Commentary | Dresses, drinks, and misunderstandings

A response to the McGill Rugby team

Let me just say I commend the author for writing “Dresses, Drinks, and Misogyny” ( Commentary, February 2, Page 7). She is in the delicate position of criticizing behaviour while maintaining ties to a certain group – a difficult situation, to say the least. She expressed her opinion as a woman amidst behaviour that has been called, depending on who you ask, sexist, chauvinist, misogynist, supporting rape culture, or simply stupid and ignorant. By bringing this incident to the attention of other McGillians, she has created a discussion that is critically important to our University and its students.

Having witnessed many reactions by other McGill students, it is clear that many have trouble making distinctions between free speech and hate speech, jokes, insults, and a litany of words associated with sexual prejudice. Hopefully, this fresh dialogue will awaken some minds to the nuances behind those words and the people around them that might be affected by their misuse.

One issue at stake here is a group of students whose behaviour reflects poorly on our University. This should not be swept under the rug. McGill students, especially members of teams or clubs, are ambassadors for our University. They need to uphold a standard of dignified behaviour. If this standard is not upheld, then I have a problem supporting said group with my ancillary fees.

This incident has also had a special significance for me because it confirms the presence of a masculine lacuna at McGill. Despite what some have said, this kind of incident highlights the need for academic courses and topics that promote female perspectives. Women’s Studies are great, but they are not enough. Men need the same kind of gender dialogue at a mature, academic level. I dream of the day when a course will focus on the work of Robert Bly, Robert L. Moore or Douglas Gillette.  We need to be discussing masculinity as much as femininity if we ever hope to achieve equality and sensitivity between the sexes. If McGill bros start connecting with their own masculinity on a deeper level, maybe they would not call a woman a slut so easily (even if it was meant to be a joke).

I hope this discussion does not end with a couple of articles in a student newspaper. This could be a starting point for making positive changes within our University on personal and academic levels. If a courageous professor someday opens a Men’s Studies course at McGill, I will be the first to sign up.

Timothy Simon is a U3 English Education student. He can be reached at timothy.simon@mail.mcgill.ca

A previous version of this article stated  I dream of the day when a course will focus on the work of John Bly. Rather, it should say I dream of the day when a course will focus on the work of Robert Bly. The Daily regrets the error.



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