It is noon on move-in day for the students of (The!) Ohio State University, and the corner of Indianola and Lane is busy with Uhauls and mattresses and parents teaching their newly grown children how to adult. The lawn of the brick house is already littered, so early, with empties, Natty Lights and PBRs, and young men in various states of undress are hooting and hollering, dancing around and shouting at cars to honk in agreement—of their general revelry? Of their All-American banana hammocks? Of their determination to repulse women everywhere? I am walking my puppy, Buster, when we stumble upon this otherwise lovely brick house with two giant and gross banners hanging from the roof. The first sign says, DADS, WE’LL TAKE IT FROM HERE. The second, DAUGHTER DAYCARE. They may be acting out a scene from (insert National Lampoon movie here). It’s difficult to determine.
Buster is unimpressed. He yawns, widely, considers pooping in their lawn, declines. He does not deign to poo in their yard, no matter the amount of fibrous canned pumpkin he consumed the day before. I, myself, am disgusted. I fight my urge to confront the young men. I turn around because now the sunny day is less so.
Truly, I turn around because my eyebrows are not on. I left them back at the house with my eyelashes and a spot of blush and the comb I did not run through my frizzing red hair. I’m wearing paint-splattered running tights, and sweating through my sweat-resistant under-armor. I am a woman, and a bedraggled woman at that. I will not be taken seriously here. I will be mocked and derided and written off as the Feminist with a capital F that I am. Off to burn some bras, I.
But, had I been brave despite my lacking brows—had I been borne of a culture that allowed me, my gender, to look grubby now and then, sans certain facial hairs, and accompanied by certain other facial hairs—wax on, wax off—I might have offered these young men an impassioned speech:
You, there! Yes, you, the unashamed Bro in the unbuttoned Hawaiian t-shirt and paisley swimming trunks! Let’s dress down the rhetoric, the language of your banners. Let us make the implicit explicit, young man crushing a can against your heavy brow! What do you imply, telling dads their daughters can be dropped off with you for “daycare”? What if, instead, your signs were direct, succinct, and honest?
Dads, you took care of your daughters.
Now let us take care of them.
Here, my good Brozillas, is why these signs are simply not “all in good fun.” Because you are infantilizing women. You! In the Buckeyes hat, whose parents did not love him enough, you promote the idea that women need to be taken care of by men. You mean “taken care of” in a purely sexual and disrespectful way. I am sorry, young Bro-B-One-Kenobis, if you were weaned, too soon, from your mothers, but you are objectifying women, marking them as though they are not individual people with thoughts, ideas, and self-sufficiency, but simply things to be passed from man to man. You are asserting a twisted power with your Sharpie-scrawled message, with your dirty, patriarchal sheets swaying, forlorn, in the breeze.
Fourscore and seven bros ago one of you declared this all “just college fun.” I want you to know it’s insulting, to women and men, to say things like, “Boys will be boys.” You promise, “We’re good Christian men,” and let me tell you, Jesus is just not alright with your misogynist messages, your casual sidewalk oppression of pedestrians. Jesus Christ is also not a fan of Abercrombie and Fitch—although, what respectable person is, really?
And, Dear Drooling Brosephs, what right do you have to tell others to get a sense of humor? I cannot, nay, will not, cackle at your sexist—dangerous, even—display of extreme loneliness and self-loathing. Suns out, guns out, you say, but I know inside you weep, mein little Bro-hans.
I do find amusement in your choice of business. Do you know the cost of running a daycare, BrO-M-G? The licensing fees, the insurance costs, the variety of snacks demanded by those in your care? Goldfish crackers are not to be substituted by knockoff Sea-Monkey Cheezums—else! Bropocalypse. And is there, my Napoleon Bro-napartes, amongst your perspiring rented kegs, between your piles of wilting boxer-briefs, any room for nap-times, for high-chairs?
Yes, C3P-Bros, I have an insufficient amount of eyebrows, and a white-blonde dusting of eyelash, but I am a person! A woman person! This, here, is my Feminist pup, Buster! Ball Buster if you will, Broteins in search of like-minded humor, haha! And I, here, as I stand before you, in my post-Armageddon-yoga attire, beg, nay, demand, you relinquish your aims to solicit female companionship through direct coercion with their paternal figures! I demand you do not treat your front lawn and its accompanied public sidewalk as a real-life, real-time, Tinder! Swipe left on your slightly sideways ball caps! Swipe left on your faux-Ray-Bans, hot pink and plastic, your sleeveless tanks and misogynist urges, swipe left, I say! Expand your Brocabulary, avoid those basic urges, claim culpability for your actions, and go forth! Participate in a world where it is both possible to crush at beer pong and respect women—not as dad’s daughters or potential mothers or anyone’s sisters, but as individual, capable, living, breathing, spectacular, WOMEN.