Deb Ball is for Faggots

The author prepares for Deb Ball 2010 (photo by Hanna Washburn ’14)

Two weekends ago, a few hours before Deb Ball, some boys yelled “faggot” at me. They were standing right across the lawn from my New Apt. I could see them from my doorway.

Earlier that day, a few leaves had blown through my front door. No one had vacuumed in the pre-Deb Ball chaos and so they remained, clinging to the carpet of my ground floor apartment. The leaves brushed up against my roommate’s exposed ankles when he emerged from the bathroom, wearing men’s knit socks and a breezy floral dress. My girlfriend and I quipped and cooed at him in his dress because sometimes, gender play is allowed to be silly. Deb Ball is fun.

As my roommate bemoaned his outfit’s lack of pockets, I rolled my eyes and pulled on my jacket. My girlfriend and I walked outside and joined hands. We headed off to a pregame in another New Apt. Ahead of us were six boys talking outside of B Block. They were wearing sweatshirts, baseball hats, jeans, and sneakers. None of them were dressed in drag. They looked like bros, which is a word I hate to use (see this post for my reasoning), but I’m not quite sure how else to describe them. They stood in a tight group, hands either gripping beers or jammed into pockets, and as we approached them they looked in our direction.

“Yo, Meg,” they shouted. I ignored them.

“Yo, Meg!” they insisted. They were loud. They seemed drunk. I didn’t make eye contact with them as we got closer.

“Deb Ball’s the night that everyone’s inner faggot comes out,” one called out.

Read on after the jump:

Some of them laughed. One of them yelled “faggot” in our direction again. They all kept drinking their beers. In my Deb Ball drag, I looked just like them except they were big—the six boys were athletic, broad muscles filling their matching hoodies.  My hoodie matched theirs too, except my shoulders sloped downward, leaving room between my biceps and shirt sleeves.

I can’t remember if I tightened my grip on my girlfriend’s hand or let it go as we passed them. The two of us have an unspoken way of letting go of each other when we sense the other feels uncomfortable showing same-sex attachment in public. Once, on the subway in Manhattan, there was a guy preaching in our train car. I think we both feared a religion-fueled lecture, and without talking we moved our legs so they weren’t touching. To the proselytizer, and to everyone else in the car, we became nothing but friends riding downtown together. But here, we should have been able to hold on to one another. It was cold out. We were on campus. We were 30 feet from my home. But I can’t remember if we felt safe enough to let the boys see us holding hands.

We opened the door to our friends’ apartment and told each other that what had just happened was fucked. We walked upstairs to a room of girls, dressed in various states of drag, and told them what had happened and they agreed that it was fucked. Hearing “faggot” yelled in our direction was scary, even if “dyke” would have made more sense, because I was dressed as a slight boy. Because I looked like an effeminate man. Because I date people of the same sex. Because any slur is scary when it’s hurled at you. Then we painted glitter and eyeliner and stubble on one another and went to Deb Ball and forgot.

Except when I walked out alone later that night, I was afraid again. I was afraid that the six boys in front of B block were going to yell at me. Ask me why I thought it was okay to dress up like a boy. To pretend I was a boy. To sleep with girls like I was a boy. Mostly I was afraid that they were going to tell me that I should sleep with one of them instead.

There wasn’t anyone standing outside of B Block as I walked home, but the leaves rustling against one another spooked me as I crept across the cement.

Last weekend, I was sitting in the VI, listening to some sweatshirt wearing boys in the booth next to me. They had been sitting there for a while, their glasses were mostly empty and their conversation had shifted toward the baseball game playing above the bar. Suddenly, one of them, arm firmly on the table, announced, “Boat shoes make you look fucking soft. You can’t look hard and wear boat shoes.”

I didn’t know them, and they weren’t talking to me, but I wanted to interrupt their conversation and ask them some questions. Like, “Why is it important for to you to look ‘hard?’ Do you need to look ‘hard’ so you can differentiate yourself from faggots?” Also: “Do you know that you sound like a asshole?” But I didn’t say anything. They were bigger than I was. I might run into them later while I was alone and they were drunk.

Let me be clear, by calling these boys bros, I don’t want to indict people who I associate with student athletes or Greek culture–I don’t hate bros. But I do want to say fuck you to gender-conformist, fag hating homophobes. I’m mad that you’re at Kenyon with me.

But, I don’t want you to leave. I will sacrifice my comfort, my feeling of physical safety, for you to live and eat and study near me. I’ll play pong with you. I might even buy you a beer. I would do those things for you because I think that exposure to people like me will make you realize that being a faggot is fine. That being soft is fine. And that Deb Ball is fun.

211 responses

  1. It’s so disappointing to hear of these things happening at Kenyon. You should always feel safe being who you are, especially up on the Hill.

    Keep fighting the good fight and take comfort in knowing that not all Kenyonites are douchebags.

  2. great article, becca. i’m sorry this happened to you and your girlfriend. sometimes it’s easy to forget that (although kenyon is uber liberal and its students are generally accepting) there are still super ignorant people on campus.

  3. Becca, you are my hero. It makes me so incredibly sad to hear that this is happening, but it feels good to know that there is someone like you on campus willing to share his/her thoughts and feelings on the matter. Keep writing pieces like this; people will listen.
    – Patience

  4. So elegantly distilled!! Reading this is inspiring. It’s bizarre and unfortunate that this would happen, but it’s hard to imagine someone who could handle it more productively.

  5. As a relatively broad-shouldered young man wearing both a sweatshirt and boat shoes, I’d like to apologize on behalf of all the drunken, angry, piece-of-shit guys that look just like me. Young manhood is a wild fucking ride, but nothing justifies belittling another in an effort to exert some sense of masculine power. Keep that pencil-stubble chin up, hold on to your lady’s hand, and know that the number of men who would punch those boys right in the face for you far outnumber the ones yelling “faggot.”

  6. I’ve had very similar experiences here and I’m always shaken by it because I feel like it shouldn’t happen here.

  7. It is true, the only way to stop shit like this is to educate ignorant people like them. Hold your head high and keep striving for equality.

  8. Well said, Becca. I love you very much and I’m sorry that anybody put you through that shit. Speaking out about it is so important, and you are brave for doing so. I admire you. Hugs from abroad.

  9. Hold you head high. You are a strong person. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and write an article like this. More power to you.


  10. Thank you, Becca. I’m horrified that this happened but glad you had the courage to endure it and write about it, making us all more aware so that we can fight hatred like this.

  11. This is the most important post I’ve ever read on The Thrill and the comments confirm that observation. The world is full of jerks so there are bound to be a few at Kenyon, but it is good to know that kind and sensitive and caring people outnumber them.

  12. Ok, ok, I get the circlejerk, this is obviously a sensitive topic. Your observation/comment about boat shoes and being “hard” seemed a bit ad-hominem. You’ve made it clear that you don’t like bros, despite your numerous claims to the contrary, but was that diatribe about their shoe comments necessary? It seemed as though you were just taking the piss.

    • Hey Hologram Tupac,

      I think the idea is, why do dudes need 2 b ‘hard’? In that sentiment is the idea that guys shouldn’t be feminine (literally: “you can’t dress a certain way or you look gay/feminine/soft”). The boat shoes guy was policing gender, just like the guys shouting “faggot” were policing sexuality. I thought the inclusion of that observation in the article usefully illustrated that these similarities may be part of a larger, problematic culture at Kenyon.

      No homo w/ the circlejerk tho!

      • Well, I think the point is that the boat shoes making you look “soft” diatribe is kind of tangential to the rest of her post. I could be wrong, but it sort of seems like she just sort of overheard another conversation, and given that the context isn’t clarified, it’s hard to view that conversation in the same negative light as the deplorable behavior directed toward her on the night of the deb ball.

        Having said that, this is a really great article and I can assure you that the vast majority of Kenyon students have your back here. Keep your head up kid.

  13. Thank you for writing this article. You are incredible Becca Hafter- keep up the good work, you strong wonderful woman you.

