The first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one.
We must not only recognize that misogyny is a problem at Malvern, but more importantly we must also ask ourselves “why?”
“I would never hire a woman.”
“She’s so stuck up she won’t hook up with me…”
“Why is she so pretentious, she obviously looks down her nose at us guys.”
“Dude, girls are actually all so stupid.”
These four quotes are just some of the things I have heard over the course of one day during school. These, not to mention a particularly disgusting retweet of a “Meninist” tweet by a classmate, are just a small sample size of the overall attitude of some of Malvern’s students.
When one steps foot on the grounds of 418 South Warren Avenue, there is one thing we hope they notice above all else. That is the brotherhood of Malvern Prep. More than the academic rigor, athletic prowess, or artistic talents, we hope that they see the close knit community of Friars that we have come to call the brotherhood.
However, has anyone wondered who exactly is a member of the brotherhood? Is it just the students and the alumni who came before them? What about teachers and faculty? Parents?
There is no clear cut answer to this question, and if you asked a hundred Malvernians you may get a hundred different answers.
We must ask ourselves if our beloved brotherhood is exclusive or inclusive. Do we desire to separate ourselves from those we deem less worthy than ourselves? Or perhaps – I hope – we want to create a society of men and women who ground themselves on the moral principles of St. Augustine and the Catholic Church with a desire to better the world by treating all persons with love and respect.
We do not often get to see girls in situations where we are working as equals in an academic or creative setting. There are exceptions, like Malvern Theatre Society, Robotics, and some service activities. But most of these are extracurricular, and so a Friar might spend four years without participating in programs that support constructive co-ed opportunities.
The four years of high school are the largest educational jump in one’s entire academic career. It is when a student makes the jump from a middle schooler to that of a legal adult. Boys become men and girls become women.
When that jump is done in the absence of the opposite sex, members of a brotherhood might develop biased and incorrect opinions about the opposite sex due to lack of exposure.
Education is not just about academics. A vital part of education is exposure to different points of view. This is the same argument used for the diversity initiative. When we exclude certain points of view, ignorance abounds.
One possible, and partial, solution would be to get Malvernians interacting with girls in the classroom. A possible manifestation of this could be to have some classes with students from Villa, either meeting at Malvern or Villa or even at an alternative location (i.e. night classes).
In a student-centered learning environment, where students are leading with their own interests, surely we can find some common academic ground with our sister schools.
But you know what the real solution to this problem is?
The real solution is that we have to man up. We need to recognize that the problem is with ourselves, with a willful acceptance of ignorance. It is on us, Malvern, to change.
Nobody can make us do this. No program can force people to change their minds. We have to see that a real man is not one who inflates himself with excessive and often false pride. A real man is one who lives his life for others, who treats all others with respect and dignity as all children of God deserve.
Think about the women in your life: your mom, your sister, your female teachers. Take an honest look at how you treat them in comparison to other men in your life. Do you treat them with the same levels of respect and dignity?
You interact with these women every day. They provide examples of strength, intelligence, support, and faith. You would not be the man you are without them.
Many of you Friars reading this article are not misogynists. You do not try to step on others to further yourself. You are men of Christ, the consummate Christian Gentlemen.
You true Catholic men, we need you now more than ever. You must take charge of the Brotherhood of Malvern Prep. You must show by your voice, but much more importantly through your actions, that this backwards and knuckle-dragging school of thought is hollow, misguided, and completely without merit.
All children of God deserve to be treated with respect and love. Let’s start acting like it.