What Men Dare Do! "O, what men dare do! What men may do! What men daily do, not knowing what they do!"

21Dec/110

Hugo resigns from TGMP

I want to give Hugo Schwyzer a quick shout out for resigning from The Good Men Project. It's a good article and Hugo explains a lot of the problems with Tom Matlack's behavior, both in his original article and in the ensuing twitter battle afterwards.

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24Oct/102

The Yale DKE Incident: Moving Forward

There's already been a lot of really excellent posts about the Yale DKE Chapter that marched around the Yale Women's Center shouting, "No means yes!  Yes means anal!"  Some of the posts have analyzed how the Chapter apologized.  Salon had an interview with a DKE member.  Hugo Schwyzer told the story of his legacy at DKE.  Readadultsex has a great post analyzing how men are gendered to need to "win" women, absent the possibility that women could have sexual desires.

Now there's a lot to be said about this issue, and most people have said it far better than I have.

But there's definitely a certain voice that I haven't heard much, and though I am by no means connected to every blog on the Internet, I can't say I've seen anything written (outside the DKE Chapter) by other fraternities condemning this.

So, as a former frat boy, let me add my voice to those who have condemned what DKE did, and let me also say: this isn't an isolated incident.  There are many, many fraternities out there that ascribe to the same ethos as the Yale DKR Chapter clearly did.  That being said, there are plenty of fraternities that are somewhat more enlightened, and that would have never in a million years pulled off this stunt.

The question we need to ask ourselves is how do we move fraternities from the mindset of DKE to a feminist or pro-feminist mindset?  Now, although others certainly disagree, I am opposed to simply abolishing the fraternities system, as many schools have done.  I think that there can be benefits to these kinds of societies, from the somewhat altruistic ones, like brother/sisterhood, community service, to more practical ones such as throwing a good party.

Well, I can think of a few ways certainly: firstly, make education on sexual assault mandatory for all members.  If you enforce the policy and make the program good and effective, most will go.  Perhaps only few will leave taking away something substantive and positive, but that's a few more than you had before.  Secondly, force each Greek organization to have membership in some sort of cross-campus violence prevention program or organization.  Even making one or two members of each chapter more aware of these issues, their effects on the community, and more importantly, their effects on their house can do worlds of good.  Thirdly: have serious consequences when incidents like this happen.  I don't know what's happening at Yale in regards to any discipline that might be happening to this Greek Chapter, but even if nothing is happening, this Chapter clearly has some image cleaning up to do and is working to do it.  So even if not a one member believes in any anti-sexual-violence messages or principles, having clear consequences for their actions will make them clean up their act and stop doing these kinds of things.  Fraternities are notoriously effective at damage control, from dealing with neighbors who are pissed at parties to keeping the police off of their backs -- if you make sure there's damage when they commit pro-rape acts, they will control it, and they know that the most effective control policy is prevention.

On of the off chance that someone reads this and is in a fraternity or a sorority who knows someone who is, let me tell you what you can do: go submit an opinion piece in the student newspaper.  Talk about the DKE incident and how it relates to how things are on your campus, and make it clear that it's okay.  One of the most important things in this kind of work is for people to stand up and let their voices be heard.  As male feminists, and as fraternity members as well, we need to stand up in our communities, on campus, off campus, in our chapters, as alum or current members, and speak out against this kind of behavior and work towards making our own communities safer for everyone.

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