A picture from the Mr. Haverford Competition last year. Girls should be encouraged to participate in this event. (Colin McCrossan)
A picture from the Mr. Haverford Competition last year. Girls should be encouraged to participate in this event.

Colin McCrossan

Make Mr. Haverford More Inclusive

February 10, 2016

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Every year, come the start of the second semester, excitement grows over the upcoming Mr. Haverford Competition. It is one of the most talked about nights of the year and is arguably the most popular Haverford event, selling out the seats in the auditorium yearly. Yet, for being such an enjoyable event for the student body, only half of the approximately 1,750 students enrolled in grades 9 through 12 are encouraged to participate. While girls have not been explicitly discouraged in the past, they are certainly not overtly encouraged as the assumption exists that they would not have a fair shot.

Girls should be equally encouraged to be creative and funny in the same way that the entire Haverford community encourages and supports the boys.”

Girls have only been able to participate in Mr. Haverford in the past as escorts to the male contestants or as a lesser components in the acts of the male contestants. A precedent has been set for the female escorts to act as only secondary to the main event.  There is pressure to choose the most “attractive” escorts, and many male contestants have encouraged their “girls” to wear tightly fitting dresses or revealing attire. Girls are objectified as images of promiscuity, and they are merely invited by male contestants to help them in their videos, the production, or their live talents, which are usually starred in by other male contestants anyway.

This kind of atmosphere does not allow for the artistic expression of the female body to flourish. They should be equally encouraged to be creative and funny in the same way that the entire Haverford community encourages and supports the boys. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the stereotype that women can’t be funny still persists. Our community should not allow this event to implicitly or explicitly support the persistence of this lie.

Opponents of the idea of opening the event to everyone seem to share two specific fallacies of logic. They propose that instead of trying to be a part of a male-only thing, girls should instead “start their own” and develop a “Ms. Haverford.” Additionally opponents see Mr. Haverford as a long held tradition that would only be ‘ruined’ by allowing female inclusion. Encouraging inclusion will not only start a better tradition, but it will additionally break an archaic defense strategy; just because Mr. Haverford was created with the male population in mind doesn’t mean that notion still has to hold sway in 2016.

There is fear by encouraging everyone to participate that the integrity of the event would lessen and that the name would come into question; would the new winner be called “Mr. Haverford” even if they’re a girl? I think that it would only help to create a new tradition and brand if there was a new name given to the competition and winner. A gender neutral title or competition like “Head of Haverford” or something else brainstormed and voted upon by the student body would solve that issue posed by opponents.

Haverford is not a stranger to allowing for crossing of gender lines.  In terms of gender equality and past practice, the district has seemingly set the precedent that students of all genders are welcome to cross traditional gender lines; the middle school allowed a boy to play girls field hockey as long as he wore the uniform and the football team has, in the past, had a female kicker. In all of those situations it was the talent of the individual, not their gender, that mattered. This is the way that it should be with every situation and the district should continue to follow this line of thinking.

Every student deserves to have his or her four years at Haverford be an enjoyable experience, with the opportunity to take part in any activity they wish, even if that means changing arbitrary rules or traditions.


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27 Responses to “Make Mr. Haverford More Inclusive”

  1. Anonymous on February 10th, 2016 5:41 pm

    I understand the topic of the article and its purpose. However, the factual inaccuracies within the article itself do the competition a disservice. First, escorts are not chosen based off of looks, but rather the female friends of the contestant, along with this there have only been a select few times where an escort outfit was scandalous. Many of the escorts in previous years wore formal dresses during the event so how can they be perceived as “images of promiscuity”?. Furthermore, the thought of changing the name would taint the event, for many years the show has been Mr Haverford because it was set to be a competition amongst males in order to avoid the idea of having a beauty pageant. If females are allowed into the event it will soon become a beauty pageant that the school originally intended it not to become. I understand your thought in that the event should be open to females as well, but some things within society are just not meant for both genders and you will soon have to come to terms with the Mr McCrossan.

