Thursday, March 19, 2015

Boys Will Be Boys

Point the First 

At the left is a photograph of a fraternity house, the local chapter of a national organization with a 95-year history on the campus of Penn State University.

Last year, a coed found that members of the fraternity had a secret website of photos of women, including a picture of her, topless.  She complained, and the website was taken down.

It was replaced immediately by a new secret website that included "nude females that appeared to be passed out and nude or in other sexual or embarrassing positions,” according to a detective quoted in the press.  He added, “It appears from the photos provided that the individuals in the photos are not aware that the photos had been taken.”  The website included many, many such photographs.

The fraternity has been banned from the campus for a year, and at least some of its members think they're getting a raw deal.

Here is what one of them told Philadelphia magazine.

     "It is shameful to see the self-righteousness that has sprung from the woodworks in response
      to the alleged Penn State fraternity 'scandal.' Here's a quick reality check: everyone — from
      Bill Clinton to your grandfather to every Greek organization in the nation does the same old
      stuff, just as they have been for the entirety of human history. That's where that lil' old quip,
      don't throw stones if you live in a glass house, comes from. And believe me, we all live in a
      glass house. Thus it is laughably pathetic to see the media spring on an occasional incident
      such as this, especially a media complicit in overturning the same sexual mores and moral                   standards that for millennia had at least to some extent curbed outright licentiousness. The fire
      of indignant, misplaced self-righteousness that looks to ruin people's lives and unjustly ruin                 reputations is the abuse and violation that should be at the center of discussion, not the
      humorous, albeit possibly misguided, antics of a bunch of college kids."

Later, the magazine interviewed the fraternity member.  He characterized the fraternity's website as "satire."
      "Yeah, like you get a Snapchat, and people send like raunchy Snapchats all the time. ... It's
      not a malicious type of thing … Everybody's … saying, 'Oh, there's pictures of passed-out
      girls,' and making it seem out to be such a malicious thing. It's like, yeah, girls pass out or
      fall asleep all the time and somebody takes a Snapchat or picture and, like, it's not that it's
      funny. But it's just satire. … Nobody’s sitting there like, 'Oh ... how are we going to
      victimize these people?' ... Go on a site like [where they post things like]
      the girl of the day or ... like the swimsuit model of the day … it's just, you know, fooling

Point the Second

At the right is a photograph of professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr.  He has won 10 world championships and is ranked by Forbes as the world's highest-paid athlete.

In 2010 and in front of three of his children, he yanked their sleeping mother from her bed by the hair, then punched and kicked her, sending her to the hospital.  A son ran for help, which may have prevented more serious injuries.

According to a November report in USA Today, "It was one of seven alleged assaults Mayweather has committed against five different women that resulted in him being arrested or issued a citation. Last month, his former fiancée, Shantel Jackson, filed a civil lawsuit including claims of battery, false imprisonment and allegations that the fighter pointed a gun at her."

The same article noted that Mayweather, who has a large car collection, "said his view of buying cars is similar to how he looks at women."  From the article:

       "' Even if you can't drive 10 cars at one time you got people that got 10 cars,' Mayweather
       said in a Showtime documentary, 30 Days in May, a production that listed Mayweather as                    executive producer. 'So, you're able to keep maintenance on 10 cars. So, I feel that as far as
       it comes to females, that same thing should apply. If you are able to take care of 20, then
       you should have 20.'"

Also from the article:

        "In June, Mayweather posted on Instagram that 'if a female shows half her body, she is
        asking to be disrespected,' as part of a rant about women's attire and what image it
         projected about them."

On May 2, Mayweather is scheduled to fight Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.  Ticket prices start at almost $5,000 and up; the event also will be available on video-on-demand for an estimated $100 in HD.

The fight is expected to make more than $120 million for Mayweather.


Am I the only person who thinks we have a problem here?

Floyd Mayweather is a crude, uneducated man.  His athletic success and his money have attracted sycophants who are not willing to criticize his retrograde view of women as possessions or his violence against women.

Some fraternities seem to operate in a similar way: One or a few leaders take glee in the objectification and humiliation of women, and many others -- their brothers -- follow along instead of challenging them.

(Women also behave badly.  The "mean girls" phenomenon -- in-groups isolating and tormenting individual women at the direction of nasty alpha girls -- operates everywhere from middle schools to the work world. )

What the fraternity member called "the humorous, albeit possibly misguided, antics of a bunch of college kids" can be seen another way:  as evidence of a broad character flaw.

We expect "college kids" to grow up to be responsible adults, but there is growing anecdotal evidence that many of them are proceeding rather slowly toward that goal.

It does not help when we shower wealth, fame and advertising endorsements on a man like Floyd Mayweather.

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