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?
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.
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