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When boys humiliate girls at school

The #MeToo reckoning is still coming — not just for the prominent men who use their power to exploit other...

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 5:35 PM
Updated: Sep 26, 2018 5:35 PM

The #MeToo reckoning is still coming — not just for the prominent men who use their power to exploit others, but also for the boys they once were. We are recognizing, finally, that misogynist men are made, not born.

The task, now, is to interrupt the making.

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Females (demographic group)

Population and demographics

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Brett Kavanaugh

Discrimination

Political Figures - US

Sex and gender issues

Sex discrimination

Societal issues

As he seeks confirmation to the US Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh has taken great pains to paint himself as a champion of women and girls, a strategy employed to undercut Democratic assertions that he would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Then came an allegation of sexual assault while Kavanaugh was a student at Georgetown Prep high school, made by Christine Blasey Ford, who attended a neighboring school. Then another allegation that Kavanaugh pushed his penis in the face of a classmate at Yale. He vigorously denies both accusations.

But now there's Kavanaugh's Georgetown Prep yearbook. It is rife with sexist sexual innuendo about "Renate Alumnius" (Renate Schroeder being a girl in Kavanaugh's broader social circle back then) and "FFFFFFFourth of July (a lewd and predatory term).

In a more feminist world, such casual misogynist cruelty would be rare. But anyone who has passed through high school knows that the language employed by Kavanaugh and crew is indeed quite typical of teenage "boys just being boys." And that's exactly the problem: Teenage boyhood continues to accept, sometimes even hinge on, misogyny and ill treatment of girls — usually girls over whom boys have relative social power.

Then we wonder why those same boys become the men who mistreat women, discriminate against us in the workplace, or look the other way when other men harass, bully or abuse us.

It can be jarring to realize just how deep misogyny goes. Renate Schroeder Dolphin, who was the butt of Kavanaugh and friends' "alumni" joke, previously had signed a letter of support for him, proclaiming his respect for women when she knew him in high school.

She told the New York Times she was not aware of the yearbook reference when she signed the letter and said in a statement that the "insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue."

To add insult to injury, Kavanaugh's lawyers claim that the yearbook entries don't mean what we all know they mean. Instead, they insist, the "Renate Alumnius" jokes were reflective of a deep respect for Renate, and only indicated that she had gone to dances and events with Kavanaugh and his friends.

("Judge Kavanaugh and Ms. Dolphin attended one high school event together and shared a brief kiss good night following that event," his lawyers' statement reads. Dolphin denied this through her lawyer: "Brett must have me confused with someone else, because I never kissed him.")

Everyone can see that Kavanaugh's denials are obvious BS, because we all know teenage boys don't make in-group sexualized jokes about women they respect. We viscerally know what "Renate Alumnius" means because we are collectively fluent, after long experience, in the subtle language of misogyny.

And we also know how it feels to have our fluency in that language denied. When women identify disrespect or demand better treatment, we are often the ones who are punished, or told that our version of events doesn't reflect reality. The denials from Kavanaugh's lawyers are practically Trumpian: Yes, it says what it says and we all know what that means, but you can't believe your lyin' eyes.

But this dishonest defense of entitlement, this propping up from an early age of the male version, doesn't work as well as it used to.

Indeed, whatever happens with the Kavanaugh nomination, one hopes that this ugly turn through his teenage past will at least help us to stop raising boys in this way. Ideally, we would raise kind — not casually cruel -- more nurturing, responsible boys, because it's the right thing to do for boys and girls.

But even if we raise boys to avoid misogyny and bad treatment of women under threat that it simply might curtail their bright futures, that's a good start, too. We'll take it as a win for now.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 473413

Reported Deaths: 9214
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32339474
Hinds30703575
DeSoto29814346
Jackson23263336
Rankin21111358
Lee14600217
Madison14043265
Jones13165218
Forrest12953233
Lauderdale11418297
Lowndes10249175
Lamar10048128
Pearl River8737209
Lafayette8078136
Hancock7324111
Washington6837147
Oktibbeha6820118
Neshoba6404201
Monroe6372158
Warren6326161
Pontotoc610393
Panola6071124
Bolivar6016143
Marshall5972118
Union564086
Pike5491133
Lincoln5232130
Alcorn520888
George457868
Scott451993
Leflore4401140
Prentiss437276
Itawamba436198
Tippah436180
Simpson4268111
Copiah425586
Wayne424863
Tate4234100
Adams4219114
Yazoo415886
Sunflower4088104
Covington407391
Marion4032100
Leake393185
Coahoma388198
Newton364474
Grenada3517101
Stone345657
Tishomingo324888
Attala321185
Jasper310262
Winston300391
Clay288273
Chickasaw282164
Clarke277487
Calhoun259739
Holmes259485
Smith243947
Yalobusha216747
Tallahatchie215649
Walthall205557
Greene204045
Lawrence203831
Perry196453
Amite193751
Webster191941
Noxubee174538
Montgomery169853
Jefferson Davis165541
Carroll159937
Tunica148434
Benton139433
Kemper137439
Claiborne125634
Choctaw124925
Humphreys123337
Franklin115227
Quitman101825
Wilkinson99835
Jefferson86632
Sharkey62120
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 768301

Reported Deaths: 13209
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1093481727
Mobile699891179
Madison48418589
Baldwin35707452
Shelby35193291
Tuscaloosa33029512
Montgomery32582664
Lee21908204
Calhoun20140377
Morgan19351318
Etowah18583433
Marshall17272259
Houston16139353
St. Clair14956276
Limestone14129180
Cullman14069235
Elmore14010245
Lauderdale13128272
Talladega12399215
DeKalb11890229
Walker10231312
Autauga9493127
Blount9418149
Jackson9115136
Coffee8646161
Colbert8324169
Dale8284159
Escambia6456106
Tallapoosa6394168
Covington6313157
Chilton6243133
Russell591654
Franklin563597
Chambers5240132
Marion4628115
Dallas4626178
Clarke451471
Pike450091
Geneva4252106
Winston407987
Lawrence4046102
Bibb396177
Barbour338968
Marengo320981
Monroe311547
Butler309783
Pickens298769
Randolph294055
Henry293856
Hale286081
Cherokee279850
Fayette272271
Washington243545
Crenshaw232265
Clay221561
Macon214454
Cleburne209748
Lamar187839
Conecuh177139
Lowndes169056
Coosa163631
Wilcox154335
Bullock147142
Perry134235
Sumter123335
Greene119241
Choctaw72325
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