No doubt concerned about how few leadership opportunities there are for men these days, University of Chicago student Steve Saltarelli (pictured) has started a campus organization called Men in Power.
Supporters say a men's group is especially necessary now, with more men than women losing their jobs in the recession, and more women than men earning BAs. Warren Farrell, author of The Myth of Male Power, says a group helping men is not antifeminist. He tells the Chicago Tribune: "It's like saying 'is it OK for the Yankees to keep recruiting new players because the Chicago Cubs have not won as often?' "
I'm not sure I like the idea of the Cubs representing women (I prefer the Cardinals), but casting men as the Yankees — a team with a huge budget that makes more money and has more titles than any other team — seems pretty apt. Fred Hayward, founder of Men's Rights Inc., has a different take. He says men need groups because "women have not paid enough attention to what it means to be a man in modern society," and because men are bad at helping each other out. "We are competing directly for access to women and jobs," he says.
If I never hear the phrase "access to women" again it will be too soon — anyone who thinks of women as a resource to be accessed is not someone whose views on "what it means to be a man" are worth listening to. The problems men face in a recession are real and worthy of attention, but people who see these problems as part of a larger trend of oppression against men need to take a look at the wage gap, the number of women in Congress, or, you know, a newspaper.
Men in Power founder Saltarelli says his organization is for "anyone with an interest in both studying and learning from men in powerful positions, as well as issues involved with reverse sexism." Anytime "reverse" comes before anything but "cowgirl," there's a good chance someone from an already-powerful group is complaining about less-powerful groups encroaching on his turf, and that certainly seems like what's going on here. What may look like "reverse sexism" to people like Saltarelli, Farrell, and Hayward — Farrell cites, for instance, "an imbalance in government and private initiatives that advance the interests of women and girls" — looks to the rest of us like an attempt to redress ancient wrongs that have a long way to go before they're corrected. Men, in case Saltarelli hasn't noticed, have already been in Power for a long time.