  14. People will always have their opinions on everything. You’re entitled to your views just as everyone else is. You’re in for a hard time outside Kenyon if you let every insult get under your skin. Good luck

    • In the working world, you’re protected from being called a “faggot” (at least in California). Calling someone a faggot isn’t just an insult, it’s hateful. Do you go around calling Black people N*****? No, you don’t. This is no different, even if she chooses how she wants to dress, you don’t choose to be gay, or who to love. So, whether you have an opinion or not, calling someone a faggot in your post-Kenyon years can land you in trouble.

      As a gay man, I dealt with being called “faggot”, not so much in college (I looked like a bro), but definitely in high school. I’m confident in who I am, what I’ve accomplished, and surround myself with some pretty amazing people, so if/when I do hear comments like faggot, either aimed at me, or others, I understand that it’s coming from people that are ignorant and have no self-confidence about themselves — and it’s a sign of weakness and shows a total lack of character.

      • Hate is part of human nature. Hate of the unknown, the different, and the threatening will exist as long as humans do. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go around slinging out slurs, I’m merely saying having a thick hide won’t hurt you. People outside the workplace will call you a faggot, and there’s simply not a thing you can do about it. Restrict first amendment rights? No. Learn how to avoid people you don’t like. Whether you like it or not, assholes exist everywhere, and for different reasons. I couldn’t care less whether someone is gay or not, it doesn’t affect me in the fucking slightest. Do what you want with your life; simply don’t mess with mine.

        You readers obviously misread my message. Read it again, but without the bias of thinking I’m an asshole. The problem with us kids these days is how much we perceive everything to be a goddamn slight. Sure, I agree it would be a perfect world if we none had their feelings hurt. But come back to reality, please; we are imperfect beings living in an imperfect world. Time spent trying to change the minds of the homophobes and racists is time that could be spent not caring about them. They have their twisted views, and thats the way it is. Who cares what others think of you? Be yourself, be secure with who you are. If you know who you are in your heart, no one can hurt you.

        Kenyon is a diverse place, and thats why we’re great. Even us “Bros” have dreams and aspirations. I’m a blue-eyed, white male (as I’m sure you all have guessed) and I care not what you’ll say about me. If you think I’m a homophobe, kindly jump off a bridge.

        This is my opinion, and I’m sharing it with you. Share yours with me. But show some respect for another person. That’s what it all comes down to, respect. Live with people who value diversity and respect; don’t live with narrow-mindedness.

        Build a wall around your feelings and you’ll go far. I’ve faced down adversity and intolerance in my own life; and I’m better for it.

      • In reply to Anonymous (12:17):
        Sure, having a thick hide is great and everything, but it can’t get you everywhere. What is slightly strange about your comment is when you write “The problem with us kids these days is how much we perceive everything to be a goddamn slight,” and “Who cares what others think of you? Be yourself, be secure with who you are. If you know who you are in your heart, no one can hurt you.” Being called a ‘faggot’ or a ‘dyke’ (whether you are one or not) is not a slight, you’re right there, it’s worse.
        I’m queer, and I’ve been in this type of situation. Let me say this: it’s horrifying; it’s scary. You’re thinking about what has happened to others like you, people who have been beaten, sexually assaulted, killed, all with a situation that begins with words like ‘faggot’. You’re thinking ‘what if I’m next?’ You’re scared out of your mind. If you’re on the streets in the city at night (where I was) and not at Kenyon, it’s worse. You try to keep walking and hope they don’t follow you, hope they don’t continue. Because what can you do if they do? In most cases you’re not as strong, and confidence can only get you so far.
        The majority people who don’t fall in the LGBTQ+ spectrum never feel this fear. They can’t understand the visceral reaction we have to it.
        Anonymous, you’ve faced adversity, and so have we. I know I’m not better for it, and I never will be. Not when that adversity could kill me, could worse than kill me. However, I do respect your view. Thanks for sharing your ideas, just as I share mine.

      • Name calling isn’t anything; they’re words people created. This is child play. Bet most people here have never been seriously bullied; this is nothing compared to what bullied individuals have to face.

      • “Name calling isn’t anything” on the internet, MAYBE.
        Which is where you may have experienced much name calling, self proclaimed “rustler of jimmies.”

    • I hate this short-sighted, ‘pragmatic’ view of situations like this. Yeah, how naive of the author to try to imagine a space in which she feels comfortable even though she’s queer…

  15. You and Slam Piece are the shit. Don’t let them get you down. I’m so sorry to hear this happened to you. You’re both fabulous humans and neither you nor anyone else deserves that shit. However, I’m really glad/impressed that you have the courage and strength to bring attention to something that has no place on this campus. You da bomb digs girl, keep on keepin on.

  16. How coincidental that as I was listening to Same Love by Macklemore and I saw this. The combination was incredibly powerful.
    Hero Status achieved Becca.

    • that song literally touches upon every aspect of the political/social debate concerning gays, and i absolutely love that macklemore and people like becca are strong enough and confident enough to stand for what they believe in, regardless of hateful (and super ignorant) opposition. the best revenge is success, and hopefully, the world will soon be rid of homophobia. articles like this one and songs like “same love” are definitely steps in the right direction.

  17. Thanks for this, Becca. These things happen more than people’d like to believe. Especially when Kenyon’s supposed to be a “safe space”.

  18. This is the best article I’ve read on the Thrill so far. That being said, I think its important to touch upon another topic: the misperception that Kenyon is “uber liberal” and “generally accepting.” Yes, most people at Kenyon are liberal and accepting, but there is still a persistent tradition of wealthy, white, elitist and conservative young men attending the college every year. Kenyon is not Vassar, Oberlin, Carleton, and so on. Kenyon, in my opinion, is still tainted by its past as a college for privileged kids, many of whom do not come from liberal pockets of the U.S. Tossing words like “faggot” or “nigger”, fucking bitches, Jew this, Jew that, how messed up it is we have to pave a path for kids with disabilities rocking our comfy little world — these attitudes are more common that one thinks at Kenyon. Even if it is a small school, it is still very cliquey, and one only has to think a little harder to realize that when you walk around, you know a lot of people…but you also don’t know a lot of people. A feminist who spends her time at Crozier, for example, is most likely not going to interact with these “bros” in a social context, and thus will have a perception of the school that is based on her own experiences, which is that Kenyon is a liberal and open place and everyone is like this because the school is so small (though, I am not saying the author of the article believes this, I am just addressing the general perception of Kenyon culture). But there are more racist, sexist, and simply dark things happening on campus than we know, and the administration does an excellent of downplaying the fact that a college with so many privileged people from private school backgrounds come to Kenyon. Elitism breeds intolerance, and no matter what your liberal professors or friends might otherwise try to tell themselves, Kenyon is pretty damn elitist (just browse through a recent alum magazine or watch the new “Liberal Arts” film). In the past 4 years, as a recent alum, I can recall more instances than I’d like of elitism and intolerance — a holocaust denier being invited to speak on campus (and then being canceled after negative reactions and some bad PR, so a lack of tolerance on both sides), flyers being distribute referencing “jungle fever,” hazing from many campus groups (not just Greeks)…

    This elitism goes for both liberals and conservatives on campus — liberals who pat themselves on the back for flaunting their high and mighty liberal opinions on Allstu, or the asshole conservative who yells “faggot” because for him, Kenyon was supposed to be a school where you can be with people who say faggot without reprise. Kenyon is of two worlds, and there is a clash of cultures that too many students ignore under the pretense that they are getting a “liberal” education that is supposed to diversify opinions ( and make you feel special and important for receiving this education in the process), when really one is just in a bubble within a bubble.

    So, we can shake our heads at this incident and talk about how its fucked up that a gay couple has to deal with slurs. But we have to ask a greater question about how to solve Kenyon’s identity crisis, and how an incident such as this one is representative of crisis.

    • “but there is still a persistent tradition of wealthy, white, elitist and conservative young men attending the college every year.”

      -Because every MAN here from a white, wealthy, and conservative background is an elitist.
      Do no women come from that background, or is it only the men we have to worry about?

      “these attitudes are more common that one thinks at Kenyon.”


      “the asshole conservative who yells ‘faggot'”

      -Fantastic deduction. He said faggot, therefore he is conservative. It’s only bad when they stereotype us.

