Men’s Studies

Freshmen at Swarthmore College found in their mailboxes a course packet describing the "Men's Studies" department. Courses included:
MENS 001. ESPN and Sportswriting
Students will analyze the language conventions used in the analysis of sports. Readings and texts will include ESPN’s SportsCenter, Sports Illustrated, and the sports sections of various newspapers.

MENS 025. Study a Broad
An in-depth appreciation of women in our lives. Each week, a different woman from television, movies, or other media will be discussed. Due to instructor scheduling, this course may be taught by a different professor each week.


MENS 132. Vodka
An advanced seminar for students who wish to continue their studies of male nutrition at the honors level. Emphasis will be placed on consumption techniques and avoidance of deleterious health effects.
Of course, there is no Men's Studies department at Swarthmore. It was a prank dreamed up by some upperclassmen. I'm not sure how many colleges still have Women's Studies departments. I think most places are now calling it Gender Studies.

No one at Swarthmore seemed at all offended by the prank, though reportedly the Russian Department complained that the 'Vodka' seminar was not cross-listed.


Posted on Wed Sep 12, 2007


No one was offended?! There are enough people out there who are professional-level offended at anything that I am sure at least one is at Swarthmore. Now that word is out, I am sure protests are in the works about this "degredation of woman's studies" or other such crap. About five or six years ago I saw a comic strip published in the University of Arizona student newspaper where one of the characters stood up at a diversity rally and complained that as a student of (seven or eight ethnic groups listed as one hyphenated word) he felt underrepresentated on the student council or whatever it was. The author was forced to appologize for insulting the valid efforts of students to find and celebrate their heritage.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  11:37 AM
Long ago, I took a class my college offered in Men's Studies. I took it as an elective, but oddly enough, many of my classmates were women fulfilling one of the requirements for the Women's Studies major (or was it a minor)? I knew many female students who majored in study of men, but generally not as an academic discipline, although many of them eventually earned their MRS degrees.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  05:13 PM
This isn't paticularly funny. I'd more say horrifically sexist.
Posted by Ozymandias  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  05:58 PM
I have to agree it's sexist, and not really that funny. Just a very tired old joke masquerading as satire.
Posted by Nona  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  06:41 AM
Being a woman myself, I am not at all offended, I think it's quite humorus - however, I don't see why there isn't a true subject on men anyhow. Obviously not with course descriptions like these, but with real academic value. Anyhow, I wish I could get my hands on one of those mailers, it would be awesome to have.
Posted by Sarah A.  on  Fri Sep 14, 2007  at  05:57 PM
Sarah, I wasn't kidding, my college did have serious Men's Studies classes. I don't know if it still does; I haven't looked at the course catalog for many years.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Sat Sep 15, 2007  at  11:36 AM
There was an effort in the late 70s, I believe, to start a men's movement that would parallel the women's movement. The idea, as far as I understand, is that men are also negatively affected by restrictive gender roles and should work against them as well. The negative effects of restrictive gender roles on men, though, aren't as obvious as the negative effects on women, so the movement kind of fizzled out.
Posted by Natalie  on  Tue Oct 09, 2007  at  07:08 PM
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