  2. Caroline Roberts on February 10th, 2016 7:24 pm

    I find that your response has a few factual inaccuracies. Society is a concept not a set of rules, as is gender. And some people in society do hold the idea that certain genders shouldn’t do certain things. But that idea is oppressive and limiting to many people trying to express themselves as a person. So I don’t think any person should ever settle or just come to terms that they should limit themselves because society said their gender shouldn’t do a certain activity. I will never accept that and neither should my peer Mr. McCrossin who accurately described the flaws of the Mr. Haverford competition.

  3. Kate on February 10th, 2016 8:07 pm

    I understand what you’re trying to say. And while I agree that girls generally didn’t dress scandalously, the point Colin is trying to make is that typically women were relegated to being escorts while the boys were allowed to compete. And by saying that women would force Mr. Haverford to become a beauty pageant, you’re being incredibly condescending and rude to women. Do you think that all that were capable of is looking pretty? Or the only thing we value is looks? Women can be funny. Men can be funny. Mr. Haverford is going to have the same rules and regulations, were just asking people to let girls on on the fun too.

  4. Evan on February 10th, 2016 8:59 pm

    This article makes a good point about gender equality and then disappointingly tarnishes the validity of the argument by including supporting facts that quite simply are not true. Women are not “objectified” in any way throughout the process of Mr. Haverford. The girls who are chosen to participate not only play a huge role in the night as a whole (helping with escorts, videos, and talents), but are also all more than willing to help, making the statement that “only half the student population at Haverford is encouraged to participate” false. In the same way that the male population is okay with accepting their role as coaches during homecoming powder puff game, there is nothing wrong with the way women are encouraged to participate in the Mr. Haverford event. That being said, I encourage a progressive attitude and wish any female contestants who choose to compete in the event the best of luck. At the end of the day, Mr. Haverford is meant to be a fun night for everyone, and I would hate to see the true purpose of the event undermined by a small issue like this. And while I disagree with the argument made in the article, I always advocate for the right to express opinions and appreciated and enjoyed reading another point of view.

  5. Dana on February 10th, 2016 11:04 pm

    I agree that maybe girls do play a large part, but at the end of the day, the stars of the show are still the guys. When Colin referred to the fact that only half the student body is “encouraged to participate,” it seemed to me as if he was referring to “participation” as competing in the contest. Both men and women help the contestants with their videos and talents, and last year there was even a male escort. However, in the public facet of the competition, the focus is still on the guys. When referring to the powder puff game: the men “accept” their roles as coaches because the entire football season is all about them playing football! There is only one night a year where the roles are reversed and the guys sit on the sidelines while the girls play. This would only be a realistic comparison if the entire season was structured in that way.

  6. Fam on February 11th, 2016 12:01 am


  7. Gina on February 11th, 2016 8:08 am

    Intelligent response…

  8. Anonymous on February 10th, 2016 8:05 pm

    This is the most ridiculous and female biased article I have ever read. The choice of escorts has nothing to do with looks, it is completely based off friendship. Girls often play pivotal roles in talents, videos, and entrances. This is an embarrassment to the fordian.

  9. Kate H on February 10th, 2016 9:25 pm

    This article is female biased in the sense that it tells the point of view of a female, however I don’t think it’s really unfair to anyone. What’s written is pretty much true. And I agree, some girls do play pivotal roles…for the boys competing. Girls themselves however, are discouraged from the competition. And as for this being a “disgrace” to the Fordian…let me just suggest you never watch the CNN

  10. Heo on February 10th, 2016 8:17 pm

    This is the most inaccurate article I have ever read. The escorts wear prom dresses???? The girls aren’t viewed as “images of promiscuity” either & if you do view them that way, you’re the problem. It’s called mr. haverford for a reason. You don’t see boys trying to join powder puff. Stop making this a thing.

  11. Kate H on February 10th, 2016 9:08 pm

    Boys have football.

