The vile, misogynistic side of Freshers Week.

Today I read this article from the Independent ––the-sexual-politics-of-freshers-week-8203400.html – and couldn’t let this one go without comment. When I say comment, I mean total anger, because, quite frankly, a lot of the stuff in that article made me feel physically sick.

Nothing more so than the idea of “rape victim themed fancy dress”. WHAT. THE. HELL?! What seriously goes through these people’s minds? In what universe could that EVER be considered funny? Aside from the fact that that it is sickeningly offensive and demeaning to victims, it’s also incredibly ignorant to the true face of rape. What does a rape victim look like? Correct answer? A woman. Any woman walking the street. Daughters, mothers, sisters, friends. I don’t even know why that has to be pointed out. WHAT CENTURY IS THIS?!

And a lot of Freshers week activities at a lot of universities are an open ticket to objectifying women.  I reserve my right to go out in whatever leg-showing, breast-enhancing outfit I want to, because it is MY BODY and MY OUTFIT, but I’m sure as hell not going to do it to take part in some pathetic charade, such as “pimps and hoes”. And wearing a particular outfit does not give anyone a green light to harass me. AT ALL.

These kind of events are – probably – intended as light-hearted (for idiots), but they trivialise real issues, and make it okay for people to laugh at them and make them into jokes. Newsflash: it doesn’t. It absolutely does not make it okay.

It’s not okay to demean women in such a way as these events do. Women are not pieces of meat. They were not put on this earth to wear a tight dress and knee highs and satisfy the male student populations’ lusty horn. Few places or events objectify men in the same way – in fact, I am struggling to find an example and would challenge someone to prove me wrong.

Why is this okay? Why are Students Unions – or in the first instance, students – allowing these events to happen? Why are universities You don’t have to be politically aware to recognise that “rape themed fancy dress” is completely unacceptable. Like, so far across the line you can’t even SEE the line. Why do people do it? I’d not only be complaining until I was blue in the face, but if it did go ahead, I’d make sure I went along to rip every imbecile who participated into tiny little pieces and let them know exactly how sick they are.

But not all men are guilty of buying into this misogynistic stuff, and the article talks about a guy who quite the lacrosse team at his university when he was given team “rules” that members don’t date – because “that was what rape was for” WHAT. THE. HELL?! I had literally reached the limit of words by this point. I have a rule for you – take your slut-shaming, little rulebook, and head back to the cave you escaped from. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

The article says that 68% of female students surveyed by the NUS had been subjected to sexual harassment at university. I know I have. Sexual harassment happens every day – not a pleasant thought, but true – but throw alcohol, fancy dress and a few thousand freshers students into the mix and you’ve apparently got a recipe for acceptable misogyny and vile objectification of women.

As a woman, I find it offensive to be defined by my anatomy. But, more than that, I find it shameful that young people appear to be breeding unacceptable misogyny and truly believing that its acceptable to treat women in this way. Because it’s not.

It’s not acceptable at all.


4 thoughts on “The vile, misogynistic side of Freshers Week.

  1. I saw the article you speak about just a few moments ago myself and was just as mortified as you. I completely agree there is no place for this in our universities, let alone society. Students’ Union’s should be at the forefront of the fight against attitudes such as this, condemning the actions of those who see this kind of action as acceptable, yet this revelation simply makes them seem to be condoning it and organising this kind of action. It is absolutely despicable and I am implore people like you and me to challenge any form of action that is derogatory towards women such as this.

    Fantastic post, and fully behind you.

  2. I read up to ‘pieces of meat’ and promptly stopped. I was frankly appalled by the lack of cliches you COULD have used in this article!

  3. Hey, Anonymous, why don’t you leave your name so we can properly discuss what you think is wrong with my blog posts? :-)

  4. I feel compelled to point out that men can also be raped, although I accept that women constitute the majority of victims. That being said, I agree completely with your article and find a rape-theme as repulsive a concept as having an Auschwitz-themed party, or something of equal depravity. This is not being po-faced but rather shows the consequence-free face that seems to have permeated some sections of our society.

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