Last week, The Harvard Crimson reported that the 2012 Harvard men’s soccer team had written a “scouting report” of the women’s team, wherein female players were ranked by attractiveness and assigned sexual positions and nicknames. On Saturday, six members from the 2012 women’s team penned a response in the Crimson.
The report referenced earlier years, pointing to the fact this was an annual tradition for the men’s team, at least up until 2012. In their essay, Kelsey Clayman, Brooke Dickens, Alika Keene, Emily Mosbacher, Lauren Varela, and Haley Washburn — the six freshmen recruits to the 2012 women’s soccer team — addressed how initially they had wanted to brush off the report as its nature had come to be expected as “normal”
As a way to recover from the “the embarrassment, disgust, and pain” the women felt as a result of the media frenzy around the story, they shunned anonymity, saying they had decided to speak for themselves on the matter. From the Crimson:
In all, we do not pity ourselves, nor do we ache most because of the personal nature of this attack. More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives. We feel hopeless because men who are supposed to be our brothers degrade us like this. We are appalled that female athletes who are told to feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced to a physical appearance. We are distraught that mothers having daughters almost a half century after getting equal rights have to worry about men’s entitlement to bodies that aren’t theirs. We are concerned for the future, because we know that the only way we can truly move past this culture is for the very men who perpetrate it to stop it in its tracks.
The women explained that they had seen the entirety of the report, that they “know the fullest extent of its contents: the descriptions of our bodies, the numbers we were each assigned, and the comparison to each other and recruits in classes before us.” The essay then goes on to remind the male soccer team that “locker room talk” is not an excuse because this is not limited to athletic teams.” The players encouraged both men and women to band together with them to combat the kind of behavior exhibited in the scouting report, saying, “We cannot change the past, but we are asking you to help us now and in the future.”