I recently covered a piece for The College Fix about the topic of masculinity. The APA deemed the trait harmful so I reached out to many universities for quotes from their Men’s Centers simply wanting to know what they thought of the decision. Most refused to be quoted. It baffled me why these Men’s Centers would not want to talk about it. If you are a part of a center that largely fights against the idea of masculinity, and it is deemed harmful by a major organization, one would think that would be a win worth celebrating and talking about.
There is, however, a group celebrating men right now. But not in the way most Men’s Centers do. The Network of Enlightened Women (NeW) doesn’t view masculinity negatively. They are proud of what makes men different from women and don’t try to take it away. In fact, they celebrate all the wonderful things about women and men.
Started in 2004 by Karin Lips at the University of Virginia, NeW seeks to combat the narrative that all women are radical feminists, provide education on what is going on in the world and how to gracefully defend one’s beliefs, and fight the idea that women are victims. They believe that men deserve equality and respect just as much as women do.
While some members do classify as feminists, they identify with the original kind—one that seeks to truly empower women. You won’t catch them marching for progressive women’s rights or tearing down men. In fact, these women seek to do the exact opposite. The women at NeW celebrate men.
Since 2010, women have had the chance to nominate the outstanding men in their life in The Gentlemen Showcase. Hosted by NeW, this contest celebrates chivalry, kindness and respect. Though the term has recently had a negative connotation attached to it due to the APA deeming it harmful and the Gillette commercial fighting the idea, these women also welcome the idea of traditional masculinity.
NeW states, “Despite what you may have read in the news lately, many young men are polite, act with integrity, and treat everyone with the respect they deserve. These men of integrity rise above the trending misconception that all men are predators. They stand by their values, fight for good in their communities, seek social justice, and advocate for positive change. We want to honor these young men-and encourage more of them.”
Men compete throughout the month of February in the “College Contest” for undergraduates and the “Under 30 Contest” that includes graduate students and young professionals. The winner from each category is given a $1,000 donation for the charity of the gentleman’s choice and a prize from one of the sponsors.
As a member of NeW and someone who adores the idea of chivalry and masculinity, I nominated two of the most chivalrous men I know—my brother and my cousin. Though they are family, I would still nominate them if they were not. They are two of the kindest, most chivalrous and most manly men I know. They are both conservatives and treat women with the upmost respect. They have shown me what real manliness looks like and it isn’t backing down in the face of adversity or catcalling women. No, they have shown me that a man will appreciate all of who I am, not just by my appearance and that even if you stand alone, your voice still matters.
They have proven that if I am ever in trouble, they will be the first to my defense. They stand up for the rights of the unborn and know how to disagree with someone without arguing with them. They have taught me how to back up what I believe and stand firm in it. My brother constantly challenges the ideas brought by the liberal agenda and points out the flaws in the argument. Despite being called names and having ad hominin arguments thrown his way many times, he responds with facts instead of stooping to the level of the attacker and responding the same way as them. My cousin, a student at Harvard College co-published a piece in the Harvard Political Review about how few conservatives there are at Harvard and exposing the lack of political diversity at the school.
So, if you’re a believer in chivalry, respect and equality, join me and head to The Gentlemen Showcase website, cast your vote, and celebrate the gentlemen in the world. They haven’t gone extinct yet, and if NeW can help it, they never will. NeW is making sure the world knows that not all men are in the wrong, in fact, most of them are downright great. Masculinity and all.
This piece is written by Brittany Slaughter from Liberty University for the Network of enlightened Women.