High School “Salute” Spurs Sexism
Owen Labrie is charged with raping a fifteen year old while trying to “score” in a high school game dubbed “the Senior Salute.”
Whether or not he is guilty, the game institutionalizes sexism. And it’s the sort of thing that can spur assault.
In their senior year boys at New Hampshire’s elite St. Paul’s School make lists of girls to pursue in hopes of gaining various intimacies, starting at first base but aiming for a home run.
It’s not about enjoying sex so much as boosting self-esteem.
Here’s how it’s sexist:
1) Girls are objectified and valued according to their appeal to men
2) Girls are mere pawns in a game by which guys score
3) Girls are prey to be captured — apparently demonstrating male superiority
4) The game relies on a double standard which expects guys to enjoy sex but expects girls to resist.
Translation of #3 and #4: “I got her to submit to me.” In fact, the game is described as sexual “conquest” and boys talk about “slaying” girls.
If you don’t have a double standard there’s no challenge.
Imagine the game in reverse: “Girls, your mission is to pursue guys to see how much you can get away with: a kiss, touching, or more.”
No contest there.
The pressure to win this sort of competition could certainly encourage sexual assault.
Tradition runs deep at St. Paul’s. Unfortunately, the tradition of patriarchy also runs deep, and is reflected in this school custom.
Posted on August 21, 2015, in feminism, men, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged feminism, men, Owen Labrie, psychology, rape, sexism, sexual assault, St. Paul’s School, The Senior Salute, women. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.