Party Culture and Feminism | Teen Ink

Party Culture and Feminism MAG

March 1, 2019
By noahtunis BRONZE, Baltimore, Maryland
noahtunis BRONZE, Baltimore, Maryland
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
Yesterday is history, Tomorrow a mystery, Today is a gift: that's why they call it the present.

I’ve always understood the idea of toxic masculinity, but I hadn’t truly absorbed its meaning. I think this is the case for many teenage boys. We, who consider ourselves bystanders or even allies, grasp the concept and yet never see its manifestations close to home. Until recently, I was the same. I played sports, participated in clubs, and worked hard in school. At a small, liberal school in the upper-middle-class, mostly-white suburbs of Baltimore, most of us do not consider ourselves actively sexist. When presentations and assemblies are given on toxic masculinity and examples of prejudice in society, men tend to tense up and tune out. They are being insulted, they are being slandered for something they do not believe encompasses any part of them as a person, and so the natural reaction is indignation, anger, and rebuttal: “I’m not sexist, and honestly that’s all they’re saying. It’s such bullsh*t.” They resent the fact that they are being labeled, grouped, judged. This is exactly what women and minorities of all types experience on a consistent basis.

When women, when minorities, are put down and labeled as an entire group, they feel angry. If white men today do not feel that they’re being heard, try talking to Suffragettes and original feminists, who weren’t allowed to vote until 1920. That’s 150 years of existence as the land with liberty and justice for all, and a government built on its motto – by the people and for the people – with half or more of their population silenced. Unheard, unrecognized, and rarely taken seriously. How many Oprahs, Abby Wambachs, Ellens, Serena Williams have there been throughout history who never got the chance to shine? Men, for just a moment, imagine the stifled and angry and attacked feeling you get when you hear “all white men are trash.” Harsher things than that, by magnitudes of 100 or more, have occurred to nearly every group but you for, essentially, all of human history. If you are mad, it means you should help. Level the playing field. Be proactive. If you’re not with us, if you’re not working proactively, then in some small way you are part of the problem.

But back to my awakening. I was at someone’s house with a couple of sophomores from my school (I am a junior), and we were discussing parties and guest lists. One girl said several of her quieter friends often were not invited to parties because “the guys don’t think they’re hot … they don’t want to hook up with them.” Additionally, other “token” girls were brought to parties only to be fooled around with. They got drunk, got giggly, and generally found someone at the party they liked. They were barely talked to besides on those weekends. I was astounded. Like genuine, actual surprise. It was a feeling, I realized, I hadn’t had so intensely in months. I started to think. I had been to many of those parties. I had witnessed people hooking up, most of them under some sort of influence, if not several. I had seen the boys sitting on the couch at the TV while the girls talked to each other on the outskirts.

We think sexism is far away, but it is among us. Perpetuated and allowed by us. No, we aren’t going around saying “Women are inferior! Go back to the kitchen and make me my supper!” But we are creating and taking advantage of social systems which were founded on, and continue to uphold, sexism. Around three-quarters of the parties thrown are hosted by men. They are planned by men, the substances are provided by men, and the guest list is determined by men. It is almost a committee. The guys. I kept hearing this phrase. “The guys want this.” “The guys think that.” I realized, almost all at once, that the men of this lovely, liberal, socially conscious and educating school were creating a paternal oligarchy of recreation. They controlled all the power and tilted the scale in their favor, helping out buddies and making exceptions where needed. They controlled the flow of substances, and they controlled start and end times, which they were present before and after.

I know this seems crazy. To any guys out there, I really thought a lot like you until recently. I’ve been taking classes, hearing from speakers, and listening to my peers. When I really listened, I heard awful things. Things like this. Things like passive homophobia, racism, and prejudice. Things I hear every day now. Things I slowly am starting to correct. To call out. To eliminate. Men, and all, fight through your pain. Fight through your discomfort, your awkwardness, and your shame; on the other side, you will find mutual equality and a world of true potential.

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