Stop the patriarchal pageantry! It’s time for a Ms. Colby

After attending my third Mr. Colby and watching my homie Chy Ward win first place, I started mulling over a question: Why don’t we have a female version of Mr. Colby? Shouldn’t we all want some form of parity in terms of celebrating individuals on campus? I asked my girlfriend about the idea of a “Ms. Colby” event-competition and she immediately scowled at me. “I think it would basically devolve into a competition centered on who has the best body.” “A pageant?,” I asked. “Maybe,” she replied. However, for some reason, I don’t think Colby women would be interested in taking part in a pageant-like event; it doesn’t seem to comport with the values Colby women uphold. In fact, I think some of the contestants would overly satirize the pageant theme in their get-ups in the same way the males do. But still, I struggle to construct the mental contours of what a Ms. Colby event would look like.

Would it be a event that allows Colby women to display powerful parts of who they are? If we consider that question, I think we might also start to consider the feminist and gender implications of a “Ms. Colby”—if there would be any.

Nevertheless, after talking to several of my male friends about this idea, they gave me explanations that spoke to what I thought was true all along.  All of them agreed that such an event would be sexist, objectifying and superficial. I’m totally in agreement with all of those explanations, and I understand why they feel that way.

Yet, these conclusions bring me to another profound question: can Colby not hold a “Ms. Colby” pageant devoid of sexism and objectification? Moreover, why are we celebrating our men and not our women? My male peers immediately provided me cogent answers to both of these questions.

Essentially, they said Mr. Colby at its core is a satirical quasi-competition in which Colby males vie for the top spot by displaying charm and humor, but also by engaging in pageant-like activities that make for awesome irony.  In other words, Mr. Colby is all fun and not meant to be serious. If women participated in a hypothetical “Ms. Colby,” we’d all run the risk of treating and evaluating Colby women in the same ways our larger society does. Thus, the implication I am left with is that the competition would be too serious an undertaking for women and would leave no room for fun.

That’s slightly enlightening and sad. What’s more, I actually tried to pose this question to a number of my female peers and only one responded, yet several of male peers gave me objective, incisive information about this topic. What does this all say? To me it means that men and women on this campus don’t believe that a female version of Mr. Colby is viable because it would be almost impossible to excise the sexist and objectifying influences.

Granted, we have many, many—supremely more important and significant—platforms on which Colby women showcase themselves in personal and powerful ways.

Still, having a Mr. Colby competition for male seniors and not a similar event for our female seniors doesn’t sit right with me.

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