The Harvard Men’s Soccer team has been suspended from participating in the rest of their season due to the leak of a “recruit book” that rated the Harvard Women’s Soccer team on physical appearance. Although this story was originally described as an isolated incident in 2012, reports have found that the current Harvard Men’s Soccer team has too been carrying on the inappropriate ritual.
Because of this recruit book that possibly originated in 2012, the Harvard Men’s Soccer team cannot compete in the national tournament. Harvard’s dean expressed that the acts that began in 2012 and have continued today are not representative of what the university stands for as an institution. Harvard stands for intelligence, peace and respect. Harvard does not stand for intolerance.
The first documented incident in 2012 included a shared document between the Men’s team via email. The male teammates rallied together to discuss, write down and distribute their version of the Women’s Soccer team’s recruitment book. This book was used by many coaches to rate potential players in skill set and ability to play the sport. These books serve as a performance scorecard to determine which recruits will stand to play the college sport. However, the nature of the recruit book was tainted and used to rate the Women’s Soccer team recruits on physical appearance and sensuality. The document contains lewd comments about the Women’s Soccer team.
The story of the actions was originally published on Harvard University’s news platform, The Harvard Crimson. Journalists investigated the obscene document and uncovered that many school officials past and present knew little to nothing about the derogatory comments. Many teammates have opted not to comment on the matter. The coach from the 2012 Men’s Soccer team also has not commented on the matter. The current Dean of Students at Harvard has said that she was completely unaware of the document.
In the aftermath of the sexist document, the 2012 recruits from the Women’s Soccer team expressed their feelings toward the recruitment book through a collaborative article published in The Harvard Crimson. The six authors were the female players of the recruiting class of 2012, and they felt personally objectified by the comments. Many of the athletes had become close friends with players on the Men’s Soccer team—some even remained friends after their graduation. This fact made the comments seem a little too real. They did not expect for their friends to objectify the female body and compare them to one another.
In the piece entitled “Stronger Together,” the Harvard Women’s Soccer recruits from 2012 vow not to let the lewd document change their status as women. They see the actions of their male teammates daily. The women see that no matter how good they are at playing soccer, many will still simply judge them on their physical appearance. They challenge women to stick together in the wake of blatant sexism and urge men across the country to stop the “locker-room” talk. They call for a better, fairer America: a place where a woman is not judged on her physical appearance but on her ability to succeed.
Sources: New York Times, The Harvard Crimson