So there's been a lot of positive press surrounding what's been going on at Pitzer with this kid who's trying to start a "Masculinist Coalition" club and this is all I can think to do right now to try and get some word out there about what is so bad and awful about this club. (Plus I was thinking about starting to blog a little more often now, so why not start with this?)
A couple weeks ago, this kid at Pitzer (who I'm not going to name since I have a lot of issues with the way this person has been putting everyone else out there on the internet) sent out an email about starting a Masculinist Coalition for heterosexual men on Pitzer's campus to get together and do "manly" things like drink beer, watch sports, grill, go to strip clubs, etc. Twice in the email, it said that they would "celebrate men (not in a gay way [not that there's anything wrong with that])," which is just not a good way to start (you know, kind of hostile and unaccepting and all that).
At the first meeting, many of my friends who are members of the Pitzer Feminist Coalition and the Pitzer Queer and Allies club, along with a bunch of people who aren't affiliated with these groups but are feminists and queers and allies, came to voice their opinions about why this club is hurtful, offensive, and oppressive. I didn't go to the meeting because I can't deal with people being assholes (any people - even my friends), but I of course received lots of reports from my friends. One of the things that upset me the most is that, apparently, the person who sent out the first email (who is also the leader of the club) made a statement about discussions the group might have about prison rape that went something to the tune of "I'm not going to say that rape of men in prison is more intense than other kinds of rape, but..." and left off there.
Additionally, throughout the entire meeting, this person had a video camera rolling (though it was only focused on this person leading the meeting). Afterwards, this kid posted the video to the masculinist coalition website (yes, they have a website) with some really upsetting captions. For one video, it ridiculed my friend, we'll call him Ryan, for getting upset after being harassed for his comments at the meeting. The leader of the masculinist coalition later sent an email to the entire student body with a link to these videos and the statement: "Please be aware that any emails sent over student-talk or to me privately might very well be posted in multiple locations online."
Eventually, the group went to Pitzer's Student Senate for funding and recognition of their charter (which would make them an official club) and were denied on the basis of their behavior at the meeting. The leaders of the club came to Feminist Coalition that week and a very productive and calm dialogue about what about the club was offensive and how they can fix it and everyone came up with the idea that the club should be called the "Broalition" and it should be about drinking beer and watching sports and everything that they originally wanted to be about. That way, all of these activities can be tied to a male identity if they want it to be, but it isn't making such a blanket statement that that's what masculinity is all about. Not to mention, it helps Pitzer save a little face, too, since apparently the masculinist movement was a hate movement against women.
However, the leader of the club decided that, in good faith, the name could not be changed and they would remain the Masculinist Coalition. They returned to Senate again this past Sunday with a revised charter and were again denied funding, this time on the basis of their name. Keep in mind that, this whole time, everything regarding these decisions has been publicized on the internet.
Yesterday, the kid who sent out the email (who is also the leader of the club) went on KROQ for an interview regarding the whole situation. My friend, let's call her Lauren (even though her real name is on the internet - I'm sticking to my disgust with that, though), called in to offer a voice about why the situation is actually serious and offensive and more than just a matter of some poor kid being denied funding. I haven't listened to the interview yet (again, because I can't stand assholes), but Lauren said that she was cut off by the DJ with the statement: "Now you think you're a feminist and that's adorable, but this is the real world and I'm the man." (something along those lines - but definitely "I'm the man"). The masculinist coalition leader then sent an email out an email to the entire student body with the link to the streamed version of the interview that was posted (by this person) on funnyordie.com, where Lauren's full, real name has been used to tag the video.
Now, I'm not well-versed in gender and queer theory at all and I probably couldn't tell you the broader implications that a formation of a group like this might have in regards to the feminist and queer movements, but I do know that on a practical level, not theoretical, the person who started all of this has been really intimidating, and not just unintentionally. It has become bigger than just some joke, and it really upsets me, not because of the implications it has for feminism and for gay rights, but because I don't feel safe anymore.
So I don't know what to do. Right now, I'm just trying to get a voice out there about why this club is bad. This isn't a voice that says a club like this can't work out or that straight men don't deserve their little space on campus, too. It's a voice that's saying that I should feel comfortable in that space as a girl and I don't. That's what's wrong with this group.
So do what you can to make this voice heard. Visit my [real] blog (amytravelstheglobe.blogspot.com) from as many different computers and IP addresses as you can - get as many hits as possible. If you blog, write a little something about it. I dunno - I'm clearly not as internet savvy as this kid. But I'm hoping other people will help. Get this side of the story out there. Make people realize that it is not a joke.
Sending all my love to the world (even to the haters).
heart out to the max!