      • good post by 14′. you can’t fight intolerance by being totally, unabashedly intolerant. my god, you make it seem like all conservatives – and men in general – are violent, racist, misogynistic monsters.

      • Fantastic deduction? *Than? Jesus, get your head out of your ass and read what I wrote about this elitism. This is an internet forum, not your fucking Shakespeare essay. Also, I’m a guy who loves beer, fucking girls, sports and all that good stuff. I focused on men in my comment because it is almost always men who get in these situations. Yeah, its little more common for guys to yell faggot across the lawn than women. Also, you’re right, I am assuming they are conservative, since conservatives in the U.S. are more likely to be homophobic than liberals. What a fucking stupid assumption, right? Again, you miss the point of my post, which is to say that instead of focusing on random incidents like the one Becca wrote about and inevitably tsk tsking and moving on, we should start to focus on Kenyon’s identity and its sontinously changing and conflicting cultures and demographics.

      • Thanks for this post. As a white young man from an upper middle class family who is also a Republican, I never realized until now that I was racist, mysoginist, and homophobic. Kenyon should never have let someone like me in.

      • Pretty sure we are mistaking elitism for pretentiousness, which is in fact a problem at this school.

        Your logic: Over half of the American prison population is black or hispanic. I saw a minority on middle path today, so logically I assumed that he is a criminal. “What a fucking stupid assumption, right?”

        You want me to get my head out of my ass? You, who by all indications uses the phrase ” focus on Kenyon’s identity” as a euphemism for get the Kenyon rich kids (read: elitists) the hell out of Gambier.

      • You all have good points, too bad mine our better.


        1. is full of rich white kids
        2. is far from diverse
        3. is full of Jews
        4. full of hipsters
        5. is not a place for disabled students;
        6. mostly enrolls pretentious intolerant douches (not very open for a liberal arts college)
        7. is far from the best school that you can attend

        there are other problems as well:
        1. women are just as sexist as men
        2. people like to hate (haters gonna hate)
        3. conservatives aren’t all monsters

      • Yes, women are just as sexist as men. Yes, it’s not all conservatives who yell slurs, there are liberals too. Yes, it isn’t just men who do it (but many fewer women do).
        This isn’t about Kenyon’s identity, which is inevitably brought up in every issue, from outsourcing to race and class discussions, this is about society. People don’t just start calling people ‘faggots’ in college, they learn it somewhere.
        Who cares about elitism or pretentiousness? Everyone is pretentious in some regard, people will be elitist. Elitism and pretentiousness doesn’t have to hurt other people, they’re not inherently bad–though they often turn bad. Becca’s story is about personal experiences, opinion. It’s not a journalistic account of something, it’s not about facts. It’s about what goes on in real life, and we can’t break that down into fancy words and platitudes, because fancy words and platitudes don’t tell the truth.

    • As a feminist who manages Crozier, I disagree with your remark that those who choose to socialize with like-minded others are unaware of the intolerance on this campus. I don’t think that everyone at Kenyon is liberal and open, but I, like most people here (whether they are feminists, hipster poets, bros, or whatever other stereotype anyone can name), choose to participate in groups where I feel respected and safe, and where I can work with others to build a community that we feel is more inclusive, safe, and kind. I don’t participate in groups like Crozier and POV because I want to be in a bubble where everyone is liberal, but rather because I’m all too aware of the really troubling incidents and attitudes like the ones you’ve named, whether those incidents and attitudes come from elitism or not. Because they’ve happened to my friends. Because I don’t always feel safe here.

      I also disagree with the implicit claim that other, more liberal colleges do not have these problems, or that our problem is an identity crisis. Of course I think that Kenyon needs more socioeconomic diversity (and fewer assholes–though that’s not to imply that the two are connected). But. A group of people harassing a cross-dressed girl in a same-sex couple is not an identity crisis at Kenyon College. It is a cultural crisis in which some humans believe it is okay to make other humans feel unwanted and unsafe, and the way to address that problem is with individual stories and personal connection.

      • Girls in jeans and flannel isn’t really “cross-dressing” is it…
        Even girls holding hands isn’t abnormal.
        I see this everyday.

        It takes more guts/balls for a man to wear a dress.

        I bet there’s some information that’s left out.
        Were you making out in public?

      • Colleen- you are amazing, as is of course Becca and I thank you both for the heart and commitment you both have in our community.

        Also, who da fuck cares if they were making out in public. They have just as much right to show love for each other in public as any one else and no one deserves to be harassed because of it. Your comment Rustler is implying that if they were in fact making out, they deserve what they get. Thats bull and you know it.

  19. I really vibe with this article. As someone who could be called a bro and is also a supporter of “gay marriage” (or should I say marriage equality) and a proponent of LGBT rights, I think that the boys who yelled such hate filled words at you are plain stupid and eventually their own ignorance will catch up with them. Hopefully they are “hard” enough to exist in a culture that is rapidly leaving their unsophisticated opinions behind.

  20. “But I do want to say fuck you to gender-conformist, fag hating homophobes. I’m mad that you’re at Kenyon with me.” – I wish they were not at Kenyon with you. I wish you felt safer there at night. I wish there was something I could say to make it better. all I know is you ROCK for expressing yourself in such a comprehensive way. I hope things improve.

    • I’m so proud of Becca for sharing her story. It has resulted in a great discussion on your campus. Now that this has all been aired, move forward, create the change in that Kenyon culture. Challenge everyone not to be a bystander, but to intervene and address these incidents in a constructive way. This took courage and yes, Becca, you are a hero.

  21. Firstly, to address the article: As a straight male who does not consider himself ‘uber-liberal’ I have used language like this in the past. I believed using bigoted words in the company of friends gave me a free-pass. ‘I wasn’t using them maliciously’, I would think. Articles like yours Becca, make me uncomfortable, and for good reason. You are strong and courageous for forcing people, like myself, to face the power of the language we choose to use. I was raised in a certain milieu, in an environment where using words like f***** and other bigoted epithets was a vehicle to popularity, laughs, and admiration. It’s not easy to unlearn these habits when they have been engrained since an early age. How easily I can forget that these epithets can be destructive. It’s not your job to remind me of this, but you have, and for that, thank you.

    To address Anon’s (9:43) comment: I agree with a lot of it. Kenyon does have a past of privilege, but one has to ask where the school is going in the future. As one professor has described it, Kenyon has been a ‘gentile fossil’, a ‘living fossil’ in a world of industrial education. Kenyon’s privilege is, uncomfortably, absolutely a part of that. The recent decision to outsource of maintenance staff points to a worrying trend — Kenyon is being neutered, we’re corporatizing while at the same time, selling our soul. What does this soul consist of? This is a difficult conversation to have because as anon points out, Kenyon’s soul in the past, has been tainted. Do we want to depart with our past completely?

    I don’t want to move this conversation too far away from Becca’s important post, but the underlying causes of these incidents might not be so complex. Human nature, is in many ways, fucked. People are fucked. We face an uphill struggle, always, in fighting for logic and justice. Trying to find the cause of incidents like this by parsing Kenyon’s history won’t be very fruitful. At least not in my mind.

  22. Becca,

    When you imply that a boy who expresses his opinion on boat shoes is going to drunkenly harass you later if you engage him in a discussion, it borders on the same lack of understanding and acceptance that the boy who directed the hateful, homophobic slur at you the previous night exhibited.

    I support your cause and admire your bravery, but the paragraphs about your experience a the VI, weaken this articles purpose and credibility.

      • I think this article is amazing, but I have to agree ONLY with the fact that the VI piece may derail the true impact of this piece.

      • Totally agreed, but great article otherwise. I assume that part was added purely out of frustration. I’d also like to add that I’m not sure if her attitude is tantamount to that of the homophobes who harassed her; at least she didn’t openly express hatred toward those individuals (until this post, that is).

    • Nope, she expressed mild anxiety at being vocal about their homophobia, which seems valid based on her experience. This is not to say they *will* harass her, it’s to say they might. She’s not accusing them of doing that, she’s acknowledging her own subjective perception of their disposition, and a potentiality that then qualifies her experience.

