Gender stereotyping?

I wish I could write you about how much I agree with the article “Speaker Tries to Bridge Gap Between Men and Women” in last week’s issue of The Signal. However, I found the program to be incredibly belittling and demeaning to both men and women. The stereotypes about both men and women were displayed in a way that very nearly showed them as factual and realistic representations.

Additionally, these stereotypes were left unresolved, with many of the students in attendance leaving the auditorium making fun of how each other’s gender typically behaves.

In every slide of speaker Lori Hart Ebert’s PowerPoint, there was the image of the male symbol overlapped with the female symbol. This, in combination with her use of heterosexual dating couples in her examples, conveyed a very heterosexist message.

Despite her brief disclaimer that she was there to talk about relationships in general (not just dating), every example she used was of male and female dating couples and a stereotypical dating situation.

She attempted to answer the question, “Are we really different?” and began her answer by saying testosterone creates scientifically proven differences in the brain. Among these differences, the “communication part of the brain (in men) is zapped” and “the areas that relate to aggression and thinks about sex are enlarged.”

I was then waiting for her to address that what she had mentioned were stereotypes – men are not dumb beings who can only focus on one thing at a time, they can communicate efficiently, they do not constantly think about sex, they are not purely aggressive creatures, and in fact, there are also women who are aggressive, sexual, etc. However, she never addressed this, and the rest of her program emphasized this demeaning view of men.

Every example she used was of stereotypical male and female behaviors. Among them were women who fill their heads with overly romantic ideas from romance novels and the Lifetime network, women who do not really say what they mean, men who are unable to do more than one thing at a time, men who can’t remember anything unless reminded several times, etc.

For every example she had, she asked for one female volunteer and one male volunteer, and then said “OK, Daphne and Roy are dating, and…” She never asked for two of the same sex or ever said the relationship was anything other than romantic, which buried her earlier statement about using her program for all relationships.

I felt there were opportunities to point out the silliness of stereotypes, the inaccuracy of them, and how we can live free from them, but these were not explored. I felt alienated, disheartened and, quite frankly, embarrassed when behaviors I exhibit were made fun of onstage.

It was hurtful to see women portrayed as whiny, babbling, annoying beings, and after hearing the men’s reactions in the audience, I felt discouraged, rather than encouraged, to talk openly with my male friends. While I do not know if any other students have or will write to you, I know I am not the only student who feels this way.

Jenna Michelle Meyerberg

Aquatic shock

I am absolutely outraged.

The plastic water bottle project constructed by the College art students in a Sculpture 101 class had placed three stakes with signs on the lawn outside of the Social Sciences Building on Oct. 21. On Oct. 23, one of the stakes with a poster containing important and compelling statistics about plastic bottle consumption in the United States was completely gone, and the remaining two stakes had their signs completely removed.

These signs were laminated, and hot glued onto the stakes that were hammered into the ground. If an individual removed the stake and signs rather than the inclement weather this weekend, I am flabbergasted.

The project required hours of collection of close to 5,000 water bottles on campus by dedicated students, and the coordination of many different individuals on campus. The signs required time and energy by the art students, and were intended to educate members of the College about plastic water bottle waste and consumption. Without them, the message is lost from the project made out of bottles and placed on the lawn as an eye-catching visual.

It is possible the removal of these signs was not by a member of the College, but if it was, I am incredibly disappointed that someone would do such a thing to counteract the time spent on this important initiative. There will be new signs made to replace the ones that disappeared, but at the expense of the department of Art and time spent by students to recreate them. It is my hope these will remain in their rightful place this time, and not be vandalized again if that is the case of this incident.

Meagan E. Terry