***Editor’s Note: This article was published as part of the satirical April 1, 2015 issue.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a lecture on achieving the ideal state of manliness at Alumnae Hall on the evening of Mar. 31. Hordes of Wellesley students gazed agape at Putin while frantically scribbling on legal pads, attempting to discover manliness in all its dimensions and apply macho principles to the real world. They were flanked by Wellesley faculty and staff who hoisted convincing looks of indifference on their faces while silently pining over their inability to meet Putin’s high macho standards, which are universally regarded as conducive to success.
Putin began by addressing the lack of manliness in the Wellesley student body.
“Let’s get down to business. You’re the saddest bunch I ever met, but you can bet that before we’re through, I’ll make a man out of you,” Putin declared, randomly pointing at a mousy-haired Wellesley first-year in the second row.
The Russian president next addressed the key question of what constitutes manliness, gesturing to a PowerPoint picture of Li Shang, the dashing general from the 1998 film Mulan.
“We must be swift as the coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon!” Putin trumpeted.
“I swear I’ve heard those words somewhere before,” the mousy-haired freshman whispered to her friend, cheeks still aflame from her diagnosed lack of manliness. Her companion, a senior, raised her eyebrows at her in disbelief and scooted away from her.
Putin continued by tying Li Shang’s manly prowess to the real world. After telling the audience the undeniable fact that 96 percent of CEO positions in top companies are held by men and showing the direct relationship between macho level and career success, he made a confession.
“I didn’t become as manly as Li Shang overnight,” Putin admitted to screams of shock from the audience, many of whom were wearing Pouting for Putin shirts sold by the Russian Department.
Putin withdrew the New York Times bestseller “48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene from his briefcase, brandishing the orange and blue volume in the faces of an aghast audience. He summarized his meteoric rise to the Russian presidency, starting with his appointment to Prime Minister by Boris Yeltsin. Initially, only four percent of Russians wanted to elect him president because of his previous anonymity on the national stage. With the aid of this Western book, Putin was able to become one of the most popular leaders in Russian history and is likely to be re-elected President in 2018.
“The 48 Laws of Power made me rise above the ashes of anonymity and enabled me to erect a massive personal empire and become the richest man in Europe. By creating a veneer of trustworthiness and exploiting others without their knowledge, I was able to capitalize on their naivety while making great political and financial gains,” Putin declared to raucous cheers.
Putin continued by stressing the value of vision and perception in projecting a quintessentially manly version of yourself to the world. After discussing his many macho stunts, from leading a flock of white cranes home in a wingsuit to riding horses shirtless in Siberia to bear hunting, Putin talked about the intersectionality of politics and machology.
“Beginning with the Second Chechen War through the Georgian War into my country’s annexation of Crimea, I successfully utilized my world-famous ‘Screw You Policy,’ which can be succinctly summarized as a middle finger pointed at anyone who disagrees with me. Through this policy, Russia has been able to regain her footing as a force to be reckoned with in the world and a thorn in the United States’ side,” Putin elaborated, showing a GIF of him stealing a samovar from under U.S. President Barack Obama’s nose during their 2013 meeting.
Putin concluded by showing the audience one of his trademark shirtless pictures, harkening to the capitalist concept of personal branding and its applications to machology and gaining clout in the real world. Putin asserted that while packaging is an important component of projecting manliness and power, the narrative vision always comes first.
“Look beyond my finely chiseled quadriceps and well-formed abdominal muscles. Such features, while desirable, do not constitute manliness. But when you combine an enviable body with explosive rhetoric and an overarching vision, you forge power and can use it to achieve your nefarious aims,” Putin concluded to a standing ovation.
The audience unanimously expressed their great satisfaction with the lecture.
“President Putin broke barriers today with his insightful lecture on using manliness as a tool to gaining power in the real world,” Wilma Park ’18 exclaimed.
“I came to Wellesley to become a woman. I leave here a liberated man thanks to Mr. Putin,” Katherine White ’15 declared.
“Putin showed us the continued vitality of the patriarchy even in the midst of the uncertainties of the 21st century,” Women’s and Gender Studies Professor Walter Waters agreed.
While Pravda.ru, the main Russian news outlet, insists that 10,000 people attended the event, Wellesley asserts that this is impossible since Alumnae Hall’s capacity seats only 1,000.
Photo courtesy of Huffington Post
Danni Ondraskova ’18 is the News Editor who plans to major in Russian Area Studies and International Relations with a concentration in politics or economics. She loves rereading Anna Karenina and listening to Romanian House music. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.