      This doesn’t weaken the argument, rather it fits well within the narrative. It’s a coherent comparison to the more aggressive guys who shouted “faggot”, and acknowledgment of this negative culture of homophobia that expresses itself in a range of ways, some more forceful than others.

      • She admittedly knows nothing about the guys that made the boat shoes comment, and has absolutely no idea what they were talking about. Honestly, that sounds like a conversation straight out of It’s Always Sunny. Who knows what the context was. Point being, she is judging the guys sitting next to her without knowing who they are/what they were talking about, calls them assholes, and then implies that they’re going to come after her later. I wouldn’t call that mild anxiety; she just publicly expressed how much she dislikes those individuals. In those two paragraphs, she is being somewhat intolerant.

        Again, otherwise a great, great article. As I said, I’m sure the diatribe in question was purely out of frustration, and nobody can fault her for that given the way she was treated earlier.

  23. The world is so unfair. I feel like everyone is out to get me. My life is so hard. I feel so trapped in this discriminatory society. I’m beginning to fall into the black abyss; a violent tornado of depression and hopelessness. My dads both say I’m being dramatic, but even they fail to understand the misery that is my life. I wish the people in Ethiopia who are starving and lacking in clean water would pay attention to my plight. Maybe the tuberculosis-ridden Haitians will understand…. But probably not. I bet the last thing that the victims of Aurora are thinking about right now is the injustice that I experience everyday – how selfish. I wish people would pay more attention to me and my problems for once. Kenyon, with its clean water, sufficient local food plan, top-level liberal arts education, suitable living quarters, beautiful campus, and superior athletic facilities, fails to meet my expectations of a utopian college experience, stress-free life, and complete avoidance of adversity. I just don’t know how I will be able to continue….

    • The old “Your problems with x (homophobia, racism, sexism, whatever) aren’t that big a deal! There are people STARVING IN AFRICA” argument is as tired and imperialist as your comment is dismissive, pretentious, and hurtful.

    • Cheer up! Things aren’t as bad as they seem. I know the world may get you down sometimes, but you really just need to stay positive! Sometimes when I haven’t had a drink of water in 5 or 6 days, my older brother who raised me since my mother died in childbirth always tells me to stiffen up my upper lip and keep my head up because it could always be worse! Isn’t it so nice to be able to wake up and see the sunrise, and be thankful for the opportunity to live another day? That being said, I would never have the audacity to try and attempt to understand what you must be going through, and I apologize if it came off that way. One final thought: when the stomach pains get really really bad, I just think of grandmama sleeping with the soldiers for just one more loaf of bread. Hope the burdens of your day are released!

      • Let me guess, you are male. Try growing up and living in America’s rape culture and then maybe you’d understand where Becca is coming from.

      • This whole American rape culture thing is BS. I am not saying women don’t get raped but acting like its a common and socially accepted thing is ridiculous. Not to mention ignores how many guys have been screwed over by sexist date rape laws and false accusations of real rape. (This happened last year at this school btw)

      • I agree, 12:54 anonymous. I’m a woman, and rape is absolutely an awful, awful thing, but I think the problems in America are more associated with a culture of violence in general rather than a culture of violence against women. Men are victims of homicide far more often than women, for instance, and the idea of a woman raping or sexually abusing a man is seen as laughable by many people. I think violence in general needs to be addressed, rather than focusing too much on female victimhood.

      • Re: Todd Akin….what Akin said was absolutely moronic, but do realize that false accusations of rape do exist. It’s absolutely hard to judge in a he-said, she-said scenario, but it seems wrong to automatically give the alleged victim the benefit of the doubt.

      • Regarding the “real rape” comment, I believe there is a difference between ‘No means No’ rape and ‘2 people got drunk and both made a bad decision to have sex and now the male gets punished for it’ cases of date rape

    • The old “Your problems with x (racism, sexism, homophobia etc.) aren’t that big a deal! There are people STARVING IN AFRICA!!” argument is as tired and imperialist as your comment is dismissive, pretentious, and hurtful.

    • #firstworldproblems amirite??????!????

      But seriously, this comment is cute. Adorbs. I love it.

      You know what? yeah, things could be worse. I could be a starving child in Africa or whatever other argument you can think of. Or maybe I could be an educated young woman attending a private liberal arts college in Ohio who realizes that the world is a shitty place because still, STILL, members of this community prove to be homophobic and xenophobic jerkoffs. Becca has every right to voice her concerns over what happened to her on the night of deb ball. Get over yourself.

      • No doubt, but the swamp fox also has the same rights. get over yourself. the world is not a shitty place, it is an average place, because there is nothing better that exists to compare it to. However, I bet africa is a shitty place relative to kenyon college. and who are you to speculate on who the swamp fox is?

    • That’s like if some kid spits on me for being a Jew, I get angry, and he goes, ‘hey at least it’s not the Holocaust.’ There are degrees of fuckedness and Becca’s experience registers on that spectrum. To ignore that is to be a callous jackass.

    • Really mature of you to drag in the “hierarchy of suffering” argument. Now just imagine where we would be if nobody ever tried to improve anything because, hey it could be worse! I certainly hope you’ve never complained about anything. And you know, there are probably people who’ve had it worse than starving kids in Africa, too. So let’s not judge anyone else’s suffering against our own, ok?

      To quote Viktor Frankl: “To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of a gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

  24. I think your article is important and well-written, but this needs to be addressed through the administration and the actual guys themselves now if it has not been already. There is no place for this at Kenyon, or anywhere, whatsoever.

    I have graduated, but this makes me sick and uncomfortable and angry.

  25. I find this whole incident highly disturbing. I wholeheartedly agree that Kenyon should be a safe place, a place where you can be who you are without fear of being anything but equal. But respect and equality goes both ways. Imagine if the roles were reversed, and the author stated, “They looked like f******, which is a word I hate to use (see this post for my reasoning), but I’m not quite sure how else to describe them.” We all would be outraged, myself included. In this article the term “bro” is tied to hugely negative imaging and reinforces stereotypes. You are making the readers associate the way the men looked with the hurtful actions of those men. This is not equality. Those men said awful things, but I fail to see what they looked like having anything to do with how they think.

    We live in a world where we should be judged by the content of our character, not by the color of our skin, the clothes we wear, or who we love.

    I think its unfortunate that in writing an important article about how hurtful homophobic remarks can be, bro-phobic comments had to be made.

    Kenyon is meant to be a safe place not just for people of all sexual orientations, not just for people all races, but for all people. Bros included. Lets make Kenyon a safe place for everyone.

      • Considering how hostile Kenyon can be to, say, conservatives – not just the minority of asshole-conservatives who say hurtful things, but perfectly peaceful people expressing their opinions in a respectful way – yeah, there is some basis here, anyway. Kenyon’s population is a predominantly liberal, hipster campus, and can be hostile to those who don’t fit that profile…and that includes bros. I completely agree with anonymous up above. Derogatory language shouldn’t be tolerated, but such terrible incidences as Becca experienced should not be used to villify any group of people.

      • I don’t think conservatives at Kenyon are afraid of being in front of their own homes at night, but if you say so.

      • Look, it doesn’t matter whether or not something is a “thing”. It matters whether you’re using language to perpetuate negative stereotypes and to hurt people. Fighting for tolerance should not involve bashing other groups of people, whether or not there is any kind of systematic prejudice against them in place.

      • Are you saying that the law being homophobic justifies stereotyping other people or judging them on how they dress?

      • “Look, it doesn’t matter whether or not something is a “thing”. It matters whether you’re using language to perpetuate negative stereotypes and to hurt people. Fighting for tolerance should not involve bashing other groups of people, whether or not there is any kind of systematic prejudice against them in place.”

