On the heels of our nation’s current conversations regarding gender equality and inclusion, comes a document out of Harvard University revealing sexist and crude remarks made by members of the men’s soccer team against their female counterparts.
The 2012 9-page “scouting report” included a short paragraph assessing incoming members of the women’s soccer team. The report also contained a photo (captured from the player’s social media accounts), a numerical value, and suggested sexual positions for each incoming female player. There was no mention of the women’s soccer abilities.
The male players also gave the women offensive nicknames. For example, one female player was named “Gumbi” because of her “gum to tooth ratio.” Sexual positions were suggested for each, including Cowgirl, Triple Lady, and Doggy Style.
The male players also noted various crude and sexual comments, such as:
‘She seems relatively simple and probably inexperienced sexually, so I decided missionary would be her preferred position.’
~Harvard male soccer player
Another unidentified player wrote:
‘She seems to be very strong, tall and manly so, I gave her a 3 because I felt bad. Not much needs to be said on this one folks.’
‘Yeah… She wants c**k.’
Yes, the document is fours years old, but a line at the beginning of the report insinuates it is produced each year. And Daily.com reports that until recently, it was made available to the public and searchable on Google Groups.
Harvard’s men’s soccer coach Pieter S. Lehrer – who was hired in 2013 – is “shocked” and “disgusted” by the report, but hopes to use it as an opportunity to discuss with his players the current attitudes regarding equality and respect for women.
Harvard’s director of athletics, Robert L Scalise, told the Harvard’s newspaper, ‘It’s very disappointing and disturbing that people are doing this.’
In response, the Harvard women’s team had this to say:
As women, we often face sexual abuse and harassment in society. We are objectified in the media and our current political campaign has the dialogue moving backwards. #womennotobjects
Why can’t we figure out a way to stop this from happening?
Empowering young girls and women is not only morally right, but economically smart. There are many athletes and athletic organizations working hard to do just that, but not enough is being done.
Sounds cliché, but I’m hoping that the Harvard men’s team – and the community as a whole – can take a hard look at itself to see where they might make changes to move the dialogue on women’s issues in a positive direction, and build a community where everyone can feel safe and proud.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What can we do to move forward with gender equality? Leave a comment below, and be sure to follow me on social media for more thoughtful discussions and of course, sports news.