While reading Bethany Biron’s latest article in The Statement, one issue seemed particularly absent. Where are the men in this story?
Admittedly, I subscribed to this so-called “Hook-up Culture.” As an underclassman, if you found me out on a Saturday night, I’d be the one holding a Gatorade bottle full of vodka coming home drunk and trying to remember the name of the girl that I just made out with. I slept with four different women during my first three years on campus and rarely made the claim that any of them were my “girlfriend." I bought in to all of the hype, but did so without ever reading the fine print. I wasn’t ever told that I would cause a young girl to cry her heart out in front of me while feeling completely numb myself. The world kindly left out the deep emptiness I could always feel the morning after, the same feeling that I’d just pretend wasn’t there. There was no mention of the walk up to a pharmacy counter hoping for the best, but fearing my luck had come to an end. This is the reality that comes with the bright lights and shining glory of “hooking up."
I’ve been there. I’ve experienced that life and I know how it feels. Having been through it all, it pains me to hear women on campus resigning to that lifestyle or even choosing it. But, at the same time, I can’t blame them. Take a look around campus and it’s hard to find any real men. Sure, they do exist, but they’re all hidden behind the swath of boys equipped with a few pick-up lines and a fifth of liquor. So, my beef is with the boys on campus. My issue is with the boy I once was, the one I constantly fight against becoming again.
Where are the real men while this is happening to women? What are we up to while girls are pushed to look for fulfillment shot by shot, wearing barely more than a bathing suit? Sure, we can claim that it’s not all our fault. Popular media tells us that using women and putting notches on our bedposts make us real men. It's no longer honorable for men to consider women precious and something to be honored and cherished rather than possessed and used. Commitment is for fools and old-fashioned folks. Who needs commitment when we can have it little by little each weekend? Are we so void of hope for a consistent love that we’ll settle for scraps from the table?
Men, the women on campus are all vulnerable. They’re away from their homes and families and are now in our care. So far we’ve done nothing but put them in harm’s way and exploit them. It’s time to take a stand and become real men. What will happen when this college life is over? Will we continue chasing women for sex? Excuses like, “I’ll stop once I settle down and have a family” are all too familiar. Do you really think that all of a sudden we can change our hearts? What’s next … we’re so attached that we look at pornography with actors our daughter’s age, or we leave our families and wives for younger models? Carrying this mentality only results in broken families and more fathers who aren’t man enough to show their daughters how treasured and incredibly important they are. Let’s become the men that we want to be in the future.
Men, think 10 or 15 years ahead when a young girl will capture your heart and look up to you as her hero, the only man in her life who will ever matter. This little girl will look you in the eyes and call you “Daddy." You will do everything in your power to protect this little precious heart from anything that may threaten it. Each woman on this campus is someone’s princess. Sadly, not all of the young women on campus grew up in a home with parents to look up to. It’s likely that some of them do have a father, but one who might have been absent or even abusive. In this case, we all have the opportunity to be real men. The opportunity is there to show her what it means to be a man of strength, integrity, compassion and conviction.
Women in current culture are becoming more independent and empowered. As women continue to work hard for degrees and careers, it becomes increasingly difficult to consider the idea of marriage. This difficulty is greater when finding a good man means having to sift through all of the boys who prowl around campus. Where will they find security, support and comfort? Are there any men who will commit themselves to providing these things for a woman? Without real men to stand up and take on this responsibility, our women are left to find their fulfillment here and there, but ultimately left objectified and used.
Girls, each of you is amazing and worthwhile. Each of you deserves to be treated with love and respect from the men around you. There are true men in the world, even on campus. College certainly doesn’t have to be a place to find a husband, but you can still surround yourself with friends who cherish your heart. If you’re looking for a relationship, find someone who will protect you. If you’re going out with the girls, wear something that forces a man to get to know your heart and not just your body. You're treasured and there's a man who will call you his princess, who will protect you and keep you safe. Don’t settle for anything less. Beauty will fade, but the desires of the heart last a lifetime and can only be fulfilled by the same kind of lifetime commitment.
Jeffrey McMahon is a School of Engineering senior.