        This right here should be totally agreeable for everyone. This is so spot on, and yet there’s still a small group of individuals asserting that it’s okay to be a dick to certain groups of people. Nobody is saying it’s the same exact thing, but we should all be able to acknowledge that intolerance and stereotyping others is in no way productive. Why can’t that be agreed upon?? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

    • Yo, as a lesbian, and a wgs major at kenyon I would like to say: I don’t judge people who look like or act like ‘bros’ based on their outward appearance and my experiences at kenyon have enforced my opinion that many of them and yes even many ‘frat boys’ here at kenyon are more accepting of me being openly gay than many people who are liberals, biddies, nerds, ect. Everyone deserves to be judged on their character and opinions and not clothing choice or stereotypes. Of course, I don’t assume you hate women or gays because you call yourself a bro just like I hope you don’t assume that because im a wgs major I hate bros. Im invested in equal rights for everyone and I agree that bros get dumped on a lot because there are a few jerks in every every every group. But thank you for standing up and saying something, thank you to all the bros who also agree that calling people faggots or using gay as a put down is wrong. One of my favorite parts about being openly gay is really seeing how many people do support us and how different we all appear on the outside.

  26. Well written pieces like this were one of the major reasons I appreciated my time at Kenyon. Becca, this is a very admirable perspective despite such unacceptable behavior. Those actions are rather unfortunately indicative of where we live and the time we still live in, despite the progress we have seen. However, it is articles like this that fuel progress. Beautifully written!

  27. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Some Christians can believe homosexuality is wrong, and some homosexuals can believe Christianity is a group of crazy conservatives. No one should be able to impose their ideas upon another, and what this group of drunk people did, (the fact that they are men shouldn’t really matter), is horrible and sad. But what people seem to not realize is that the same thing happens to the other side regularly on this campus. As a Conservative at Kenyon I am assaulted daily with pro LBGT, and feminist rhetoric. Oftentimes it serves to demean and ridicule those that don’t conform to its desires, just as the word “faggot” or dyke” does for the other side. Imagine if your rhetorical counterparts put up advertisements for events all about how being LBGT is a crime against humanity and god. I am unsure of the details, but it seems as if the college itself uses money to support LBGT groups and Crosier House for women, where are the defense of marriage groups and safe spaces for men? You might say that these don’t exist because there is no interest in them, but I know a number of people who would be very interested in these organizations, but know better then to start them. Kenyon isn’t welcoming to conservative ideas, and neither are many other schools. Proposals have been floated at less liberal schools than ours and been destroyed by anti-male sentiment( Men who want to be Men have little place in the society we have built here outside of bro culture, and that is a problem that needs to be addressed.
    P.S. Conforming to gender roles shouldn’t make me hate worthy

    • this idea that oppressive ideologies are protected under “bipartisanship”, that we need to be respectful of bigoted religious beliefs because they’re religious, is a ridiculous position fed to America directly from the asshole of fox news

      • Well they must have good company because most of the responses here, and your reply are rather bigoted themselves. You certainly don’t seem open to other ideas then your own.

      • Good question, and my answer is vaguer then I’d like but I have a few papers due in the morning so this will have to do. Heteronormative males, Masculinists(not the women should be subservient group, but the ones who hold “the belief that equality between the sexes requires the recognition and redress of prejudice and discrimination against men as well as women.” Guys who simply fall into, and believe in fulfilling traditional gender roles. If you look at the first 4 paragraphs of my link, you can get more of an idea of why a masculine area would be nice.

      • @ T
        The lack of a clear definition of “men wanting to be men”reeks of an argument that is unformed and not thought out.

      • so do you have a counterargument to this clearly poorly thought out quick argument? or are you just upset a quick forum response doesn’t fulfill a Kenyon English Majors literary requirements

      • Because the “privilege” of being a white male means that any and all concerns they may have are irrelevant.

        You’re just being ignorant.

    • I completely agree. I’m a pro-gay-marriage (moderate) liberal, and though I don’t identify as conservative, the viciously anti-conservative atmosphere on campus makes me very uncomfortable. I have been in so many classes where students and professors alike mock conservative viewpoints; it is biased and extremely disrespectful. Kenyon’s brand of liberalism tends to be extremely close-minded….and no one bats an eye at derogatory slurs against conservatives.

      That being said, Becca, you should not have had to go through this experience. No one should have to suffer that kind of disrespect.

    • hey “t.” Kenyon doesn’t support an assault on conservative individuals. Kenyon supports specific organizations that strive to create safe places for those who feel that they need them. These “safe spaces” on campus are not closed to anyone. Their intention is to foster a sense of acceptance and support for those who use them. However, if you feel like these safe spaces are alienating or even attacking your identity and making you feel unsafe, there are safe rooms on campus that you can be directed to through calling the security switchboard. These Kenyon-sponsored organizations strive for visibility- not to assault those with a different viewpoint, but to create a sense of community for those who need it. This is more than protecting feelings. It is creating an atmosphere of safety. Kenyon is committed to providing this sense of safety for those in need.

      Why is there no safe space specifically for men? Because “men” are not a threatened group on campus. An individual man, however, should not feel alienated or abandoned by Kenyon- the resources are there.

      • What is a threatened group on campus? How would you define it? Please elaborate on your comment that men are not threatened on campus, in comparison to women, etc. And at least historically speaking, men are turned away from rape counseling centers and domestic abuses shelters constantly. Just for being men.

    • First of all nobody cares whether or not you conform to gender roles. The point is that nobody should care.

      I think there’s a distinction that needs to be made in this situation. You are upset because there aren’t Kenyon-funded groups for your beliefs (defense of marriage, etc). That is fine. (Also as a registered Republican, I am well aware of the disrespect many conservatives face on this campus). However you’re comparing it to Crozier and Unity, which are groups for a different kind of cause; these are related to something innate. People can’t stop being gay and I can’t stop being a woman. But yours are for beliefs (issues, really, so perhaps fleetingly on the radar) and those can change. What I’m saying is that it’s unfair to criticize the school for not going out of its way to make you feel better about your choices, particularly when you’re comparing it to support for disenfranchised groups.

      • Anonymous 2:54–
        How many times are you verbally or physically threatened for being straight? How many times are you blatantly disrespected because you like girls? How much do you need to organize political change because you’re straight? Really, I think it’s a lot less than being LGBTQ+. In most places you’re considered an outsider if you’re queer, more so if you’re transgender, I might argue even more so if you’re asexual. It’s much harder to join discussions about many heteronormative topics if you’re queer. You just don’t fit; you feel awkward. It’s like being boy at 13 and hanging out with a group of 13 year old girls painting their fingernails and trying to paint your’s. Except this happens all the time.

      • Being straight? not so often. I guess in some ways being hit on by a gay guy can be physically threatening to some people, but i think that applies to everybody getting hit on by someone they don’t like not just strait men. But How often am I verbally of physically threatened for being a man? interpreting the exact phrasing of that loosely. it happens at Kenyon all of the time. In class i have had a teacher here berate me for not conforming to their feminist ideals, and give me bad grades when I write anything that speaks up for men’s rights. There are feminists who fall over themselves in telling me I’m ignorant and stupid when I bring statistics, sources and logic to a debate, without having a single counterpoint. I mean look at forum replies to this post. A large number of responders just shout insults at anyone who doesn’t agree with their opinions. That is not to see all Feminists and LBGT activists are Illogical assholes, just like not all bro’s are douche-bags, but it happens on both sides of the aisle. I am blatantly disrespected as a man all the time. Our entire gender has been turned into some joke,(see boys are stupid throw rocks at them, and most male tv show protagonists in the last 20 years) and because women were wronged for so long, and men know that they were wronged, men take it. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, and it is taking away strong intelligent masculine role models for growing boys.

    • Kenyon will never fund those groups because they’re ignorant and closed-minded, and a progressive liberl-arts school such as Kenyon will never condone such ignorance.

      • So a mens house, by dint of being for men, which is the only clarification I gave there, is inherently ignorant and closed minded? you sound rather ignorant and closed minded yourself.

    • i’m sorry if you feel that you are “assaulted” by pro LGBT and feminist rhetoric. it must be so hard to feel like you are being ridiculed for refusing to “conform” to those desires. I have no idea what that is like. if you feel that you are being disrespected for your views, do something productive about it. please do not equate your experience as a conservative “man who wants to be a man” at Kenyon to that of someone who is openly verbally assaulted for being who they are. no kind of hatred is ok, and any person who feels its effects should be free to express their discomfort, but the comparison you make is ignorant and hurtful.

