Letter to the Editor

Dear Readers,

We are writing in regard to the article in last month’s Mirador entitled “Righteous House Party Themes.” We acknowledge that the author is entitled to his opinions and has the freedom to publish them online if he pleases. However, as the Mirador is a public representation of Miramonte High School, we would like to address the fact that the opinions are not supported by all students at Miramonte. Whether written seriously or in jest, we believe this article is a misrepresentation of our school’s philosophy and principles; we do not want to be associated with an educational institution that encourages themes involving underage drinking, sexism, and racism, even as satire. Printed in the same issue of the Mirador featuring another article with shocking statistics about rape, especially in the high school and college settings, this article condoning unsafe activities is disappointing and puzzling, to say the least.

Besides the overall topic of house parties and underage drinking being questionable for a high school newspaper, specific themes such as “Columbus Bros and Navajos,” “Ceos and Secretary Hoes,” and “Surfer Bros and Gurfer Hoes” contain misogynistic and racist elements. The “Columbus Bros and Navajos” theme apparently “goes back to the days of brutally slaughtering Indians, uh I mean ‘Native Americans.’” In the 1960s, many Native Americans challenged the use of the word “Indian,” arguing that it is a misnomer and a term coined by oppressors. Making a light joke of the slaughter of 95% of the population of the Americas is insensitive. Furthermore, the girls who attend the parties are intended to portray the Native Americans, who are “conquer[ed]” by “Columbus and his explorer buddies,” implying that women are subordinate to men and should be subjugated. “Ceos and Secretary Hoes,” despite “allow[ing] party goers to dress in styl,” is a sexist representation of the white-collar labor force. It implies that the boys, who dress as CEOs, are more successful than the women, who are portrayed as secretaries and prostitutes. Again, this theme echoes the subjugation of the females and condones workplace harassment, as the women are seen as below the male “senior corporate officers.” In case the men get bored with their women, they are invited to “get TTFU with [their] fellow senior corporate officers,” a condoning of underage drinking that is inappropriate for a high school newspaper. “Surfer Bros and Gurfer Hoes” allows “horny adolescents…to show off what they can’t usually show off and loads of fun ensue.” Not only is this additionally inappropriate in the Mirador, but it also, again, portrays the females as prostitutes while the males are simply surfers.

The objectification of women in the school-sponsored newspaper, even if intended as satire, is unacceptable because it reinforces the media’s damaging messages regarding the role of women in society. Despite Miramonte’s considerable efforts to fight these harmful themes, including the showing of the documentary Miss Representation last year, the article encourages misogyny and sexism among high school students, which can be damaging to men and women alike. In  a world where “feminism” is regarded as a militant and extreme term, and where people are often condemned for believing passionately in the equality of the sexes, bridging the gap of gender inequality can be achieved through respect for men and women alike. We believe that it is morally and ethically right that we are given the same consideration as boys, yet articles such as this, published under the name of our school, contradict the beliefs and principles of many students at Miramonte.

It is disappointing that the Mirador encouraged the themes contained in this article, regardless of the article’s possibly facetious or satirical intentions. Free speech does not apply to discrimination of any kind, including that of race and gender. When this article was printed publicly under the name of Miramonte High School, it became an offensive and dishonest representation of our school. We bring this concern to the attention of the staff and student body because we are standing up against the reinforcement of harmful and offensive themes. We are surrounded by misogyny and misrepresentation in the media everyday, and efforts to fight gender inequality are struggling to keep up. Through education and positive direction, we believe that our society has the ability to recognize and respect all genders equally. We believe in a world where women do not feel unsafe at school or wider community, where men do not feel insecure from perceptions of masculinity, where children are not taught from an early age that they are greater or lesser than the people around them. We believe in total, unconditional equality. We believe that Miramonte can play a larger role in defending and embodying these powerful and important principles and in creating a more equal world.

 

Respectfully,

Samira Maboudian and Lucy Portnoff