The Bates Student - November 6, 1998


Misogynistic term wrong on many levels
To the Editor,

Walking among the fliers posted in Chase Hall last week I came across one promoting a party named, "Flip-flops, Tank-tops and Wifebeaters.. ." And wifebeaters?! I am truly disappointed. As I understand it, wifebeater is a slang term for the tank-top style undershirt stereotypically worn by men who beat their wives. This term and the ease with which it was used alarms me.

It seems we have incorporated it into our vernacular, we have embraced it as just another word, but in fact it is not just another word. It carries with it a distasteful and harmful meaning and it is indicative of a larger and growing complacency of our culture towards issues of domestic violence. It frightens me to see that we, the Bates community, have become so comfortable with such misogynistic terms that we now use them without thought.

The fact that this language was used as advertisement and overlooked, not only by students but by the administration as well, proves that these vices have taken their toll on our campus. It insists that no one is immune. The proximity of this inappropriate use of slang to the YMCA's "Week without Violence" and the campus organized "Take Back the Night" event to raise awareness of domestic violence is equally confusing. Our culture has become desensitized.It is this numbness of culture and community that I believe to be the cause of even more urgent problems which we must inevitably confront. It is what keeps use crying, "What to do?"

We must pause...and reconsider the meaning of our actions in hope of acquiring a more effective understanding of our responsibilities to ourselves and to one another, especially as educated individuals. We must glance back over our shoulder to see how far we have come and allow our accomplishments to encourage us with the great distance we have yet to go. Through this, I believe we can foster a healthier community as well as a more sustainable existence for us .

Todd Kundla '00

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