Dear Surly Amy,

My uni’s football team is hosting a party with a token contest. The ad says `GIRLS! Get tokens from guys by KISSING them’ (pic of girl on top of a guy) and `GUYS! Get tokens by BUYING GIRLS DRINKS’ (pic of creepy guy w/ drink). I objected on the Facebook page, w/ a female friend. There was outrage including `my friends say I’m not sexist’, `you think it’s sexist because you’re biased’, and `it’s a Western cultural norm!’ Students have been liking my comments, but mostly posts are against me (my friends quit). The female head of the Amnesty Int’l Club is also for the poster. The rhetoric has been more upsetting than the poster. I am angry yet unsure what to do. People tell me to complain to the Equality Committee, I worry I’ll look like throwing a tantrum for being overrun. I’ve already been attacked for being a male claiming sexism. My best friend (a woman working as asst. coach for these offensive footballers) wants me to but is it worth it?

~Trever

Dear Trever,

Yes, it is worth speaking up about. This is some bullshit that sends the message that women are only valuable as impaired sexual objects. The poster, as you have described it has tokens given to women only if they perform in a sexual manner with the goal that they should be impaired by alcohol.

Really? What is this, a casting call for a school film called, Date Rape 101? I mean she was asking for it after all, what, with her kissing everyone and being all wasted. Right, fellas?

Yes, speak up for what is right and for those who are afraid to. Social situations are difficult especially in a school setting where women often feel pressured into fitting in. It is extremely difficult combining the want to feel attractive and the want to be accepted. I’m sure a lot of women will go along with this, not because it is the right thing or what they would really want to do but because it will help them to feel like part of the in-group within their particular social setting. Because, hey you wouldn’t want the football team thinking you are an uptight prude, right!

But seriously, fuck that. Young women need to know they are valued for more than how they look and what they allow to have done to their bodies.

Also, it is extremely important that men speak up when they see this type of overt sexism. Your voices are often more powerful than ours. As for the rhetoric, that is to be expected whenever social norms are challenged. Don’t lose hope, it’s just the thrashing of those who are afraid to evaluate their own predispositions.

Thanks for helping society to evolve in better ways and thanks for writing in.

~Surly Amy

Got a question you would like some Surly-Skepchick advice on? Send it in! We won’t publish your real name, unless you want us to and creative pseudonyms get bonus points! Just use the contact link on the top left of the page.

Surly Amy art by Jill. Photo by Surly Amy

Amy Roth

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and writes about vegan food. She is the founder and president of the Los Angeles Women's Atheist and Agnostic Group: LAWAAG. Follow her on twitter: @SurlyAmy or on Google+.

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9 Comments

  1. Avatar of ursulaminor
    November 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm —

    Rock on Trever – I am cheering for you on the sidelines. My feeling is that if you stick to your guns about the original content of the poster/event, then you can’t really be seen as complaining for getting piled on by everybody else (I’m sure some people will complain about it anyway). Plus, there probably isn’t much they can do about individuals being nasty, but they can probably do more to chide university sponsored groups with regards to their public events and contests.

    But seriously, the world needs guys like you to stand up like this!

  2. Avatar of zylla
    November 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm —

    Good for you! Yes, it’s important to stand up and follow through. You may not stop the event or get the posters changed, but you will let women know they have support in resisting sexist outlooks and you’ll also help some to begin questioning their own actions and attitudes. Little victories are important, too, even if you can’t see them.

    Let us know what happens.

    (And Amy – welcome back! I’ve missed you!)

  3. Avatar of Luna
    November 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm —

    Uni’s as in, University ?? What type of craphole institution allows this? Are all the participants over 21? I bet the head of the school would be very interested in hearing about that.

    No wonder this country’s in the shitter. How about going to school for oh, I dunno, learning?

    • Avatar of Wilson
      November 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm —

      It’s going to be overseas Luna. Them thar call it Uni. Drinking ages also lower generally.

      • Avatar of Luna
        November 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm —

        Er, I’ve heard Americans call their schools “Uni”. And it’s not just the drinking, it’s the atmosphere it invites. What would you do if YOU were the head of this school?

  4. Avatar of Jack99
    November 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm —

    `it’s a Western cultural norm!’

    No it’s not, although some would like it to be.

    I agree with @ursulaminor too – i.e. to stick to the original point about the poster/event and don’t let them sidetrack you.

    Good on you.

  5. Avatar of chrisfixedkitty
    November 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm —

    “valued for more than how they look and what they allow to have done to their bodies.”
    Hell yeah, this. *snort* This event is a total recipe for a date rape night. Do the guys get extra tokens for bringing their own rufies?

    Trever, if you decide not to go to the Equality Committee (I’m sure the backlash you’re experiencing is making that seem a tempting option, but I hope you do it anyway) perhaps some form of creative protest is in order? Perhaps a competing party benefitting a different student organization, where students of either gender can get tokens for bringing food, drink, music, cards, game consoles for video games, or a card of boardgame style party game? And of course, posters that can show groups of people having fun in non-objectifying ways?

  6. Avatar of Grand Lunar
    November 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm —

    “What is this, a casting call for a school film called, Date Rape 101?”

    My favorite line from this article.
    Describes the situation nicely.

    And great suggestions from everyone else here.
    Reminds me why I like this site so much.

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