Ritualised aggression designed to keep women in their place
Listen to this:
Does it send shivers up your spine? Make you feel chilled?
That’s what it did to me.
The chanting pack, the ‘No means Yes’ mantra, the threatening insistent tone, the sense of ritualised aggression.
It felt like something the Klu Klux Klan might have produced. With Blacks exchanged for Women.
What you just heard though isn’t from a despised hate group. It’s the collective chant of a mob of privileged young men. Proud members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity of Yale University.
It wasn’t just the phrase ‘No means Yes’ they chanted. Added to that was ‘Yes means anal’, for that extra sense of domination. Get her on her knees and show her whose boss, young gentleman of Yale.
And it’s not like it’s even a one-off. Imagine being a survivor of sexual assault seeking counseling and support from the Women’s Centre, when this happens.
In 2006, fraternity members marched outside the Women’s Center on campus, chanting the same words. Two years later, members of another fraternity shouted about ‘Yale sluts’, also outside the Women’s Center. Michael Kimmell, writing for the MS Blog, asks these questions:
What does it mean to chant “No Means Yes” outside the campus Women’s Center, the place that offers a safe space for women who have been assaulted or abused? What does it mean to target the one place where women might actually feel safe enough to find their own voice, feel strong enough to succeed in a world still marred by gender inequality? It’s a reminder that men still rule, that bro’s will always come before “ho’s”. Even the Women’s Center can’t protect you.
Given that this is the latest in what appears to be a pattern of behavior among a number of Yale students, given that there was 13 sexual assaults committed by Yale students on campus in 2008, and given that Yale’s chiefs would claim to be against violence against women, why does this continue?
Why doesn’t such behavior constitute instant expulsion? Why is a fraternity which spreads hate speech as one of its activities not shut down? Why should wealth and privilege protect these thugs from just consequences?
The latest in violence against women as a fashion accessory
It’s not hard to picture men like that in t.shirts like this:
This t.shirt is being sold in Australia today. To men and schoolboys here.
I’ve written about t.shirts mocking sexual assault and inciting crimes of violence against women and girls here before, and here. ‘It’s not rape if you yell surprise’, ‘It’s not rape, it’s surprise sex’, and, more recently, brought to you by Sexpo: ‘Silence is Golden’, depicting a bound woman with a red ball stuffed in her mouth, were a couple I highlighted.
Roger David’s range of tees depicted women bound, gagged, blindbolded and semi-naked. The company has continued to ignore complaints. Zero response, don’t give a damn. Ignore them back this Christmas.
Anyway, this latest monstrosity, ‘Relax it’s just sex’, is produced by that bastion of respect for women, Hustler. The U.S-based porn empire has exported its vile product to be sold in mainstream stores here. Just doing their bit to further entrench a culture of violence and every-day threat to women.
Of course, Collective Shout members are speaking out against it. And Queensland’s Women’s Minister raised the issue in State Parliament a couple of weeks ago. See this piece on Collective Shout’s website.
No doesn’t mean yes. We don’t consent to being treated this way.