My Thoughts on “The Plastics”

 

Former Morehouse Student Diamond Martin Poulin (Photo credit: Vibe.com)

I’m sure you all have read the article “The Mean Girls of Morehouse“.  If not, let me give you a little background, if you don’t want to read it for yourselves.   The author, Aliya S. King, interviewed current and former Morehouse students who felt ostracized because they dressed as women (on campus).  And if you’re even more unfamiliar with the story, Morehouse College, the private HBCU institution for men, inacted a dress code last year that prohibited their students from dressing in women’s clothing.   I’m going to share my thoughts with you on this article.  And I must admit some of my thoughts are shared with one of my linesisters, who shall remain nameless, but whom I will work for when she becomes a university president! 😉

1.  For those of us in the African-American community, we all know what the phrase “Morehouse Man” means.  I have been known to say that I would like to marry a Morehouse Man a time or two in my life.  My question is, how can you want to be a Morehouse Man but dress as a woman?  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?  I understand some of the points made in the article that these gentlemen wanted to attend based on the prestige and history of the university.  But if you have hopes to one day become a woman and take female hormones, why attend this college?  There are plenty of other HBCUs that you could have attended, and even other schools in the AUC.   

2.  Until I read it on Very Smart Brothas, I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that the author pointed out that each man was eating (and even went on to describe how said man was eating) when she began discussing each new interviewee.  Was that really relevant to the story?  I don’t think so.   So if you know Ms. King, or are Ms. King herself, maybe you know why this information was pertinent to the article…because I’m lost.

3.  As my linesister eloquently put on Twitter (I LIVE for her commentary), while not allowing these men to dress as they wish doesn’t sweep homosexuality (in the black community) under the rug, Morehouse does have the right to enact a dress code and certain other rules that may not be able to fly at other institutions of higher learning.  Why?  Because they’re private and do not accept any state funds. 

4.  It’s amazing that 5 or 6 students from a student body of 3,000 can elicit such an uproar from the national media.  Apparently, “The Plastics”, a nickname given to the group by a heterosexual Morehouse student, have garnered some unwanted attention to the college.   Morehouse President Robert Franklin even issued a statement to alumni regarding the article days BEFORE the article was published…and admittedly didn’t read it. 

5.  Why didn’t the author talk to the other 2,900 + students at Morehouse and ask how these men dressing as women distracted them during class?  This article was very one-sided.  I believe great journalism begins with hearing from both sides.  Maybe Ms. King intentionally left them out because she wanted to create this picture of “The Plastics” as the victims.  While I do not agree with the ridiculing of anyone based on their sexual preference, dress, etc. I would have liked to hear what other students thought of the dress code.  And it was pointed out that the other factions of the dress code (no hats, do-rags, saggy pants, etc.) were not enforced.  I do believe all rules should be enforced equally. 

Should Morehouse have instituted this dress code in the first place?  Why is Vibe just now discussing this topic; are they opening an old wound or is this issue on-going?  What do you think of the article?  Are there topics/people that Ms. King should have addressed?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

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3 Comments

  1. I totally agree with your response about this article regarding everything from the choices in the school you decide to attend, to the blatant disregard of the other point of view by the author of the article. As a gay black male that matriculated at an HBCU, I had no problems. Granted, I was not walking around campus with the latest Gangstalicious skort set on, but in my 4 years in undergrad, I felt that I was able to establish friends and people that supported my education and well being. In addition, I think this article could have not only highlighted the “issues” with the policy change regarding the “Plastics” but could have also showed how Morehouse has been able to transform some of these men that attend this institution that needed a little more polishing and molding to build them into the “Morehouse Men” that Elle is dreaming of marrying. So my simple response to the questions posed. Yes… If Morehouse mission is regarding building a specific type of male, the dress code should be have been instituted and adhered to. Next, Vibe is discussing this topic because like MOST of the minority media outlets, they’re late on news delivery and they’re trying to sell magazines. Drama sells in our community (think about RHOA)! Comment regarding the last 2 questions have been answered.

  2. I couldn’t agree or have worded it better Elle. Me being open-minded, I have to think about this from another angle. What if there was a private institution that, although rooted in tradition, wanted to limit personal expression or limit entry based upon some norm….maybe race. This, I would not agree with. HOWEVER, I do not feel that the Morehouse dress code, WHICH DID INCLUDE SAGGING AND WEARING HATS INDOORS, did not take it to such an extreme as discriminating against race, religion, or sexual orientation. Knowing that this is an ALL MALE school, why are you attending with the plan to switch your gender? That’s like getting in line for a roller coaster, knowing that you weigh 300+ pounds. YOU KNOW BETTER BEFOREHAND! Honestly, we could debate this all this issue all day long, but as everyone stated before, this is a private institution with the freedom to set their own rules and regulations regarding student life. And seriously, what was the author’s point in describing with such great detail what and how the gender-bending men were eating. Funny? Yes. But like you, I was lost.

  3. I think casting the plastics aside, or squashing their individuality is not the right way to go. How will the institution reach those that may be most in need of the education and guidance?

    Are we now saying that a man that dresses as a woman can’t be a positive contributor to society?

    three men in dresses and heels wont’ have any effect on Elle marrying a “morehouse man”. You can marry a morehouse man, and still end up w/ an Eddie Long in the end.

    WWJD? WWJS?

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