TORONTO – The Halifax university frosh rhyme causing national outrage isn’t the first to use sexually explicit, offensive language.
But it is the first chant that condones raping underage girls to go viral in an Instagram video seen above and initially posted below:
A frosh leader from Saint Mary’s University (SMU) said Thursday that it was “just a chant” that was “never meant to be offensive” and SMU Students’ Association President Jared Perry added that he’d sung the chant in the past (it’s been circulating since 2009) but that “[they] don’t necessarily look at the message.”
Brenda Cossman, director of the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, said she doesn’t think there’s evidence of more or less of these types of chants across North America, but she doesn’t believe it’s an isolated incident.
“Things that previously went by unnoticed…now some of the more egregious examples do get caught, and then they get put under a microscope and analyzed” once they get posted and shared online, she said. “And everyone is horrified by what they see.”
Many were horrified in 2011 when the words printed in Queen’s University’s band pamphlets went public. As the Queen’s Journal reports:
“The pamphlets contained phrases like “I will rape you with a lamp” and photos of band members as “people with dicks in their mouths.”
Front page titles over the past three years included: “Mouth raping your little sister since 1905,” “Sucking the nipple and biting the tit since 1905” and “Perpetuating racial stereotypes since 1905.”
Queen’s Bands were suspended for a semester and directed to go through human rights and equity training, along with participating in an action plan to change the culture within the Kingston bands.
Montreal’s McGill University also tried to institute a cultural change with an anti-hazing policy.
The policy was in response to a 2005 incident that resulted in the cancellation of the team’s football season. An 18-year-old player said he was sodomized with a broomstick on a campus squash court.
The student’s complaints reportedly began with players forcing him to sing songs at team meals.
The lyrics of the songs were not disclosed, but a popular McGill chant sung at bars in the early 2000s (possibly also used at other schools) included these lyrics:
Here’s to (name), here’s to (name)
Here’s to (name), he’s a horse’s a**
Why was he born so pitiful?
Why was he born at all? (hey! hey!)
He’s no [expletive] use to anyone,
He’s no [expletive] use at all!
So… drink mother[expletive], drink mother[expletive], drink mother[expletive], drink
Why are we waiting? He must be masturbating
Drink mother[expletive], drink mother[expletive], drink mother[expletive], drink, etc.
While the above chant is aimed at men, college slang is often derogatory towards women.
At Wolfville’s Acadia University, Cutten House residence was casually referred to as “Sluttin’ Cutten” or “Four floors of whores” when it was an all-girls residence. The female dormitory at Dalhousie was referred to as the “morgue” in the early 2000s.
Lucia Lorenzi, a University of British Columbia student, wrote in a blog on Friday that as she walked through campus she heard loud music from a booth (run by an off-campus nightclub) blasting the lyrics “I’m only here for the b***hes and the drinks, the b***hes and the drinks.” She acknowledged she wasn’t holding UBC responsible, but explained:
“I would like my university (an ostensibly public space) to be a space where I feel safe, and where I can walk across campus without being reminded LOUDLY that as a young woman, my value to many people is still just as a “b***h” (or a “ho,” or any of those horribly derogatory terms) … When I heard “b***hes and drinks” repeatedly for several minutes — at a location right near the Sexual Assault Centre, the Equity Office, and Counselling Services — I started to feel like I wasn’t really on campus at all…I attend my public university with the not-so-unreasonable expectation that I won’t have to listen to misogynist lyrics when I’m just trying to walk across the quad.”
Rabble reprinted Lorenzi’s blog, tying it to the SMU incident, and suggesting it’s evidence that rape culture exists on university campuses across Canada.
© Shaw Media, 2013