Hey ladies! The brawny and bawdy “Mr. Harvard Freshman Contest” has snuck up on us again. If only it hadn’t. The contest, run by Freeze College Magazine, seems something of a twisted take on the women’s lib movement of our mothers’ college days. Ivy League ladies may not peg themselves as high-priced steak for the delight of their male classmates—at least, not in this context! But for the third year in a row, Harvard guys have stepped up to put themselves on the menu.
It might make Betty Friedan roll in her grave, but women are still the object of a lot of Ivy League eyeballing. At Yale, Rumpus magazine still churns out its 50 Most Beautiful People every year. There isn’t quite the enlightened thirtieth-wave feminism that seems to flourish at Harvard. Women and men are fetishized just the same.
But things like Rumpus’s list seem more passive. These Harvard Mr. Americas are actively soliciting their reader’s love. Or at least their attention. Be careful, though, gents: you’re part of a long Harvard-man tradition of preening for the ladies. This either leads to the career of Keith Gessen or a more revealing sort of publicity.