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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Friday night as seen through eyes of a male American college student.

Published: October 28, 2005
Section: Opinions

When I finished reading In the Eye of the Typical College Guy, It All Boils Down to Sex in The Justice, I was a bit disturbed and very confused. I wasnt sure what part bothered me the most: That it depicted women (or shall I say females, as theyre so respectfully referred to in the article) as mindless objects that exist for the sole purpose of giving men something to hunt for, the awful blanket judgment of college guys, or the omission of gay, bisexual, or transgender people, who fit into neither of the pieces absurd black and white categories. What was a piece with such an archaic, flawed, and offensive view of gender roles doing in a Brandeis newspaper? At first I thought it was written as a joke, some sort of blatant satire that had flown completely over my head. I read it again. Nothing. No hint of sarcasm, no ironic ending, nothing remotely funny. Just a bunch of stereotypical mumbo jumbo all rolled into one very vague and unoriginal article.

Even after reading the piece twice and being shocked, I still thought I was overreacting. Its possible that I just snapped into angry feminist mode while reading. I shrugged it off for the time being. Days later, I received an email through one of my club lists about a meeting being held to discuss reactions to Ilyas article. Interested to see if other people were as annoyed with it as I was, I attended the meeting, hoping for unanimous outrage. When I walked in, I found guys and girls, gay, straight, whatever, from various Brandeis organizations;

many with teeth bared and ready to pounce, much like myself. While I was glad to see such a large turnout, I was thoroughly disappointed with the outcome. Ilya himself turned up for the meeting, which I give him a lot of credit for, as I can imagine how hard it is to walk into a room full of people who want to tear you apart for something youve written. Granted, it was good that he came in and that he could give reasons for writing the article, and a context. His presence forced us to censor our frustrations.

Some enlightenment did come out of this meeting, however. I figured out why the article was printed. Controversy. Not to present the viewpoint of one guy, as it might seem, but just to spark controversy. I didnt get the impression that even Ilya believed in this clichd alpha male jock-frat boy hybrid bullshit that he documented with such a blas tone. To be fair, the word typical was never used anywhere in the article itself, only the title, which was imposed not by the author but by The Justice. But the overall feeling that the article is referring to a generic male prototype is still present, as Ilya describes a Friday night as seen through eyes of a male American college student. Though the phrasing may be accidental, the way I understand it is that all male college students are one and the same, and you could just pick one at random and find the same results. Most of us at Brandeis, or who are a part of this countrys supposedly progressive society, dont hold this to be in any way true. There is no real normal male experience, and its demeaning to any man to say so, whether they fit the stereotype or not.

However untrue and offensive this article was to me and countless others, the most terrifying aspect is what it says about the larger picture of the world. This fact came to me after the rather tame meeting, when FMLA hosted a further, undiluted discussion during their weekly meeting. We discussed how alarming it was that this piece could be published and presented as something entirely valid. Clearly there are still some men who think that women were created to satisfy their most basic and animalistic desires. They also still believe in an apparent feminine-masculine dichotomy, where the man always plays the dominant role, and the woman is helpless and submissive to his every will. I shudder to think of such and exclusive, destructive, impossible, and utterly boring existence. Im shocked that anyone at this school, with its reputation for being unconventional to say the least, would take stereotypes like these as standard and permanent.

In case the article itself didnt bother me enough, some responses to it made me more livid. Those who took the piece as a joke blame Brandeiss ultraliberal man-hating feminists for not being able to see the humorous side. Im the first person to appreciate some good satire or some feminist bashing that is done all in good fun. But this article wasnt in any way funny, whether intentional or not. I also hate the idea that the only people offended by the ludicrous gender roles imposed by the article were women, as this is both false and unfair. First off, the article specifically targets women and portrays them in a threatening light. It should be a knee-jerk female reaction to be at least concerned by this. Guys should, and were, also insulted by their own one-dimensional representation. For those of you men out there who were disturbed by their sexs depiction and the victimization of women and are brave enough to admit it, youre golden. Speak up, we need your voices. And for anyone else who was enraged by Ilyas article, and more importantly, its implications about our society, be ready, be educated, and be aware. We will not take this lightly, and we will fight the perpetuation of such alarming stereotypes.