If you are a double major in Classical Languages and English Literature at the University of Wyoming, you are saddled with a required diversity class on “literature by and about women, not men.” The course that Marine Lance Corporal Aaron Graham wants to transfer, my Literature By and About Men class, thus does not meet the Cowboys’ standards for diversity. Remarkably, Wyoming describes itself as a “welcoming community.” Welcome, Lance Corporal, to institutionalized sexism in academia where men cannot be studied, only opposed; men cannot be analyzed, only condemned; men cannot be understood, only mocked and despised.
Wyoming is no maverick. I had a fight just getting my course approved. The University of California bridled at accepting a course about men and uniquely male experience. That’s understandable because anyone raised on Family Guy, The Simpsons, American Dad, beer commercials, sitcoms, gender feminism, and the glut of misandristic Hollywood films (misandristic appears not even to be a word in most dictionaries) naturally thinks that males must be roped, tied, and broken of their stupid, pathetic, and predatory ways.
Aaron, however, read serious literature by David Lloyd, Faulkner, Sam Shepard (“The Real Gabby Hayes”), Amy Clampitt, Philip Larkin, Christina Hoff Summers, Hemingway, Camille Paglia, Harry Crews, Steven Pinker, Homer, Harvey Mansfield, Isaac Clemens, Leonard Gardner, Thomas van Nortwick, Robert Hayden, James Dickey, Leonard Sax, Vergil, Harvey Swados, Tennyson, Joan Didion (“John Wayne: A Love Song”), et al. Aaron viewed Seven Samurai, Ghost Dog, Deliverance, Fight Club, and "I am the Lord thy God . . .” from Decalogue. Aaron studied lessons about “Boys,” “Fathers,” “Sons,” “Men and War,” “Male Codes,” “The Man of Letters,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Manly Aging, Manly Death.”
Too bad, pardner! Those readings, those films, those topics are not worthy of study at the University of Wyoming because Wyoming has an agenda: “. . . women, not men.” This is not welcoming, not inclusive, and not education; it’s galloping gender discrimination.
The same day I heard of Aaron’s dilemma, I also heard of a new academic direction for men: male studies. As one of my gender feminist colleagues frequently asserts: “Equity must be addressed!” How right she is. Cowboy up, Wyoming—time to plant this locoweed up on Boot Hill.