  12. Anonymous on February 10th, 2016 9:15 pm

    While the article might not be 100% accurate about the escorts’ dresses, that does not mean it is inaccurate in its entirety. The problem I’ve seen over the past few days with this controversy is just how desperate others are to speak their mind, and when they finally do, they don’t have many arguments supporting why they think this or that. (Mostly because they are shamefully incorrect.) Saying a girl cannot participate “because Mr. Haverford is called Mr. Haverford” is weak, and frankly the least creative reason yet. FURTHERMORE, Powder Puff was created because there is no girls football team.(WHICH is only one night out of the whole year while the football team has obviously an entire season, so it is yet another example of how “separate but equal” is never actually equal…just look up Plessy V. Ferguson because I really don’t believe the people talking about Powder Puff have any idea what that is.) So claiming that boys will just join the powder puff team out of spite and anger is another lame attempt at trying to argue with why this girl can’t just do her thing. I don’t see any reason why this girl would ruin the competition if she does well, and to everyone who is pathetically against this– just don’t vote for her. There is no need for social media bashing or making anyone out to be someone who hates boys when you don’t even know her. And lastly, saying a feminist hates boys makes absolutely no sense because that goes against what feminism IS so take a walk and meditate or something. Leave the poor girl alone and if you don’t agree, just don’t vote for her.

  13. No on February 10th, 2016 9:50 pm

    As a person that’s in favor of the girl running I still find this article to be completely unacceptable. I would gladly sign the petition but when someone needs to lie to gather support is pathetic. Obviously these arguments about boys in powderpuff don’t compare to Mr. Haverford because boys already have football, I see that. What is truly despicable is the fact that an article slandering such an amazing experience (speaking for myself and my entire year) can be submitted. If this article preached a traditionalist view of the pageant Haverford would have none of it. Try interviewing some of the lady participants. Be objective. This is where I shall ask Colin McCrossan to resign from the Fordian or face the consequences of impeachment.

  14. Lea on February 10th, 2016 10:01 pm

    This is an opinion article. If it was placed under “news,” your commentary on objectivity would be vailad; as such, an opinion article is just that: someone’s opinion. I hope you’re joking with the “impeachment” terminology, as I’m sure you realize that this is an elected position in government.

  15. Dana on February 10th, 2016 10:52 pm

    I don’t think that Colin was slandering Mr. Haverford, but rather the archaic gender stereotypes that still exist and may be influencing the student body’s reaction to the fact that a girl wants to participate in this context. No one is saying that Mr. Haverford is a bad thing, just that it’s not automatically going to be ruined by letting a girl compete.

    Also as the comment above me noted, this is not an objective article – it is an opinion. Colin cannot be “impeached” from a position on a school newspaper staff, as he was never voted in. The Fordian thrives on student submissions and content, and this happened to be an opinion article that was written and submitted.

  16. No on February 10th, 2016 10:46 pm

    Obviously I’m joking anout the impeachment. Concerning the objectivity of this article I was referring to nonexistent evidence that the girls are “encouraged” to “wear tightly fitting dresses or revealing attire.” Talk to any of the girls that patricipated as escorts about their experience and I can guarantee you they mention none of this. This article is sex-baiting. It makes the contestants and everyone involved look bad when an article suggests that we pressure them into wearing tight, revealing clothing when in reality the event is a fun experience for both the boys and girls.

  17. Dana on February 10th, 2016 11:14 pm

    I agree that the girls aren’t encouraged to dress in an inappropriate matter. I think that the more important issue to note here is that the girls are mainly encouraged to get involved as accessories to the guys (i.e. escorts or background parts in the videos or talents) instead of as creators of their own humorous content and competitors in the pageant. I also don’t think that this can really qualify as “sex baiting” because at this point, the controversy is literally relating to a potential candidate’s gender. There’s no way to discuss the reactions, both positive and negative, of the student body without discussing the fact that people don’t like the idea of a girl entering into Mr. Haverford.

  18. No on February 10th, 2016 11:27 pm

    Like I said before, I am in favor of girls in Mr. Haverford. The only problem I have is with this article.