      • Exactly, your groups are constantly assaulted by the right, but did you skip the day in kindergarten that said “two wrongs don’t make a right”? This is a forum for discussion. he made sure to state that what happened to her was a horribly sad thing. but in the end it was just name calling. which as this forum shows, happens quite a bit to people that disagree with the left’s views on sexuality as well as to those who disagree with the right

    • T, 11:30–
      By pro-LGBTQ rhetoric do you mean posters taped to the benches on Middle Path? Put up your own posters, hold a forum to discuss issues you’re interested in. I have always wondered why there isn’t any posters for opposing view points around Kenyon. Be the first one to do it! All it takes is initiative.

      • The point is that most of the pro-LGBTQ rhetoric that has been posted here is intolerant (and frankly, rather rude) toward “bros,” “guys who want to be guys,” and conservatives in general, when the target should be the baseball players who harassed this poor woman. Can’t that at least be agreed upon?

    • T makes a great point.

      There are many groups that are very self-centered and narrow minded.

      Sexual Misconduct Advisors call people rapists for not supporting their cause.

      International House not supporting international events (there are currently no international students in the house right now; how does this make sense?)

      Crozier women being offended when a straight male speaks

      Some other things:

      Racial comments by professors. (ex: you must be on financial aid because you’re colored)

      Unity House has gone down the shitter too. My first year, it was a place for much discussion and fun parties. People went to enjoy the atmosphere and to learn about the problems LGBT people face. Now it’s NOTHING.

      Constant Conservative bashing. It happens everywhere on campus.

      Liberal students (mostly LGBT) intimidating people to vote for OBAMA. It’s not just about you. Obama may support the LGBT community, but what about other issues? Don’t just vote for OBAMA just because he’s supporting the LGBT cause.

      We are by no means accepting on this campus.
      You can see this clearly in the comments; too many hypocritical posts on here.
      Narrow-minded pretentious douches all over.

      • on a conservative college campus like Kenyon, men are oppressed far more then women. And they can’t even speak up because their voices are drowned out by harpies crying out over the past.

  28. I think my dog might be a homosexual. It is constantly humping same-sex dogs, but shows little interest for dogs of the opposite sex. Any similar experiences?

  29. I dropped out of Kenyon, my 17 year old self’s dream school, after three years of sporadic everything. Peeps and having a radio show were my only two extracurriculars. I also obsessed over my work (which sometimes included /doing it/) and got decent enough results. I was also severely depressed and anxious throughout my Kenyon experience. And, retrospectively, I had an eating disorder. There were very long stretches in which I could not keep any food down, had no appetite, or some combination of the two. I never had anyone refer me to a Sexual Misconduct Advisor or support group or drug accident fireside chat or anything, ostensibly because I never did anything “that bad” to myself or others. The effects of the trauma I experienced linger: my parents are still concerned about the exorbitant amount of money they lost, I feel I could’ve made several thousand better choices, and above all, I can’t consciously alter my memories, let alone change the past. But most importantly, because of articles like this, I’m really glad I don’t go to Kenyon anymore.

    • PS I met “Meg” (the actual Meg hollered at) at a Phi Kapp party. We do sorta look alike, though she’s taller. She’s really funny and genuinely cares about the environment; that I could discern. Everyone who thinks the bros deserve special treatment should fuck off. I’m sorry I didn’t give you (even my “closest friends”) the gory details of every hookup but I learned early on that it’s disgusting to elaborate on these sorts of things in public. SO yeah sorry for “reverse oppressing” y’all, but being a guy who likes girls can be a pretty rough go at Kenyon.

      • But also: realize that if you devoted your web presence to making fun of mine, you actually are just a little shit.

  30. Hats off to you Becca! This is really really awesome. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope people will become more aware and do some thinking about this.

  31. Pingback: The Briefing | The Kenyon Observer

  32. Thank you for sharing this story. People who use words to harm their fellow human beings are people who believe that the only way they can derive their sense of self is by destroying someone else’s. Becca, I have never met you personally, but I can safely say: These men, or any other person for that matter, cannot tarnish that which you are at the core of your being, no matter how desperately they try. They cannot succeed at finding their strength through the diminishment of others, now or ever. Their physical forms may be hard, their physical bodies may be big, scary, and muscled, and they may attempt to threaten you with their hateful words to affirm those big bodies, but below the physical surface, their minds are divided, weak, and fundamentally ignorant of the great truth of life itself. These human beings, whether they are conscious of it or not, destroy a vital part of themselves every second they spend sitting in judgement of their brothers and sisters. Beneath their “hard” skulls lie deeply fearful brains housing deeply fearful thoughts that are as soft and insubstantial as the air we breathe. Show compassion for these poor souls, and allow them the fundamental gift that they refuse to give you: the right to exist exactly as they are. Allow them their close-minded hatred, and realize that the only people they can truly harm with is themselves. Forgive them for their misperceptions, because when all is said and done, THEY will be the ones who suffer at the hands of their own unconsciousness, not you. In the meantime, all is well. Be that which you are. There is nothing more beautiful than the life that you are, and nothing can ever, ever change that.

  33. Wow, this is terrible. Growing up in a conservative state where these things happened frequently, I was determined to come to Kenyon and find a community that would support and accept each other. To hear that’s not the case is really upsetting. Thank you for writing this article, Becca. I hope it gets conversation going and inspires people to stand up for each other. We’re a community, guys. Come on.

    • I mean it’s cool that Brian Chippendale like teaches drums at your school but you’re still a bunch of perfectly-manicured brats.

  34. where do we go from here? how can we help to create a safer space. it would interesting to see the comments from those who were also involved in this incident.

  35. I’m so happy someone is finally drawing attention to this, because as disappointing as it is, it does exist at Kenyon. Thank you, Becca.

  36. Dear Becca,

    I don’t know you, or even what “Deb Ball” is, but I wanted to thank you for bringing back a lot of memories about my time at Kenyon. I loved Kenyon, but it was frightening to be gay or lesbian on the Hill in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s. I remember the all-pervasive fear that prevented most of my friends from identifying as gay or lesbian, the terror of being discovered, and the institutionalized homophobia not just of the Greek system, but of Kenyon itself.

    It is not difficult to believe that in 1989 my boyfriend’s door was set on fire in Lewis, but it is almost incomprehensible today to think the college initially refused to discipline the perpetrator for anything other “creating a fire hazard.” It’s unthinkable to remember that when a classmate and I helped organize the first benefit for AIDS research at Kenyon, there had to be an administrative decision that it would be “inoffensive to alumni” to do so, and whether the event “deserved” to take place in Pierce. Or that the gay students’ group was denied permission to continue meeting in Pierce Hall because the Faculty Administrator for another student group didn’t want her students “identified with gay students.”

    Lack of student, faculty, and administrative support saw, over my four years at Kenyon, the demise of EVERY gay student group that was formed. The GAG (Gay Awareness Group — how’s that for self-loathing) died and was replaced by the GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance), which was followed by the LGSA (Lesbian & Gay Students’ Association –which fell apart due to personalities), which, by my senior year, was replaced by quiet, secret meetings in the crozier center of a group called GABLES (Is that still around?) in 1990-91.

    While the threat of anti-LGBT violence on campus is terrifying, and your awareness of others’ prejudice is hard, please, Becca, look at the comments on this article and be grateful for the support you have. Look at the fact this article was allowed to be published. Look at the fact you have a college that now has anti-discrimination policies in place to protect you, and disciplinary actions that can affect those who attempt to deny you your rights as a human being. Look at the fact that you have the support of all of us who were right where you are and LOVE you for having the courage to speak up about it; we felt we couldn’t, and in many cases we didn’t.

    Stay the marvelous woman you are and that Kenyon is helping you become. Thanks for this article. It made me proud of all of us.


    Nick Nicholson, (Kenyon ’91)

      • Right?!? Does GABLES still exist? I remember we all had a laugh creating the name. We liked the GAY in Gables, and the Crozier center certainly had them, but pulling “Gay And Bisexual, Lesbian Emotional Support” out of it was a reach that we acknowleged at the time was pretty ludicrous.

