The stereotype that keeps on giving


By Stephanie Vacchio


The “second sex,” as Simon de Beauvoir labeled women in 1949, has made strides arguably greater than many of the other disenfranchised groups our society has excluded. Women have fought their way to the tops of Fortune 500 companies, become powerful attorneys, headed emergency rooms at the country’s finest medical facilities, and had their work published in the nation’s most widely-read publications. One woman was even able to break down incredible barriers by running a respectable campaign for President.

But somehow, I still find that despite all of these incredible accomplishments, women continue to be seen as “the other sex.” We are still the disenfranchised gender, the gender that can work twice as hard for triple the time and still be the butt of jokes.

But why have women become the perpetual stereotype? Why have we come so far, only to find that we are standing in the same place? I cannot point fingers at every person (male or female) who continues to perpetuate the typecast of women as incompetent sex symbols, but I can start somewhere.

A student at Johns Hopkins University recently wrote an opinion piece called “Banging under the influence: The ups and downs.”

The student writes, “For guys, the appeal of this is obvious: it cuts out the hassle of having to pretend to care about a relationship and the protocols of a thing called ‘courtship’ if they want to sleep with a girl, it gives them an excuse to think with the other head.”

When I read that, I was in disbelief.

I understand that these may be the inner thoughts of some (let me repeat: some) men (and to be fair, even the thoughts of some women towards men), but they just shouldn’t be shared with others. Not only is what this student said offensive, but also absolutely unintelligent. His piece represents the most obvious and obnoxious sexism I have seen disguised under what he thinks to be a funny, satirical tone. Yes, he’s entitled to his opinion; I won’t argue that. But the publication of his article communicates that it is socially acceptable for women to be objectified. How offensive to look at a person independent of their intelligence, talent, or personality.

I am confused as to why women are equal to men on so many levels and yet, when it comes to sexuality, the stereotypes still run rampant. If a woman does the walk of shame on a Saturday morning she’s “easy,” “dirty,” or “a slut.”  This is nothing new—and that is my point! These labels are old—and have been proven to be odious and inaccurate time and time again.

So then why, I ask, do we still feel the need to objectify women? Shouldn’t our society be past that, especially young people my age who were born into a time when women could—and can—do anything men can do?

The possibilities for women are limitless but for some people, so is their ignorance. Add those two factors together and you get a group of both men and women who manage to continue the stereotype of sexuality despite whatever other boundaries are erased. Shame on the student at JHU for not knowing better. Satire or not, his words resonate and preach a view that should be obsolete.


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