Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Clothesline Project


To the Editor:
Last week, some students walking across the Quad may have experienced a heightened sense of discomfort; they may have worried that they were the targets of unwanted attention and took measures to avoid it. If you are crossing the Quad in mid-October, you may want to consider these tips:
When approaching the Clothesline Project, walk alone rather than in a group. Walking with a group may increase your desire to joke about sex and/or violence to ward off uneasiness. Walking alone will allow you to consider that the messages may have been written by your best friend, roommate, or potential partner.
If you see people behaving inappropriately, confront them directly. Ask about their reaction to the shirts. Reassure the person or persons that most of the shirts were made by people known to them, not by strangers, and thus are not tangential to their own lives.
Take care not to consume excessive amounts of some forms of media, as some information about masculinity, femininity, and sexuality that they contain may impair your judgment and hamper your ability to comprehend the reality of these messages.
Those who feel especially targeted by the messages should ask a friend—possibly a woman with whom they are close—to escort them past the shirts. The friend can provide assurance that she has fathers, brothers, male partners and friends whom she loves deeply; her love for the men in her life only increases her desire for men’s recognition of her fear and silence, and for men’s support in the struggle to end violence.
Slow down. Do not walk too quickly. Take time to read, and to listen.
Thanks to all those who participated in this year’s Augustana Clothesline Project.
Jane Simonsen
Associate Professor of History
Women’s & Gender Studies Program Coordinator

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