Ritual Degradation & Male “Superiority”
“No means yes! Yes means anal!”
That’s how the boys of Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) serenaded the women’s dorms and the campus Women’s Center a couple years back.
Another frat had pledges shout epithets at young women returning to their dorms each Sunday morning.
Not so long ago Dartmouth’s Zeta Psi was shuttered for publishing a newsletter that named and derided women who had sex with fraternity brothers. It also promised “patented date-rape techniques” in a future issue.
I personally know of brothers at San Diego State who shouted racial and sexist slurs at strippers they had hired to perform. And at UCLA a fraternity songbook was anonymously delivered to a campus feminist organization. It included chants about raping and killing women, burying them and periodically digging them up to rape their corpses over and over again.
Too often, women are raped or even gang raped at parties.
I could go on with examples…
Not all guys are the same. The young UCLA man had exposed the songbook because he found it revolting. And one of my professors had left his own college fraternity out of disgust.
And some fraternities are safer and others are more dangerous. As a grad student, Ayres Boswell talked with fraternity brothers to learn why some houses were prone to gang rape while others were not. She learned that the dangerous ones encouraged guys to disrespect women and wrote about it in a paper entitled, “Fraternities and Collegiate Rape Culture.”
Why the hate?
When you feel good about yourself you don’t feel a need to put others down to raise yourself up. So it’s a pretty sure bet that harassers are announcing a sense of inferiority.
These young college guys are on the cusp of manhood, and unsure of whether they measure up. They feel the pressure to prove manhood.
I’ve never heard of a woman feeling a need to prove her womanhood.
That’s not because women are better than men. It’s because men are ranked above women. No need to prove inferiority. For instance, so-called masculine traits like leader, active and independent are more valued than so-called feminine traits like follower, passive and dependent. Men are also more likely to be hired, promoted and paid more. And they are more likely considered head of home.
As some young men put women down they feel bigger by comparison, and deserving of superior status. Other guys are just conforming to group expectations, and not secure enough to protest.
Too bad that all they really do is degrade themselves, along with everyone else, as they create a world of pain.