From Black Voices — Last week, the earth tilted on its axis when Vibe magazine published a piece called‘The Mean Girls of Morehouse.’ The article highlighted a tiny group of Morehouse students who prefer to dress in women’s clothing. Prior to the release of the piece, the president of Morehouse College sent out an outraged letter to his alumni decrying an article that he admitted he had not read.

The Vibe article was precipitated by last year’s controversy over Morehouse’s dress code. Excuse me, the “Appropriate Attire Policy.” The policy was targeted at a tiny minority of students on campus. By tiny, I mean FIVE:

“The dress-wearing ban is aimed at a small part of the private college’s 2,700-member student body,” said Dr. William Bynum, vice president for Student Services.

“We are talking about five students who are living a gay lifestyle that is leading them to dress a way we do not expect in Morehouse men,” he said. (CNN)

Though the policy had 11 “expectations” for students, the one which received the most attention and the one for which all the other expectations were written to disguise, is a ban on wearing clothing usually worn by women such as dresses, tops tunics, purses and pumps. In short, there is no room for androgyny at Morehouse.

Dr. Franklin and his staff remain steadfast in couching the dress code as some type of attempt in molding and shaping students for “leadership ” Leading what? Leading where?

College is a place where you will be confronted by people who look, act and sound different than you do. I remember wearing my collection of scripture-embossed church t-shirts to English 101 only to be confronted by a rabid atheist professor who insisted we call him by his first name, Jim. I’d been raised in a devout Baptist family and had never had anyone contest the existence of God to my face with relish and glee. Every class was a new test in how blasphemous Jim could be. We fought the entire semester and I got an “A.” and Jim ended up being one of my favorite instructors.

If you do it right, the people you meet in college transform your life and add a layer of richness you otherwise would have been denied. In managing these relationships with people who are different than you, you begin to deal with people on an individual basis and form conclusions based on character and not geography, gender, race, national origin, or yes, sexuality. And of course, this tolerance for differences prepared you for the work world in which you will encounter these differences and be forced to harness them for creative production.

(Continue Reading @ Black Voices…)

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  • S.

    What’s next? Suing their jobs for ‘dress discrimination’ because they can’t where “dresses, purses and pumps” to work?

    Higher Education is about preparing one for for the Career world, not “the Real World”.

    And is it really “discrimination” if the dress code applies to ALL?

    • Dizzy

      As a student of spelman colleger i feel the need to speak up. First in todays society where african americans are still scrutinized in the real world morehouse is trying to teach these men to wake up. It’s not androgyny that they are against it’s to teach them to be professional, leaders in there given fields. Leading the black community. or Leading period. While we have made strides in our community with race relations we are still looked at with a magnifying glass. if a white woman is in the grocery store in house shoes she just ran out of the house. If a black woman is in the same store with the same house shoes on she is considered ghetto. If a white male college student is in the grocery store with basketball shorts and jordan slides on he plays sports, but if a black student has the same outfit on he is considered a thug. Morehouse is the only institution that graduates ONLY black males. they have consistently graduated a consistent quality, and to continue to do so they have to stay up with the times and apart of that is to address the image of their students.

    • S.

      *wear*… sorry

    • lisa

      I think you’re an idiot.

  • Jencendiary

    You can excuse it any way you want. This is the usual homophobia we’ve come to expect from certain corners.

    • Lady Bella

      It’s easy to cry homophobia except Morehouse has a huge gay population and their gay association on campus actually supports the new dresscode rule. Morehouse isn’t trying to stifle their gay students, but they’re trying to uphold their school’s image as a bastion of graduating dignified young black men who are to become movers and shakers in the world. Call it trying to conform to corporate (to many, this equals white) America’s view of success, but it is what it is.

    • Ms.Megs

      Even if these young men aren’t allowed to wear dresses, they’re still gay. Morehouse knows that. It’s a private institution and they can prevent certain distractions on their campus. A grown man wearing a dress, pumps and a purse is a distraction. When they graduate, they’re employer will have a dress code for men that DOES NOT include dresses.

  • love.akila

    Isn’t Morehouse a private school? So just like any other privately -held institution (see: Brigham Young, or any old Ivy League school), they reserve the right to maintain the atmosphere that they wish… The image of the “Morehouse man” is that institution’s vision of what manhood is, and they have a right to maintain that. I’m sure there are other, more liberal schools that would be more than happy to accommodate their dress. However, Morehouse (or any other school) should be allowed to carry on the tradition of principles upon which it was founded — this isn’t homophobic. It has nothing to do with being gay. Thousands of gay men have graduated from Morehouse