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The Final Straw for Final Clubs

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The Final Straw for Final Clubs Photo

by Emma Glassman-Hughes | 04/14/2016

Upon reading this week’s story about tantrums thrown by some of Harvard’s all-male final clubs when confronted with the possibility of integrating women into their spaces, I had to laugh. I had to laugh partly for survival purposes (to distract me from crying, imploding, etc) and partly because it’s always so silly when ‘logic’ this flawed is produced by thinkers from what is supposed to be one of the most prestigious schools in the world. The argument goes like this: forcing men to allow women into their historically masculine dominions will hurt women more than help them because men will be more tempted to sexually assault these women who so boldly invade their spaces. We hear ya, final clubs of Harvard: if clubs are desegregated and a female member is subsequently sexually assaulted by a male peer, the response of the club would simply be “welp, what did we tell ya?” instead of “damn, we’re kind of a messed up bunch of bros, maybe we should rethink the way we treat women.” Even if it’s true that opening clubs to women--thereby ending the centuries-long reign of male-dominated social culture--would increase risk of sexual assault (newsflash: the risk is real high anyway), the impulse needs to then be to focus on making these spaces safe for women by teaching men that it’s not ok to rape. It’s disastrous that organizations like these that are specially for men have flown entirely under that radar. And if integrating women into the clubs will lead to consent/treating-fellow-humans-with-respect education, then it’s high time we did that, dontcha think?? I’m gonna go ahead and say that one truly needs to reevaluate one’s priorities when upholding tradition (and really, what tradition are you upholding? A tradition of violence? Of exclusion? Of intimidation? Of dominance at the expense of integrity?) takes precedence over making one’s campus an inhabitable space for female peers.

The Social Network, Columbia Pictures

BUT, back to that laughing thing.

As a gift to my friends of the final clubs at Harvard, here are some alternative headlines that I think more accurately capture the essence of your reactions to admitting women into your social clubs:

  1. Harvard Alum Pees On Steps of Old Final Club, Marks Territory to Assert Dominance

  2. In What Appears To Be Romantic Gesture, Harvard Alum Gets Down on One Knee, Asks Final Club to Marry Him

  3. Harvard Addresses Campus Sexual Assault, Asks Women to Wear Potato Sacks Instead of Graduation Robes (or, alternatively: Harvard Addresses Campus Sexual Assault, Asks Women to Leave Room For Safety)

  4. Local Man Mansplains Rape Culture From Underground Bunker, Wary of Women’s “Voodoo Magic”

  5. Harvard Final Club Proclaims, “I’m Just A Nice Guy”

  6. Harvard Final Clubs Admit Women; Male Members Buy Matching Period Underwear, Gossip About Zayn, Nail Polish  

  7. Toxic Femininity Jeopardizes Integrity of Harvard Final Clubs With Threats of Progress

  8. Harvard Senior Sent to Time-Out After He Claimed “Boys Rule, Girls Drool” in Interview

  9. Harvard Introduces New Freshman Courses, “Victim Blaming 101” Most Popular Among Incoming Men

  10. Harvard Man “Allergic to Progress,” Sits Next to Woman, Evaporates Into Thin Air

  11. New Harvard Social Group “Not All Men Club” To Be Most Exclusive Final Club on Campus

  12. New Study Shows Masculinity as Fragile as Porcellian

~****Put that on your college app and smoke it.***~

by Emma Glassman-Hughes

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