Opinion: Mr. McHenry needs to be more inclusive

Mr. McHenry is a time honored tradition at MCHS, but the event could use a modern touch up in order to include non-male students in the festivities


Carly Byer

Though Mr. McHenry is a tradition for senior boys like this years winner, KJ Keyfauver, the event should be opened to non-male students as well.

Kennedy Tetour, Managing Editor

The admiration for the Mr. McHenry pageant is well deserved, but the event unnecessarily and intentionally excludes many non-male students. 

Mr. McHenry is a satirical pageant that MCHS hosts each spring. The pageant has been a tradition for senior boys for years, allowing them to express their creativity and comedic skills in a battle for the title of Mr. McHenry, along with two free prom tickets. 

Although Mr. McHenry has historically been for boys only, rumors spread that this year’s pageant would open its doors to non-male participants. Many students were excited for the new opportunity, only for it to be revoked before the event. 

Whether it’s intentional or not, keeping the pageant open to only male students excludes female students, along with students who may not identify as male or female. Closing off the event to only male students also forces other students to miss out on the opportunity to win free prom tickets, which cost $110 each this year. 

In addition to the exclusion of non-male students as participants in the pageant, even MCs of the event are typically all male. This year, the event was hosted by three male students with only one female announcer. Cooper Ten Bruin took hold of the questions portion of the event, which only gave her about five minutes of stage time, which is simply unfair compared to the amount of time the male MCs get to spend on stage. 

The only female students that do participate in the event are the “escorts”. These girls are essentially only on stage to stand there and look pretty next to the boys. This role is an outdated and unnecessary job that objectifies female students, pushes outdated gender stereotypes, and wastes the talents of female students who could otherwise be competing alongside the boys. 

Though some people feel strongly that only male students should participate in the pageant, partially because of the title “Mr.” McHenry, not all students identify as male or female. Closing off the event to all non-male students excludes more than just the girls, it also excludes any students who don’t identify as any particular gender. Gender identity and expression isn’t always black and white anymore, meaning that non-male students may still be interested in competing for the title of “Mr.” McHenry. 

Mr. McHenry is a time honored tradition for MCHS. The event is one that students look forward to every year, so it’s hardly fair to exclude non-male students from the event, especially in a time where gender identity and expression has changed so drastically. In addition, only allowing female students to participate from the background pushes outdated stereotypes. Mr. McHenry should be open to all students, allowing everyone to compete for the title.