Home Opinion Opinion: Mill Street made me a feminist

Opinion: Mill Street made me a feminist

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My first night at Ohio University, only about a month ago, my friend and I joined the herds of people on Mill Street at about 10 p.m. Observing the spectacle and chuckling as drunks stumbled by, we walked from one end of the block party to the other. The party scene on our campus is undeniably one of the best in the country, but my first impression of OU revealed the deep roots of sexism on our campus.

My friend and I saw a banner festooned on an apartment balcony which read, “Thanks, Dads, we’ll handle your daughters from here.” On the lawn, we saw a drunk guy smack a random girl’s butt, and as we kept walking down Mill, three different people yelled “faggot” at me as I passed in my tie-dye tank top.

What bothered me most about my experience that night was not recovering my severely damaged masculine ego after being called a “faggot,” or almost regurgitating my dinner after seeing the predatory house banners. It was the realization that no one except “feminists” sees these things as problems. The blatantly sexually threatening behavior that thrives on Mill should strike any rational student as disturbing, uncomfortable, and reprehensible.

If you had told me in high school that I would be calling myself a feminist within the next year, I might not have believed you. That was before I really thought about why OU needs feminism, and before I experienced, in a very short hour on Mill, several encounters with sexual bullies. Although the stereotype of feminists as crazy and angry is a media caricature, the majority of students on our campus view feminism as a fringe group with no place in the mainstream culture, particularly Mill Street culture. Sadly, though, that’s exactly where it’s needed most.

An important, though controversial, student group, “f*ckrapeculture,” plans to take feminism to Mill Street with a rally and march on October 11. The group’s name is purposefully distasteful, but their primary objectives represent important steps for our campus, while their methods empower students. The group has three primary objectives: mandatory consent education for Greek life, athletics, and freshman orientation; sexual harassment training for student workers; and a guarantee from the university that victims of sexual assault are not to be prosecuted if they happened to be underage drinking at the time of their assault.

These are very reasonable objectives, and frankly, they’re not controversial. The U.S. Center for Disease Control reports that one in five college women are rape victims, and on a campus where “rapeculture”—predatory banners, the use of date rape drugs, sexual harassment, and street harassment—thrives, it is crucial that students recognize the need to implement consent education, harassment training, and victim safety guarantees.

I aim to leave this campus a safer place for women, so that when I graduate in four years, incoming students won’t have the same bad first impression of OU that I did.

This article was written by Michael Mayberry. The Ohio University Student Union meets Thursdays at 8pm in Baker 237.

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  1. Tony

    September 27, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    You’ve been on campus a month, give it some time.

    The majority of people on your campus do not view feminism as having no place in mainstream culture and a few banners, a guy yelling, and a slap of the ass is a farcry from the majority on a campus of 20k. Hell, not even a majority of campus was on Mill St. that night.

    I say this not to be contrary, but to assure you that there are good people all over that campus. In fact, the majority of people on campus are feminists- even if they don’t know it. Much like you were 2 months ago.

    Don’t be so quick to give up on the people at OU. I look forwarding to high fiving everyone demonstrating that rape culture is a sick minority on Oct. 11th.

    – a 2011 alum

    Reply

  2. Ali

    September 27, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    This is so true! Work uptown and have to walk from one end of court to the other to reach my car and the harrasment I get at night is unbelievable!! Its impossible to take two steps under the over the shop porches without an endless banter of “come up here baby you look like you want a good time” and the always insufferable ratings called down and many obscene suggestions of positions to spend the night in!! I Hate it! Dont get me wrong, I love OU and I love to party, but it feels SO predatory and creepy anymore!! So glad to know there are guys like you and groups like fuckrapeculture working ob the case!!

    Reply

  3. Kasie

    September 27, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    This is great to see feminism being talked about in a positive light. I hold Ohio University dear to my heart, and it is where I found myself and my feminism. I’m glad to see the intersection of feminism and the OU lifestyle that we all love and adore, but we need to start thinking critically about! Great article!

    Reply

  4. Arnold

    September 28, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    you’z a bitch

    Reply

  5. Tom

    September 29, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    While I share the same opinions as the author on the subjects presented, and i think that it was a good way to promote the group “f*ckrapeculture” (which is awesome). I also think that this author makes a lot of assumptions and generalizations about a community that he frankly, based solely on duration of residency, doesn’t know shit about. Athens is a great town, most of my favorite people live in Athens or have lived in Athens and gone to OU. Rape culture doesn’t thrive in Athens, thats insulting, but like many places it certainly happens, thats a fact. I think that everyone should do anything they can to prevent rape or anything in the ballpark of rape, I think that women and men both should have a sense of security where they live. Weird thing is, you don’t have to be a feminist to support this stuff, you just have to be a human being ( though i bet dogs are down with it too and probably some cats after a little convincing). So next time this guy writes an opinion piece on a serious subject, I hope he doesn’t slander a town that good people care about and are proud to be a part of in the process. (P.S.: Tie-dye tank top your first night out in college? Your friends are the biggest assholes in this story for not telling you to change)

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