“Barbie” was certainly not the groundbreaking feminist film that everyone had said it was. In fact, I found it deeply misogynistic for several reasons, and it was discomfiting for me to see it being lauded as a masterpiece when it so clearly perpetuated many of the most harmful mindsets that modern day women are forced to overcome.
Last week, Laur Kim ‘23 wrote a Letter to the Editor claiming that my article, “Lifting the FeMale Gaze,” “perpetuates rape culture.” Kim constructs her entire argument around hypotheticals and assumptions, making her claims hard to defend. Kim states explicitly that “the author’s [intentions] to lift other women up” are “clear” but then accuses them of doing precisely the opposite.
In this Letter to the Editor, Kim perverts my words to support her narrow agenda. Kim claims that my friend “confided” in me, but nowhere in my article did I give the impression that my friend was doing so. In the article, I used the term “friend” loosely, perhaps too loosely. I want to clarify here that this “friend” was a classmate with whom I had taken a number of classes and was “friendly,” but I would not consider us “friends.” I noted in my article that “she didn’t even seem wildly creeped out by her own comment,” which suggests that my classmate was not at all concerned about the situation she was relaying to me. Kim claims that “Pappas’ friend was likely describing an uncomfortable experience,” but she makes the incredible assumption that my friend was uncomfortable with the experience to begin with. As I stated explicitly in my article, my classmate’s tone was one of “nonchalance” and “indifference,” which is to suggest that she was not at all uncomfortable with her professor’s supposed ogling. I wrote that she “flattered herself,” implying that she was flaunting this claim and appeared to take pride in receiving high marks for this sort of perverted attention.
We, as former members of the Presidential Task Force on Campus Climate, write this statement with pained hearts as horrifying events unfold at our alma mater, and not for the first time. In the fall semester of 2017, several hate crimes took place on and off campus, prompting us to improve campus climate. We did not expect to be here three years since those events. President Martha Pollack appointed members of the Task Force to identify goals, strategies and values that would lend the university guideposts for how to respond ethically and effectively the next time racism would rear its ugly head.
The administration has avoided taking direct actions in response to the “Racist, Misogynistic Harassment Strikes Cornell S.A. Members After Disarmament Resolution,” and this has dashed the last of any lingering hopes we had. We want to remind the Cornell administration that our work was not performative, perfunctory or superficial.
The last year and a half (or so) have been marked by some uncharacteristic interpersonal drama, mostly in the form of internet harassment and (at least) half in response to columns that I’ve written. My Greek life column was met with the most serious antagonism, but I can’t deny that basically any piece of writing that I’ve put out in the world has resulted in angry emails, internet comments and some uncomfortable conversations. Recently, I’ve resorted to less controversial subjects, sinking my teeth into the heart-warming and uplifting spectrum of opinion writing. A few weeks ago, I read Mary Beard’s essay “The Public Voice of Women,” and there was a special type of familiarity in the pages. Beard details a history of women being told to stop talking.
With an open mind and two sides of the story, you’re bound to learn something new. Welcome to the zoo! This is a blog where both the Republican and Democratic
viewpoints are represented. The blog is not meant to sway you either way necessarily, just present both sides of the story. You may not agree with the whole article, but hey, you’re likely to agree with half!