    • Nick, I really appreciate your comments. It’s startling to hear this depiction of a Kenyon from only 20 years ago. It helps me be grateful for where we are today even as I hope that more progress is made. Love and compassion is so much more fulfilling than hate and fear.

  37. 147 comments later: what have we actually accomplished? We’ve heard people’s thoughts on why they are right. We’ve heard people’s thoughts on why others are wrong. We’ve heard people’s opinions on why homophobia should not exist. We’ve heard people’s feelings and emotions on why bros are evil. Thoughts, opinions, emotions, attitudes, perspectives, definitions, concepts, paradigms, situations, hypotheticals, side conversations, discussions, etc. etc. etc. etc. hurled back and forth, inviting even more pain and suffering into our collective community mind, provoking more hurt feelings, insults, and epithets. Is that peace? No. It is insanity.

    Nothing real is ever accomplished through argument, the pitting of minds against other minds. You may THINK that your are accomplishing something by releasing your thoughts into the public forum, and putting yourself in opposition to your fellow human beings, but real change is not possible through thought alone, because there is always, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, a thought that can oppose your own, no matter how “right” you are or how “wrong” they are.

    If you hate gay people, then you are punishing yourself and your community.
    If you hate bros who call you “faggot,” then you are punishing yourself and your community.
    If you hate me for opposing your own personal opinions and thoughts, you are punishing yourself and your community.
    If you take personal offense at my statements and want to lash out at me for making them, then you are punishing yourself and your community.
    What’s so wrong about loving everyone, regardless of their personal views? What do you stand to lose by reaching out across the aisle and extending your arm to those whose views are not exactly complementary to your own?

    ACCEPT ALL THAT IS. Anything else than acceptance will lead to more suffering, more hatred, more pain, more insanity. We cannot solve the problems of the world with opinions and perspectives. Your opinion may be justified. Your opinion may be “right.” Your opinion is also totally irrelevant. I don’t mean to offend you personally, whoever may be reading this. But your opinions cannot, nor can they ever, change the world, no matter how strongly you believe them to be true. Because I can guarantee that there is someone else who believes even more strongly than you that their opinion is the “correct” one.

    Now, let’s clarify the difference between “acceptance” and “agreement.” Agreement requires acceptance, but acceptance does not require agreement. Agreement is the pairing of two complementary thoughts. Acceptance is allowing all thoughts, opinions, perspectives, and concepts TO BE, EXACTLY AS THEY ARE. Then, and only then, will there be true peace amongst all human beings.

    We are not our thoughts. We simply are. And we are all one. Peace.

    • Wow… this post makes me sick.

      Writes about how non of these posts amount to anything.
      Pretty sure your post didn’t say shit.
      Tell me how we’re going to achieve this peace.

      And what is all this bullshit about “If you hate gay people, then you are punishing yourself and your community. If you hate bros who call you “faggot,” then you are punishing yourself and your community.”
      Is this some philosophy or religious studies bs?

      Humans will never agree and will never have peace.
      It’s the case of life; we’ll keep hating and hurting each other no matter what.

      Violence is natural.
      If somebody calls me a faggot, I’m gonna beat the shit out of him.

      Guns should be legal
      If somebody fucks with me, I’m gonna shoot them in the face.

      Here’s what I live by:

      “See, there’s three kinds of people: dicks, pussies, and assholes. Pussies think everyone can get along, and dicks just want to fuck all the time without thinking it through. But then you got your assholes, Chuck. And all the assholes want us to shit all over everything! So, pussies may get mad at dicks once in a while, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes, Chuck. And if they didn’t fuck the assholes, you know what you’d get? You’d get your dick and your pussy all covered in shit! ”

      Hope you guys know where this quote is from.

      • I agree with your statement that humans will never agree with each. That does not mean that they cannot accept each other. If everyone agreed with each other, everyone would have to accept each other. If everyone accepted each other, then there would be no need for agreement.

        You have a gross misperception of violence. Violence is not an expression of power, it is an expression of weakness, fear, and small-mindedness. I take pity on you that you feel you need to attack those who attack you. What a small, miserable world of your own design you must be trapped in.

        I don’t agree with all of your views, but again, agreement is irrelevant. I ACCEPT your views totally and completely. Feel free to hold on to them for the rest of your life. It is only YOU who will suffer because of them, at the detriment of entire world around you. Don’t believe me? It doesn’t matter. Belief alone cannot bring you peace.

        If there is no chance for peace, then why are you continuing your life? Because if you believe that there can be no peace, it follows that everything you do creates war, division, and separation from your fellow human beings. You are living in a hell of your own creation, my brother.

        By all means, argue with me more. Try to force me to agree with your views. It is impossible, just as it is impossible for me to force my views on you. All thoughts have an opposite; acceptance has no opposite.

        Also, it’s worth mentioning that your life philosophy is based off of a quote from a comedic movie, starring puppets, satirizing how idiotic American culture can be. Congratulations for missing the point entirely: your philosophy will not bring you peace, no matter how “right” you think it is. Only you can bring you peace.

        Again: ACCEPTANCE does not require AGREEMENT. I do not agree with you, but I accept you for exactly who you are. THAT is the way to peace, not attacking people if they call you a name, or basing your life on the words of a fictional comedic puppet.

      • Mr. Evans, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • Is there something wrong with accepting things that you identify as “stupid?”

        On a personal level, I identify your commentary against me as hateful, but I accept that as it is. You are free to hold as much hatred in your heart as you want to.

        You’re right. I’m “stupid.” I hope you have a nice life.


      • But, hey, props to Wyn for actually using his real name and not hiding behind some clever pseudonym. This whole thread would probably be more productive if everyone was doing that.

      • Dear Mr. Evans,

        You make no sense…

        Even if we accepted each other, there’s always going to be disagreement. Even a small amount disagreement can deny peace.

        In the natural world, violence is everything.
        Just watch Animal Planet and tell me I’m wrong.
        It’s the essence of life; we can’t change that.

        Also, if I beat the shit out of you, you’re going to beg me to stop. I have the power in this situation; you can’t argue otherwise.

        And I did not miss the point of Team America; you’re just being an idiot.

        Btw: Are you also suffering from your idiotic view/opinions? I know I am.

      • Dear Rustler,

        You are suffering from my idiotic opinions? That’s my point exactly.

        You are suffering over something that you have absolutely no control over: the viewpoints of other minds. You cannot change my mind, even for one second. I cannot change your mind, even for one second.

        I agree with your statement that even a small amount of disagreement can deny peace. I am not contesting that fact.

        Once again, I will draw the distinction between agreement and acceptance. Agreement, or lack thereof, implies that someone is “right,” which of course means that someone else must be “wrong.” You cannot be right without implicating someone else as wrong. Acceptance does not require this duality. I can disagree totally with what you say, and still accept it as it is, because it already is. This does not make you “wrong” and me “right.” It makes the whole concept of right and wrong unnecessary.

        Once again: agreement is not acceptance. Acceptance transcends the need for agreement.

        You think true power comes from violence, from attacking your brothers and sisters like a Lion attacks its prey?
        I have an offer for you.

        Come and beat the shit out of me. I live in Leonard, Room 29. Feel free to beat my body to a bloody pulp. Feel free to break my legs, rip out my throat, and gouge out my eyes. Feel free to kill me. I will not beg you to stop.

        What are you waiting for? Please, come to Leonard 29 and beat me up.
        You’ll be able to get away with it, even if security shows up. You’ll be able to really do some damage. BEAT ME UP. DO IT. Those are your values, right? That’s the way of the world, right? Live up to your values. Come and beat me within an inch of your life. See where that takes you.

  38. This is a beautiful post, Becca. It’s unbelievable that people decided to twist it into a discussion about discrimination against bros at Kenyon. It’s sickening that anyone on our campus would speak and act this way, but there are many, many people here that stand behind you.

  39. for what its worth this is by far the best article i’ve read on the thrill.

    also some of the worst comments i’ve ever read on the internet.

