Like many upperclassmen, I attended Gaieties this past Friday. And perhaps like many of my fellow students who sat near the back that night, my experience was ruined by about eight males (I refuse to call them men) who found it necessary to shout sexual obscenities every half minute. The most common line was “Show us your tits,” which by the end of the night I had heard at least 50 times.
My initial reaction was revulsion at the indecency of these males, at least half of whom were members of the Sigma Chi fraternity. Yes, Gaieties is a show with nudity, but anyone going to the show exclusively for that end should just take their $10 to a porn site. Instead, these males showed up and treated the lead actress as if she was nothing more than a body meant to pleasure them. Objectification of women is nothing new in our society. But if you’re smart enough to get into Stanford, and you’ve spent at least a couple years on our relatively tolerant campus, surely you should be able to realize why treating women (or anyone) in such a manner is not okay. Not only does it violate the fundamental standard, it violates common sense.
And yet, after reflecting on this incident for the past two days, I’ve come to not only blame those males. After all, what did I do? At one point I mumbled, “Grow the f*ck up.” But I never shouted back. I never asked the security team to have them removed. And I didn’t confront them after the show was over. To my knowledge, no one else stood up to them either, although I bet that I was not the only one disturbed by their incessant shouting. Not only did other students tolerate such behavior, some went so far as to actively promote it; about halfway through the show, someone in the orchestra pit held up a sign reading, “Boobs glorious boobs.”
I walked out of Memorial Auditorium distraught, and this blog post is an attempt for me to gain some closure on that night. The fact that these males were so obscene and disrespectful deeply concerns me. Not every male at Stanford treats women like that, but at least a vocal minority does. And the fact that “innocent” students allowed this behavior to continue and, in some cases, promoted it discourages me even more.
What happened that Friday is in the past, but I worry that it is just the tip of the iceberg. If that is what these males can do in public and get away with, I only wonder what happens behind closed doors. In that vein, I think I speak for many students when I say that it is time we hear some firsthand accounts of how these types of students act in private. Yes, sharing one’s story may in some cases betray a pledge of secrecy, but far more important than any fabricated allegiance is the allegiance we owe to each other as human beings.
Were you at the Friday night show? If so, share your thoughts below or email Adam at email@example.com.