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‘Good Men,’ ‘Clip Art’ Two Bad Choices

I am writing to express my frustration and dismay at editorial choices made in the April 11 issue of The Tech. On page five I came across an article entitled “Looking for a Few Good Men,” encouraging MIT students to join faculty and administrative committees. On the opposite page was a cartoon (“Fun with Clip Art”) in which a young woman describes her prefrosh weekend at MIT by saying, “I got so wasted that I puked twice and slept with an entire frat!” Each of these items enforced a position and an image of women that many people have fought very hard to dispel.

More importantly, these two items also made me feel very uncomfortable as a woman in a male-dominated society. As the main student newspaper, The Tech has a responsibility to create a comfortable environment for all students at MIT. I therefore feel that the decision to print these two items was irresponsible on the part of The Tech.

In reference to “Looking for a Few Good Men,” I understand that the author had originally titled it “Looking for a Few Good Men and Women.” The printed title causes the article to seem like a personal invitation to men to join these important, decision-making committees. In addition, the fact that The Tech revoked the invitation to women by dropping them from the title of the article made me feel even more excluded. I would have hoped that the people at the editorial level of a newspaper as influential as The Tech would have realized that “men” is not a gender neutral term.

In reference to “Fun with Clip Art,” I realize that the cartoon was intended to make fun of the administration. However, I feel it raised side issues that should have been considered more seriously before running the cartoon. The line “I got so wasted that I puked twice and slept with an entire frat” causes an unpleasant image to come into the reader’s mind, an image involving a group of men taking advantage of a drunk, 17-year-old girl. This image unravels the work of all the men and women who have tried to make MIT a more inviting place for women. I acknowledge that “editorial cartoons are written by individuals and represent the opinion of the author, not necessarily that of the newspaper.” But I argue that The Tech should feel a social responsibility to create a comfortable environment for all its students; The Tech must remember that the image it portrays of MIT influences the images of its readers.

To create a balanced society, the media leaders of that society must present a world where both men and women feel equally welcome. I hope that The Tech keeps this point in mind in the future.

Christine Alvarado G