CYCLOPS: Blogger harms women’s movement


The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of the Davis Clipper.

Robert Kirby is a well-known, awarded newspaper columnist.  Courtney Kendrick is a widely-read blogger.  This month’s incident leading to Kirby’s three-month suspension is a blow to the columnist and a setback for his newspaper (Salt Lake Tribune).

It is also, in my opinion, an embarrassment to the women’s movement.  Kendrick comes across as less a victim than a weak female unable to resist any request – no matter how obnoxious or silly – from a man.  Kendrick should be pitied, not made into a role model, and her actions could prove harmful to strong women pursing respect and careers.

If you aren’t aware of what happened between the two, I will catch you up.  Last July the pair were appearing on a panel.  Kirby made the first mistake, telling her “Let’s pretend I picked you up from an escort service and we’ll walk over to that table and sit down for a chat.”

She could have rolled her eyes. She could have responded, “Sorry, but I’m not your escort.” She could have put him in his place.  Instead, she said her reaction was “almost biological or evolutionary”; she was “conditioned” to “put her head down and agree.”

Sorry, but that’s not how mothers and fathers are raising their daughters. If a male makes an inappropriate comment (which Kirby certainly did), we don’t advise our daughters to bow their head and agree to whatever the guy says.  It’s not a matter of biology or evolution; it’s simply standing up for yourself.

Next, Kirby offered her an edible marijuana candy to calm Kendrick’s nervousness about the panel.  Kendrick reacts that she “took it because I felt pressured to please this person with his ‘old man charm.’”

Following this logic, any of our children should go along with the “cool kids” in high school and be “pressured” into taking a hit off a joint, smoke a cigarette, or down a shot of tequila.  How hard is it to say, “Nope, not interested?” It’s nothing more than we expect our 14-year old to say.  A grown woman should have the self-esteem to reject an offer she finds offensive. 

It is also interesting that Kendrick didn’t really sound off on the subject until she read a recent Kirby column in which he criticized a woman for interrupting a Mormon sacrament meeting by accusing a member of the congregation of rape.  When she was led from the microphone, she shouted that she was being assaulted.  Kirby wrote – rightly, in my mind – that being escorted from the church wasn’t even close to assault.  She had no more right to interrupt a private event than I would to march up to the front of the National Rifle Association convention and blare out that the attendees were all murderers.

This is not a defense of Kirby, though I believe that a three-month suspension is ridiculously harsh.  It was not Kendrick’s fault that Kirby acted like a hormone-charged teenager, nor is it her (or any woman’s) responsibility to control boorish behavior.  But I do think Kendrick’s reaction makes it easier for men in power to question the risk of hiring qualified women interacting in an often male-dominated workplace. This does not mean that sexist and offensive comments should be considered the cost of doing business.  However, Kendrick’s “poor little me” act doesn’t reflect female strength or good judgment.

Women won’t break the so-called “glass ceiling” if they refuse to take a stand against male stupidity. Just because a man makes a suggestion, it doesn’t mean you bow and curtsy.

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What others say about : CYCLOPS: Blogger harms women’s movement..


Braeden Jones

This article is an embarrassment and works to support the patriarchal rape culture that does, in fact, teach women to be compliant to men, especially men in positions of power and veneration – which Robert Kirby most definitely is.

The Clipper has the moral obligation to at the very least offer a retraction to this scurrilous opinion piece and ideally would devote space and time to various responses from victims of such harassment and abuse to rebut the poor ideas demonstrated in this piece.

Rachel

There is an astounding lack of empathy in this piece, and an astounding abundance of patronization. There are so many reasons women in situations such as this react the way they do, but Bryan makes no effort to understand them. Instead, he blames Kendrick for being harassed. Articles like this only compound the fear women already feel at coming forward. I’m appalled that it was published.

JaNel

Hopefully, “the opinion stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of the Davis Clipper“ or very many other people. Brian Gray says that he is not defending Kirby… But he is. The sad thing is that he doesn’t think he is. He also doesn’t think that he’s being critical of women or undermining women who are treated inappropriately in all sorts of situations. Once again, it’s ‘her’ fault for not reacting in the right way. Obviously, Gray still doesn’t get that the mentality he’s portraying in his ‘opinion’ is why there is a women’s movement.

Carly

Wow, Victim shaming, basically advocating for less women to be hired in professional jobs, saying a man is not responsible for his actions but a woman should be, etc. No, parents don’t go around telling their daughters to bow their head and accept harassment, but articles like this do. Davis Clipper may think they’re off the hook for this article because Bryan’s views are his own, but they’re allowing it to be published. Disgraceful

Sandy

“they’re allowing it to be published. Disgraceful” Yeah screw freedom of speech! If an OPINION piece doesn’t agree with my opinion, censor it! Good logic, Carly.

Abby Broadbent

Please publish a counter point. Supporting a sexual harasser and biased reporter does not look well for this team. You are, in fact, victim blaming. This viewpoint is outdated. Please recant this article.

In rebuttal: you make vast generalizations about how women are being raised or how men should be treated. You say that you don’t support Kirby yet you think that the 3-month suspension is too long. Many people don’t report their sexual harasser or abusers until they do something to someone else bc they are worried it will ruin the abuser’s life. Kendrick’s timing is perfectly normal. You make it sound suspicious- what could she be hiding? What would be her ulterior motive? Wouldn’t it have been more beneficial to speak up right away? This logic is flawed. Your NRA analogy is incompatible with the sacrament meeting incident. The glass ceiling is real, but hindered by this kind of reasoning that the only suitable person in the workplace is a typical cis male personality. There’s honestly so much wrong in this I can’t even delve into specifics. How could it have been passed off by an editor? If this is any indicator of the kind of slipshod work approved by this organization, then I do not see much future for it. Good day.

Clipper

Please note at top of article, “The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of the Davis Clipper.”

Cathy

Well, clearly, Bryan Gray REALLY doesn’t get it. And provides a naive, simplistic response to a longstanding complex problem he can’t grasp. Bless his heart.

Christi Bramwell

This is the worst article. Men shouldn’t refer to women as escorts the moment they meet them. Any man past age 12 should know better. Men should be held account when women call them out of it. Period. How a woman responds in the moment is immaterial to this disgusting behavior.

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