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Frat Boys, Toxic Masculinity and the #METOO Movement

Image result for nphc frat boys
(scene from Spike Lee's famous School Daze)


A few weeks ago, my sorority held its national convention on New Orleans. Coincidently, another fraternity was also holding their national convention in New Orleans. Naturally, the jokes, mostly in jest, played upon the fact that these two groups, full of single, attractive and smart folks would be "on the prowl" and looking to "hook up" in the city known for its strong drinks, Southern heat, and hospitality. It was all jokes until nastiness decided to rear its ugly head.

You had men in the other fraternity sexually harassing and being obscene to my sorority sisters who just wanted to have fun and handle the business of the sorority (and network.. and yes.. meet men in a somewhat safe space).  There were stories of men groping women. Men saying disgusting things and then being like "Well fuck you then" if women rejected them. You would HOPE and think that college-educated men wouldn't act this way.

But... these are fraternity men we are talking about. And fraternities, despite its racial makeup, are bastions of toxic masculinity.

In having this discussion, I brought up the idea of toxic masculinity and programs to combat it with my husband, who happens to be in a fraternity. He said "I mean... we got some brothers who speak out about it. But really... our focus is hazing". This is where I had to have a "come to Jesus" moment with him. Hazing, it itself, is a byproduct of toxic masculinity. In order to prove how much of a "man" you are, you take this abuse and call it "brotherhood". That is toxic masculinity. He agreed but again... he confirmed that on a national level, there were absolutely no programs to address that toxicity.

But the straw that broke the camel’s back was the comments from men who were supposed to be my brothers, my constitutionally bound brother fraternity. You had men saying “we don’t want them ugly girls anyway” or upset that they didn’t get “first dibs” on the select single women present. It was as if our vagina and access to it was a constitutional right. They made jokes about the stereotypes of the sorority,  even going so far to say that all we were good for was food and fucking.  I never would have expected those types of comments from them. But then again, they are men first, brothers second. And toxic masculinity always comes first.  Hating their sisters is par for the course. 

There are brothers..well.. black men.. out here who vehemently hate black women. For the life of me... I cannot understand why. Not liking dark/big/natural women... being overall misogynoir...reinforcing patriarchal stereotypes (and other stereotypes in general)..... Then you got brothers who claim they LOVE black women... and their uhm.. "choices" say otherwise.  They don’t love us. Not like they should. 

It's all on the internet.. for the whole world to see. SMH...You ain't gotta LIE to kick it.
I need them to go seek counseling.. Take THEE old ASHY ASS to a THERAPIST!.


It hurts. It beyond hurts. It is as if someone took a piece of your heart and stomped on it. Women are out here crying for help.. crying for support. And the group of men that we ask to support us, our brothers, our BLACK brothers, our GREEK brothers, are denying our pain and reinforcing the hurt. The effort should be on MEN to address this behavior. But.. how can you teach better if you dont even know how to BE better?

Comments

  1. I am so glad I read this. Thank you for writing it.

    As a member of a black fraternity, I agree with you wholeheartedly. To my knowledge, there are no fraternities that address the toxic masculinity intrinsic to manhood itself, nor do any even have a council of women to advise them on such things.

    A friend of mine who is a Kappa and I aren't hopeful that 20th century men's organizations can solve 21st century problems, but we have committed ourselves to trying something different, based partly in restorative practices. Stay tuned.

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