Just ask her out. Don’t be so passive. Be a man.
There are plenty of ways to criticize men on campus. But when women are given more opportunities to find wisdom and mentorship at Hillsdale, the critiques start to fall flat — especially in light of Curate.
The second annual Curate conference took place on Jan. 30 in the Searle Center for hundreds of female Hillsdale students. They received advice on cultivating hospitality, building a professional brand, and developing spiritual disciplines. Meanwhile, we men were left outside Searle’s revolving door.
Helping women grow is admirable. From what I’ve heard, the conference is productive and cherished by women on campus. Learning how to lead a prayerful life, navigate stress, and find mentors is vital. But Hillsdale’s male students need this, too.
The silent retreat and “Man Up” sessions on campus attempt to address this need, and their efforts are appreciated. Silent contemplation, however, is not the same as having a speaker pour into listeners about struggles like difficult friendships, sexual temptations, and working hard.
Talking to guys across campus, I find a common consensus that the “manly” conferences the college currently offers only attract and push a specific type of masculinity — the ladder-climbing, five-mile-jog-in-the-mud kind. This only speaks to one sector of Hillsdale men. We need words from a diverse group of males, just like how Curate caters to different female personalities.
Scrolling through the Curate schedule, I counted at least 15 sessions that could be presented to men (We will pass on the “Women’s Health” session, however).
Take “Time Management: Practical Tips for Prioritizing Your Time.” All Hillsdale students, male and female, struggle with procrastination. Even more practical topics that are rarely covered on campus, like how to purchase insurance, establish credit, and save for retirement would be helpful.
Three sessions in the 2021 Curate centered on dating. In the days following the summit, several female friends expressed their wish that men had sat in Plaster Auditorium with them. “It would make things so much easier if men heard these things too,” a friend said to me.
One Curate speaker compared relationships to a dance: women need to step back so men can step forward and lead, she said.
Yet guys were never informed we’re dancing. We’re not even in the same ballroom.
Imparting wisdom on dating to only half the school and setting standards for how men should act, while not giving men the slightest clue on those expectations, is unhelpful and frustrating for both parties.
Beyond dating, there are other areas where men struggle that a conference could address.
Men’s Health Forum, a British charity, reports that men are nearly three times more likely than women to become alcohol dependent and more likely to die from drugs. PsychCentral reports that 70% of men between 18 and 24 visit a pornography site at least once per month. The American Society for Suicide Prevention found that in 2018, “men died by suicide 3.56 times more often than women.”
There is a crisis among men in our world. To make matters worse, society dismisses those who hold to traditional views of masculinity as “toxic males.” Hillsdale needs to counter this and host talks to inspire men before they leave to start careers and families in this antagonistic world.
It’s time for a seminar where men receive help in these tough areas and catch up on the wisdom we’ve missed out on.
Ben Willson is a junior studying politics. He is the City News editor of the Collegian.