we have good men in our society, everyone benefits,” he said."?
While the name “Men in Power” has earned some misogynistic assertions, it is important to understand that the goals, purpose, and mission of Salterelli’s new campus group do not promote any suggestion of sexism.
“Basically, Men in Power at the University of Chicago will serve as the flagship organization for a national group of the same name, working to spread awareness and promote understanding of issues and challenges facing men today,” Salterelli wrote in the Chicago Maroon. “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,” he continued to write.
Salterelli discussed in interviews with Fox News and the NPR, the concerns for men in their roles and responsibilities of today come as statistics show men falling behind on education, having a higher depression/suicide rate and being more prone to substance abuse than women. Men have suffered a higher percentage of unemployment in the current recession and account for more of the homeless population. In other words, today’s society is breeding a population of dysfunctional, emasculate men.
Based upon these facts, Salterelli feels providing college-age men and even school-age boys (Little Men in Power) resources and pre-professional platforms is a start in aiding and building men to be better, more effective leaders in the future.
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