“Locker room talk” amplifies stereotypes

%22Locker+room+talk%22+amplifies+stereotypes

Graphic by Melissa Irish

Emma Larson, Managing Editor

When discussing sexism, a vast majority of conversation sheds light on the mistreatment of women. However, Donald Trump’s recent comments downplaying sexual assault contribute to the misguided notion that “boys will be boys.” This thought process accepted in today’s society gives men the excuse to disregard moral or appropriate ways to deal with their emotions. But in 2016, most men don’t want an excuse…unless you’re Donald Trump.

Trump’s boastful comments regarding his non-consensual interactions with various women were not justifiable just because he is a wealthy businessman. Such lewd language is unnerving to hear from a presidential candidate and potential leader of our country.

While Trump not only reinforced rape culture by disparaging victims of sexual assault, he fed the stereotype that men are naturally offensive and crude. He defended his conversation about groping women as “locker room talk.” In response, many professional athletes spoke out against this claim.

Among those is former NFL player Chris Kluwe, who played eight years for the Minnesota Vikings.

“Most guys respect women, some guys don’t, but never have I heard anyone use your particularly disgusting brand of sadism that refers to women as objects and not people,” Kluwe said in an open letter to Trump. “We don’t let each other talk like that about women, because it lessens our humanity, and even though we’re modern-day gladiators, we still hold ourselves accountable to the idea of basic human decency.”

In addition to Kluwe, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver–and former Husker–Kenny Bell criticized the candidate in a recent tweet.

“…For it to be put off as ‘guys being guys’ is not only sickening, but it’s offensive to a significant amount of the male population,” Bell said. “To homogenize all men and say they all speak and think like that is just plain ignorant, and as a society, we should not accept such excuses.”

Furthermore, six male high school athletes from Centennial High School in Oregon openly refused to accept these stereotypes. Posing for a photograph in their school’s locker room sporting “Wild Feminist” t-shirts, these students took a stand to “represent that sexual assault is not locker room banter.”

These high school and college athletes serve as an example for other men country-wide. The fight against the broad, sexist categorization of men has to come from the victims themselves; change can only come from the vast group of men Trump arrogantly assumes thinks like him.

Overall, it is up to the male population to challenge these destructive comments, and to teach society through their words and actions that boys will not be boys, but instead men.