Great Sexpectations: Q&A with @middsogyny

By Maddie Orcutt

Instead of publishing student stories this week, I’m using this space to write about student activism on Twitter. This column will continue to serve as a platform for your personal narratives, so please keep on sharing them! At the same time, however, I think our expectations surrounding sex in college are also the product our engagement with campus culture more broadly. I’m convinced that what happens — or does not happen — in our dorm rooms is only a small part of the story.

I’m hoping that hearing from @middsogyny this week will help us all think about the ways in which (s)expectations function on a broader scale, especially discursively. This week, I sat down with one of the feminists behind @middsogyny to discuss just that.

MO: How did you come up with the idea for @middsogyny?

@middsogyny: In class, we were discussing the ways in which feminism can be mobilized via Twitter. In our class, we talk about how social media is used as a site of bullying, and how perceptions of bullying are often racialized. We thought that the name @middsogyny would start some really interesting conversations. More than anything, we were scared about our profile picture, and drawing a penis over Old Chapel.

MO: What are your hopes for the project?

@middsogyny: I think that the Twitter headline is “critiquing Middlebury 1 moment of misogyny at a time.” That sums it up pretty well. People see and hear misogynist things happening, and now there’s a platform for people to call out their peers. For me, when I talk about sexism and racism at Middlebury, people want proof of my oppression. Now we have it. Because it’s public, we hope that other people will tweet at us and use the hashtag to join the conversation.

At the end of the day, I don’t think that this Twitter page is dismantling patriarchy, but I think that it’s a step in the right direction. Knowing is half of the battle.

MO: What’s the most misogynist thing that you’ve ever overheard at Middlebury?

@middsogyny: For me, I used to wake up early enough for breakfast on Saturdays, and I would overhear these bros in Proctor rating vaginas “the morning after.” They developed this whole scheme for talking about their conquests, including rating “tightness.” #middsogyny

Also, a year ago, when beyond the green was being started, some of us became aware of an Atwater party entitled “Predator/Prey.” Some athletes had a party where they specifically targeted new Feb girls. The girls were supposed  to come dressed as animals, and the guys were supposed to be the hunters. That’s SO misogynist. I hope that @middsogyny is a place where we can continue to call these sorts of behaviors out.

MO: This column is about exploring the spectrum that is sex in college. Does misogyny at Middlebury influence our sex lives, and if so, how?

@middsogyny: This project is such a baby project right now that it’s really hard to say what direction it will take. I’m hoping that @middsogyny will become a feminist YikYak. I also remember some of our earlier attempts to queer YikYak, and they would get voted down in three seconds. I hope that our Twitter page is a space to continue having these important conversations.