Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Misogyny Alive and Well in America

I did a quick rundown of a few news stories that crossed my Twitter feed in the past few days and am appalled at how badly men in this country feel like they can treat women.

First, we have Brett Favre and his junk.  It's bad enough that an iconic sportsman like Favre would pursue an adulterous affair.  It's bad, but not surprising.  Athletes, celebrities, politicians, religious leaders, and probably a third to half of the married men you know are trying to get with someone they are not supposed to.  I'm not sure how many of them actually sent unwanted pictures of their genitals to someone who is clearly not interested, but I know Favre did just that.  That's no the worst of it, though.  Check out The Daddy Files for another take on Favre and the media's misrepresentation of the woman in question.  He's not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination, and his misconceptions about workplace harassment and the feminist movement in general are a little off-putting, but his take on the misogyny present in our culture is spot-on and refreshing to hear from someone who has "traditionally skewered feminists and feminism in general."

Then we have DKE at Yale:

Begin­ning around 9:30 pm, mem­bers of the DKE fra­ter­nity marched with their pledges around Yale’s Old Cam­pus (the home of almost all of Yale’s fresh­man women) chant­ing slo­gans such as “No means yes, yes means anal” and “My name is Jack, I’m a necrophil­iac, I f— dead women, and fill them with my semen.” 

Here are a few links in chronological order if you want to read a little more: October 14, October 15, and October 18.

I have any number of questions about these young men in DKE at Yale.  First, where were their fathers when they were growing up that they would allow their sons to think for a second that this behavior is acceptable or that these attitudes towards women should even be allowed a moment's purchase in their academically gifted minds?  Where are their parents now?  If I were ever to have a son in college and I heard that any organization in which he was a member perpetrated anything like this, I would require him to quit if he wanted another dime of support for the rest of his life!  This is just abhorrent.  Where are the alums of this fraternity?  Do they condone this behavior?  The strongest possible message needs to be sent; shut it down.  Anything less is tacit approval and license to continue. 

Finally, we have the Meghan McCain firestorm.  She is an intelligent and articulate young woman who expressed serious concern about the messages Christine O'Donnell's nomination to the US Senate sends to young people.  Here's an article on the right-wing media response.  Apparently, they can't look at her without seeing her breasts, and that makes them angry. 

These are just three examples I noticed over the past three days of the reality of misogyny that women confront every day in this country and all over the world.  As a man who loves his wife and his daughter, I know I need to keep that in mind and give them both all the support and love I can muster while doing what I can to call attention to and fight against the misogynistic impulses in our culture. 

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