You may have paused, in the heat of all the election coverage, to notice that Harvard canceled its remaining men’s soccer season after the male players were found to have discussed the women’s soccer team in crude sexual terms. My mind, of course, went to the Donald and Billy on the Bus video that came to light during the Trump campaign. The question for women of all ages is how do we respond?
Six players on the women’s team did so, and Nick Kristof published their remarks in his New York Times blog. Here’s an excerpt; the entire piece is more than worth your time.
“In all, we do not pity ourselves, nor do we ache most because of the personal nature of this attack. More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives. We feel hopeless because men who are supposed to be our brothers degrade us like this. We are appalled that female athletes who are told to feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced to a physical appearance. We are distraught that mothers having daughters almost a half century after getting equal rights have to worry about men’s entitlement to bodies that aren’t theirs. We are concerned for the future, because we know that the only way we can truly move past this culture is for the very men who perpetrate it to stop it in its tracks.
Having considered members of this team our close friends for the past four years, we are beyond hurt to realize these individuals could encourage, silently observe, or participate in this kind of behavior, and for more than four years have neglected to apologize until this week.”
Some women respond to crude comments about women’s bodies, and indeed to sexually predatory behavior, by shrugging it off and voting for Trump. These young women responded very differently, putting their names and their words out there. I’m proud of them, and they give me hope.