  19. Gina on February 11th, 2016 8:14 am

    I agree with Dana. The issue is the implicit discouragement of girls participating as anything other than accessories. I also fully agree that girls were never explicitly told or forced to wear revealing clothing; the reason for them choosing to may be their own decision or may be a larger societal issue than we can tackle here.

  20. Jeb Greenwold on February 10th, 2016 11:18 pm

    But she’s a girl

  21. Kate H on February 10th, 2016 11:47 pm

    Thank you for your input Jeb

  22. Kate H on February 10th, 2016 11:56 pm

    All in all, Julia Mattia is probably one of the funniest people in or school, with or without her lady parts. And she, nor anyone else who wants to run for Mr.Haverford shouldn’t be not allowed to because of their gender. The arguments I’ve heard against allowing women to run have all been either:
    A- sexist
    B- illogical
    C- all of the above
    Women are just as funny as men, and should be given the same opportunity to show their comedic skills.

  23. Litmas Eve on February 10th, 2016 11:58 pm

    Its like President of the United States, girls are allowed to participate but it is frowned upon and they shouldn’t.

  24. anonymous on February 11th, 2016 12:22 am

    Somethings really are OK being gender separate. Mr. Haverford is an event that already reverses gender roles, by adding women to the competition it’s becoming your standard pageant. Women absolutely have just as much ability as men to be funny, but seeing guys care about something so much and trying their best to dance and perform is a major chunk of the charm that makes Mr. Haverford what it is. If girls want an event similar to this, and they can accomplish it with the purpose of entertainment, not exploiting themselves, then I think they should totally go for it. But, Mr. Haverford is an event that is special for the guys and should stay that way.

    Also, if the other comments haven’t gotten through to you yet, your comment about the escorts should be reconsidered because it is completely false. For an article so strongly defending women, who are you to comment on the way they dress as escorts?

  25. Dana on February 11th, 2016 1:15 am

    I too love how Mr. Haverford makes fun of the mindlessness of pageant culture! But by stating that adding girls will turn it into “your standard pageant,” you kind of reinforced the idea that girls can’t be funny in the same way as guys, or that they will suck the fun out of it. If a girl runs for Mr. Haverford, the pageant is not going to suddenly transform into a Miss America-esque beauty competition. It will still be a hilarious night where people can exhibit their hard work on comedic videos and performances – there will just be girls there. If the girls tried to reinvent Mr. Haverford for female candidates, do you think it would be well-attended? I don’t, because we already hold the tradition of one so high. “Separate but equal” usually doesn’t work out so well.

    Also, why are we so charmed by the idea of guys caring and trying to dance, but then when a girl is introduced, it’s suddenly less appealing? Does it relate to the flipped gender roles or is it more that it’s just funny to see guys do things (i.e. synchronized dancing) that they don’t usually do? There’s a whole lot of questions relating to this that we can ask

  26. Gina on February 11th, 2016 8:17 am

    All of this ^^^

  27. anonymous on February 11th, 2016 2:22 pm

    I think it would take a lot of work for girls to prove themselves if they had their own “Ms. Haverford” but if a girl is trying to prove herself in running for Mr. Haverford, then why doesn’t she organize a group that wants to do the same thing? It would be way more amazing and effective if that could be accomplished. When I said “with the purpose of entertainment” I meant if girls put together a show that is just as much about the comedy of it, with out turning it into a beauty thing.

    Also, yes, the charm I mentioned is about guys doing things we don’t see them do typically. I think that is largely why this event is so successful.

    I want to make it clear that women ARE just as funny as anyone else! Because it’s funnier to see a group of guys do a synchronized dance does not mean women aren’t “as funny” at all. Comedy is different for males and females, that doesn’t make either gender less funny.

    I’d like to see an event for girls put together if that is what they want. I think it could be really amazing. But this is Mr. Haverford, and it’s a tradition that belongs to the boys here and I think we should leave it that way.


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