Dear Molly – Coffee Break Editor and Salvatore – News Editor,
Sandwiched between the Steubenville victim shaming, the upcoming Take Back the Night, and all amidst Women’s Month, was the “Her Cocktail, His Beer” column from March 20th. The column perpetuates cultural assertions that women are “asking for it,” and the claim that men are not responsible for their actions because they are simply “acting like men.” These stereotypes reinforce a culture that is violent against women and not at all supportive of men who choose not to fall into the “be a man” stereotype.
We remind The Mirror, and the community for which it writes, of its Code of Ethics (COE), and we also resurrect voices from the past.
(COE): “SEXIST LANGUAGE. Staffers will avoid sexist labels and descriptive language and replace them with neutral terms and descriptions, within reason.”
Yet The Mirror publishes: “But, seriously, boys, grow a pair. A girl might find you more attractive if you stop being her b***h and act more like a man.”
(COE): “SEXUAL HARASSMENT. Sexual harassment is: suggestive comments, sexual innuendo, threats, insults, jokes about sex-specific traits, sexual propositions; vulgar gestures …”
Yet The Mirror publishes: “The f***zone, what is it? Well, that’s easy, it’s a man’s best friend (sorry, dogs).”
(COE): “NEGATIVE STEREOTYPING. Staffers will take care in writing to avoid applying commonly thought but usually erroneous group stereotypes to individuals who are members of a particular group.”
Yet The Mirror publishes: “If you’re getting called at 3 a.m. and you answer that call, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself when he sneaks out of his own house the next morning to avoid any sort of sober conversation.”
(COE): “USE OF RADICAL, ETHNIC, OTHER GROUP IDENTIFIERS … It should be done with great care so as not to perpetuate negative group stereotyping.”
Yet The Mirror publishes: “Ladies, stop pretending like the guy is taking advantage of you and get real. We’re all in college, and we’re all adults. It’s time to take responsibility for our actions …”
Voices from the past:
In response to the infamous “He Said/She Said,” Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., responded in an early 2009 edition of The Mirror:
“The free flow of information and its critical analysis are hallmarks of a Jesuit education. Another hallmark of a Jesuit education is the defense of the worth and dignity of every human person…this latter stance leads us to condemn the words and deeds that demean persons or foster an atmosphere of oppression.”
Also, the Mirror editors, back in 2009, when commenting on the “He Said / She Said” series, said the following:
“And we did not act responsibly by publishing that specific column …We learned from the mediation and from internal discussion that the character and limitations of ‘He said/She Said’ had become the problem. It was not Surrette or any other writers, but the character who was stuck inside of the box of ‘He said,’ expected to portray stereotypes instead of erase and challenge them. That is why ‘He Said/She Said’ has been discontinued.”
“He Said/She Said”
“Her Blackberry/His iPhone”
“Her Cocktail/His Beer”
Has it really been discontinued?
Read the article that prompted this Letter to the Editor here