I have never read a better response to sexual harassment and disgusting male behavior than this op-ed by six women from the 2012 Harvard women’s soccer team: Kelsey Clayman, Brooke Dickens, Alika Keene, Emily Mosbacher, Lauren Varela, and Haley Washburn.
The women are responding to a “scouting report” by members of the 2012 men’s soccer team. C. Ramsey Fahs, writing for The Crimson, Harvard’s newspaper, says:
In lewd terms, the author of the report individually evaluated each female recruit, assigning them numerical scores and writing paragraph-long assessments of the women. …
Each woman was assigned a hypothetical sexual “position” in addition to her position on the soccer field.
“She seems relatively simple and probably inexperienced sexually, so I decided missionary would be her preferred position,” the author wrote about one woman. “Doggy style,” “The Triple Lindy,” and “cowgirl” were listed as possible positions for other women.
Clayman, Dickens, Keene, Mosbacher, Varela, and Washburn’s response is epic, which is why this post is titled with the scream fans give when their soccer team scores, and especially when the team scores well.
I can’t keep myself from quoting at length, but please go read the whole op-ed.
We are these women, we are not anonymous, and rather than having our comments taken, spun, and published behind the guise of a fake anonymity offered to us by numerous news outlets, we have decided to speak for ourselves. …
We have seen the “scouting report” in its entirety. We know the fullest extent of its contents: the descriptions of our bodies, the numbers we were each assigned, and the comparison to each other and recruits in classes before us. This document attempts to pit us against one another, as if the judgment of a few men is sufficient to determine our worth. But, men, we know better than that. Eighteen years of soccer taught us that. Eighteen years—as successful, powerful, and undeniably brilliant female athletes – taught us that. …
We know what it’s like to get knocked down. To lose a few battles. To sweat, to cry, to bleed. To fight so hard, yet no matter what we do, the game is still out of our hands. And, even still, we keep fighting; for ourselves, yes, but above all for our teammates. This document might have stung any other group of women you chose to target, but not us. We know as teammates that we rise to the occasion, that we are stronger together, and that we will not tolerate anything less than respect for women that we care for more than ourselves.
I particularly appreciate how they generalize beyond themselves, how they understand this scummy report as an attack on all women. They had the option to stand on their privilege, to say “How could you do this to us? We are so special.” Instead, they chose to say “you have done this to all of us and we will not tolerate it.”
I say I wish I’d seen that team play soccer; and I’m very glad to see them play hardball.