On The Same Team

It is incontrovertible that Trump is sexist. Not only did he make vulgar comments about women in a recording last month, but he also went on to dismiss them as “locker room talk” rather than apologizing for his actions.

Yet, he was still elected 45th President of the United States this Tuesday. It is this dismissal and disregard to blatant sexism that perpetrates male entitlement and rape culture.

Though it is appalling that sexist beliefs are promoted by people in positions of power like Trump, he is not the only person who encourages such behavior.The reality is that such ideas are rampant in our society as a whole.

The objectification of females and sexist social norms still overwhelm high schools and colleges. Two weeks ago, the Harvard administration discovered a “scouting report” about the incoming female recruits written by the Harvard men’s soccer team. Rather than ranking the top goal scorers or the top assists, they ranked the players by their sex appeal, assigning each of them a sexual position and rating them based on physical appearance from a scale of one to ten.

Even beyond high school and college, female athletes appear in magazines with suggestive poses and clothing—objectified and portrayed not for their on-field performances, but for their beauty or sex appeal. These standards undervalue female athletes and their accomplishments. This belittling of female athletes by their male counterparts perpetuates the sexist ideals ingrained in our society.

So I commend the Harvard administration for terminating the team’s season to condemn and punish its deplorable misogynistic behavior. This decision empowers women and bystanders by calling for a change in the culture of men’s college sports.

Despite the actions of the Harvard men’s soccer team, it is important to note that not all athletes engage in conversations like the “locker room talk” Trump described. In fact, most athletes were shocked by Trump’s remarks, disgusted by his normalization of hyper-masculinity and refusal to acknowledge gender-based violence as a serious problem. Kendall Marshall, Philadelphia 76ers guard, tweeted, “PSA: sexual advances without consent is NOT locker room talk.” Chris Conley, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver, tweeted, “Have I been in every locker room? No. But the guys I know and respect don’t talk like that. They talk about girls but not like that. Period.”

I implore the Andover community to follow the Harvard Administration, Marshall, and Conley’s examples. Just because Trump was elected president doesn’t mean we should condone sexist behavior on our campus. Instead, we should continue to stand up for our values as a community, checking behavior that demeans women as well as other underprivileged groups.

In that light, I encourage both students and faculty to actively educate themselves by partaking in programs like the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, which raises awareness about gender-based violence, respect, and consent.

While only 72 students in my grade currently participate in the MVP program, the ideal situation would be to have most of the student body actively and willingly engaging in these educational programs and making sure individuals performing these demeaning actions are held accountable.

We should also make a conscious effort to support the female athletes who are trying to change the culture of discrimination and hatred against women in a male-dominated society.

If we are to create a community that is truly inclusive of everyone regardless of gender, people of all genders must check toxic masculinity and fight against sexism.