This is a time when turnabout absolutely is fair play.
In 2003, the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center at Kansas University was inspired to start its Women of Distinction calendar, at least in part as a response to the Women of KU, which featured scantily clad KU students. The Women of Distinction calendar was published as a poster honoring female students, faculty and staff members at KU who have made notable contributions to KU and/or their academic field.
It was such a good idea, that a KU football player thought KU men should get into the act. The women’s center agreed and now is sponsoring the new “Men of Merit” calendar, which will feature outstanding KU men who can serve as role models for others. The people featured on both calendars are selected by special committees through a nomination process.
The idea for the men’s calendar came from Gary Green, a KU football player who plans to graduate in May, attend seminary and pursue a career in the ministry. He liked the idea that the existing calendar recognized “women who are actually trying to do something positive in the community.” Although many men also are making contributions, he said, and their efforts shouldn’t be overlooked.
The calendar also is a way to challenge the traditional view of masculinity, he said, and recognize men who aren’t afraid to take a leadership role. “We put a tag on what masculinity is,” Green said. “And it’s completely wrong in some cases.”
The women who spearheaded the Women of Distinction calendar felt much the same way about the female stereotypes connected with the Women of KU calendar. As Green noted, doing “something positive in the community” isn’t a feminine or masculine value; it’s what all of us should emulate and celebrate. It’s great that the new Men of Merit will do just that.