Opinion Opinion: Mill Street made me a feminist By The New Political Posted on September 26, 2013 5 min read 0 0 1,029 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.