  40. Wyn Evans, you hit the nail on the head. I wholeheartedly agree.

    This article was awesome, thanks so much for sharing it.

  41. Thanks for sharing your story. It is only through discussion that we are able to create a forum for these issues and promote a more tolerant and understanding culture at Kenyon.

  42. A beautiful post Becca. Thank you for sharing your story in such a controlled yet passionate fashion. By focusing on reporting the events and how they made you feel, I think you gave everyone a glimpse of what it feels like to be in a same-sex relationship at Kenyon. Understanding how and why someone feels the way they they do is the key to compassion and respect. Let’s hope a few of the haters come across this post!

  43. Oberlin is Hipster Cornell. Kenyon is Hipster Dartmouth. Bard is Hipster Brown. Oberlin seems to think suicide (the act) is realllllly funny. There’s your set of distinctions; at least Denison doesn’t try to one-up our parties by showing up uninvited to ALL OF THEM.

    • But more importantly, places like Kenyon are inherently communal and everyone is always sorta partying there, but if you feel the need to be aggressive within Kenyon about this approach, you are just being a douchebag. Sorry if I implicitly have told you you were perpetrators of dating violence, which may have ruined your personal narratives a bit, but if you really feel that way, that’s all the more reason not to talk to me anymore, ever. Plenty of people have been kind enough to block or unfriend me. The fact that a discussion on identity politics turns into a circle jerk of a philosophical discussion really puts it home.

      I really don’t know what purpose the Peeps serve these days other than to experiment with kids from broken homes.

      • Ethan,

        It sounds like you are in a lot of pain right now. I don’t know for sure, because I’m not you, and I don’t know you personally, but I’m making an educated guess, seeing as all of your posts seem to be about you, or attacking other people, and people in pain often talk about their pain and attack others in an attempt to justify how shitty they feel. (I’ve been known to do the exact same thing in my own personal life, along with the vast majority of humanity for the past 2,500 years of civilization. It’s “normal.”)

        It’s gonna be okay. It’s okay to be in pain, as long as you recognize it as not who you are. Ethan, You are not your pain. You are infinitely greater than your pain, exactly as you are, right now. You are already home, and you are loved. Be well.

  44. Also, it’s way more pathetic to maintain a monogamous long-distance relationship while at college in the middle of nowhere than it is to part on civil terms. Get a clue.

  45. I’m glad you have zefriends and stuff it’s really adorbs, but you know, you weren’t founded as a stop on the Underground Railroad or something. Glad you’re so into social justice you have no choice but to be a buncha cocks about it.

  46. What a shame that this happened. Out of curiosity why do you associate this behavior with Greek culture? at least in my time there were lots of people who were openly gay in fraternities. It seems like a pretty unfair assumption.

  47. On the other hand, there is a well-documented nationwide trend of “hate hoaxes,” wherein students draw attention to themselves through fabricated incidents and lies. I don’t doubt the author, at all. But somewhere there has to be an end to piety and self-righteousness, and I know that dialogue along these lines at Kenyon doesn’t always find that end gracefully and sensibly. It’s not a good sign that the author went into self-contained fits, overhearing someone say that boat shoes make you look soft. (Hey–I like boat shoes, but there are situations in which I decline to wear them because the “bros” are right–they affect your image in significant ways that make a difference at the margin.)

    I’ve been called a faggot in public dozens of times by strangers, more or less aggressively, based on my appearance or other factors. It’s a condition of life over which it is not worth getting so exercised.

  48. What happened to you sucks, I’m sorry. Those guys at new apts acted horribly and you don’t deserve that. But I didn’t understand the third to last paragraph and how it had anything to do with what happened to you. It is an extremely serious accusation to imply that a group of guys minding their own business at the village inn might assault you simply because one told the other that boat shoes made him look soft. The accusation is unwarranted and completely ridiculous. It made me lose respect for the original point of the article, which I think is an important one. To associate any idea of masculinity, even those not directed at you referencing male fashion, with physical and/or sexual assault is very serious, absurd, ignorant, and insulting. I hope we can live in a world without hateful prejudice, and I’m not sure that this article is conveying that message in the right way. I hope you understand my valid point and hope even more that you can feel safe at kenyon being yourself, as everyone should have the right to feel safe and not be the subject of hate.

    • Hi Sam (and everyone),

      Thank you so much for your support and comments. I truly appreciate the conversation this post has spurred. I’m currently composing a follow-up post detailing my thoughts surrounding that conversation, but I am also currently writing two papers (ugh) so it may take until the end of the week until the follow-up is published.

      Until I respond formally, I want to address the concerns you (and others) have made regarding the third to last paragraph. Please read this article by Michael Kimmel, who is a well known and highly regarded male sociologist and gender theorist, which explains why the reinforcement of traditional masculinity is connected to homophobia and thus to my fear of assault.

      Thank you again for spending time thinking about and discussing this important topic.

      • This strikes me as a poor, disappointing response, but I have a habit and reputation as an arch internet troll to live down. If anyone needs me I’ll be under my bridge.

  49. …by this logic, you must have a legitimate fear of being assaulted in the following settings: Lowes, a gym, a sporting event, BBQs, the state of Texas, and Longhorn Steakhouse.

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  52. First of all: Becca, I commend you. I also commend the fine people at Unity House, and Zoe Burdock, whose letter I just read via the facebook.

    Dear Bros:

    I am a gay kenyon alum whose brother is about to go to college on a football scholarship. During his sophomore year, his friends dubbed him the “Bro-King” and they spent a lot of time in my parents’ basement, which they called the “Man-Cave”–and marked with their distinctive scent. My Dad is also an aged bro, and I used to watch football with him every evening when he came home from work.

    So bros, I know your people.

    And before my brother goes to college, I am going to sit him down and explain to him that over the course of my high school and college years, five of my best friends were raped, and that all of them were raped by men in frats and sport teams. I wish that was not true, but it is. And I am going to make it clear to him that, although I believe he is above degrading others to increase his own sense of power and belonging within a team of men, that he is never, ever going to do that.

    I am certainly not going to back away from saying there are things deeply, despicably wrong with bro culture. Nobody who has sat through an episode of “Blue Mountain State” can deny that. Some of the most important people in my life are bros, but I hate crudeness, I hate homophobia, I hate violence, and I can’t help but despise a culture that has been linked to every incidence of those evils I have personally observed. And when people defend that culture as if there is no correlation between it and despicable behavior, I can’t help but think less of them.

    Many people in “bro-culture” feel very safe and at home there, and understandably get insulted when others find it threatening. But that culture has elements that do threaten many of the people who don’t belong to it: women, gays, lesbians, transgendered people, and minorities. No culture or sub-culture is above critique, and if you are, like many of the men who have commented here, an upstanding, intelligent sportsman, you have the opportunity to transform that culture from within. What disappoints me about many of these comments is that they don’t acknowledge the problem; instead, they blame lesbians and gays for feeling threatened–the logic seems to be “If I feel safe here, well why don’t you? Whiner.” A logic that, by dismissing the feelings of GLBTQ people, seems to confirm that you are hostile towards us.

    No, I do not feel safe in locker rooms, in Texas, or at my hometown barber shop, because I know how people would look at me there if they knew who I am. And that’s not my fault, it’s theirs. Ultimately, people who thrive on homophobic cultures need to look out because the world is changing and we are much more powerful than we once were. My Dad, who once warned me that homosexuality would doom me in the business world, recently was shocked to discover that the CEO of his company is, in fact, gay. When you deride homosexuals you are no longer insulting the powerless.

    So I would urge you, bro, to consider your culture and be brave enough to critique it from the point of view of an outsider. How many times do you really have to use the word “faggot”?

  53. It’s Faggots like you that are ruinin my world, telling guys it’s ok to wanna fuck other guys, that’s straight up nasty. Call me what ya want, I am proud that we live in a country where you can freely express your feelings, and thoughts, even if it is a slander to someone else. Now with that being said, I truly believe all faggots are to be apprehended by government agents, and put in psychiatric hospitals, where we can correct this foul behavior and release you back into society, and keep people locked away who either refuse to change or can’t change

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