#usiuchicks? #checkyourself!


Back in high school, probably as a prelude to a coexistence of women and men, students projected their teenage anxieties about university as a highly sexualized space in which women were “willing” or “easy”. This was also aided by the fact that inter-school, unisexual encounters by way of “funkies” was being increasingly diminished and within same-sex school compounds, the realization that sexual encounters with persons of the same sex meant that you were “gay” (identity creation that may not be compatible with an individual) made these spaces overly policed – especially by bullies. The only alternative within such a scenario, thus, was to create a culture of constantly finding ways to cultivate a sense of masculinity. Bullying, high academic performance, truancy, drug abuse, the number of letters one got from (preferably multiple) girls, and discourse around dominance and patriarchy and aesthetics such as body physique became markers with which masculinity was highly evaluated.

I haven’t been to university to see whether the highly-sexualised-easy-women narrative is true but I have a feeling it isn’t since most young women I know are involved heavily with their academics trying to secure a future in which, financial stability and social mobility will be equivalent to more personal freedoms. Outside school, a male student finds that all his anxieties and projections are not necessarily true and may or may not decide to “produce” scenarios in which they are. Moreover, he realizes that HIV/AIDS, socio-economic disparities and increasing awareness on the rights and freedoms of women and a sense of feminism in universities seriously questions his way of thinking. Does frustration come after this, I don’t know but what I do know is that whether or not women are “easy” or “slutty” or not does not matter in the generalization that they actually fall in such categories.

The Twitter trend #usiuchicks probably started as a joke, an appropriation of the US cultural anomaly that placates attractive women (blondes) as intellectually deficient but since it started a few days ago, it has become the embodiment of misogyny against not only female students who attend the United States International University but all women in general. Still on the blonde appropriation, young women have been insulted as being stupid, “fucktards”, bitches, whores, sluts/slutty and have been advised to “regulate their pussies and lay low”. This has been infused with sexist and misogynist jokes that would have been low brow anywhere but the internet and when a rumour started that USIU would take action against the starters of the trend, the news were met with the assurance that a judge couldn’t rule in favour of the institution. Then came the ICC parody of the #twague6 who started the trend and the usual flow of jokes regarding the Ocampo 6.

As the trend made its way to facebook, which is more mainstream than twitter, the need to justify such a despicable appropriation of women and simultaneously up the ante in insulting “USIU chicks” lead to the “anti-elitism” line of thought to be wrongly co-opted into this saga. The insults in the USIU chicks facebook page are more nastier and any dissenting voice is snuffed out by anti-elitist indignation. The graphic detailing of sexual acts and calling these women retarded bitches was coupled by some form of erasure that didn’t mention whether women from preferably “less elitist” universities were more or less promiscuous. I have to point out, though, that the few dissenting opinions by men and women were really good and pointing out the sexist, misogynist, generalising and disrespectful aspects of women. On the other hand, some of these comments maintained that the cause of all this was because people were “jealous” of USIU students’ wealth and upward mobility.

The past few days have exposed the levels in which the internet is being used negatively as a platform on which censorship is circumvented. On twitter, the parodying of influential figures in public such as President Mwai Kibaki coupled with the hash tags such as #rutoplaylist and #twague6 point to the use of humour as a method of critique (good, especially by use of satire and parody) and humour as something beyond critique (bad, there’s nothing funny about calling a woman a stupid slut). On facebook, there wasn’t any humour just plain hateful stuff about women which aren’t even true and if they were, it isn’t up to anyone to regulate how another person has sex or with whom. Calling women stupid and slutty conveniently effaces the role men play in such undertakings.

To all those people who participated in this act of definition and wrongly appropriation of women, #checkyourself and think about the things you say before saying them. To those who stood up not for USIU female students but all women in general, good for you, you did the right thing.

Leave a comment

10 Comments

  1. Ben

     /  March 19, 2011

    I don’t know where or when this turned into a battle of the sexes or discrimination against women type of scenario, and true this is your blog, your thoughts and opinions. But, i really don’t like your type. You tend to overanalyze things and in the process blow things out of proportion. Most of the hashtags are in jest and are intended for humor or satire only.
    You sound like a guy who knows his way around the english language well enough, why not put it to better use? Write a fictional story about a goat that grants wishes and farts fairies… Leave the blonde jokes and analysis of twitter trends to the statisticians and people who get humor.
    The group on facebook is just wrong, really shows a worrying trend reasoning capability. But i won’t dwell on that.
    Next time you write, if you are planning on dispensing moral advice, remember a joke might just be a joke. Or write about a goat that grants wishes

    Reply
    • did you read the last lines of this post? humour is humour and it is not beyond critique. i can write whatever i want but i’m sure most women are on my side on this one. you can’t demean, dehumanise and disrespect soemone and let it pass because it’s a joke. are you reading the tweets,there’s no humour there
      p/s: when i have a sory out you’ll be the first to know
      now #check yourself and read this again

      Reply
      • @ben we hear what you’re saying and you’re right, sometimes a joke really is just a joke. But some jokes tend to be milked waay beyond dry. Really have u read the tweets? And this coming from a “usiuchic” who sed to other usiu chics relax, learn to take a joke. Err, or not! It got out of hand it’s not funny anymore I personally do not find you’re-a-slut-haha-im-jus-kidding funny it beats the whole point of social humor. On to the next one.

  2. vanessa wakasiaka

     /  March 19, 2011

    I won’t say i didn’t find it funny when i was told to go to twitter and check it out but i must say that it does in some extent have some truth.You can’t say that most of the girls in university are focused and all that.It’s the minimum of them that are more keen with their studies.What i’ve seen so far is that sex especially in university is overrated just as much as drinking and clubbing and most girls do it on their own free will (so you really can’t say that what is being said is unfair) mostly to gain popularity with the boys or the school as a whole or to get good grades from lecturers or to feel rebellious or to put a good meaning to why people say that in university there is FREEDOM to do as one pleases.I think that where the issue is differentiating those who jump into bed with anything that moves and to me those are sluts and those that don’t do that but stick to the same person who they are in a relationship with.It is a shame that the same boys who chase after these girls and boast of their conquests are the same ones who demean them through the net.I just wish both genders could find their sense of self-worth,dignity and respect!!

    Hahaha i just wrote all of that!!

    Reply
  3. So, Vannessa, your main issue is that these people don’t differentiate between the good ones and the “slutty”?

    Reply
    • Vanessa Wakasiaka

       /  March 20, 2011

      Yap.i think its direction is generalised as in all girls…

      Reply
  4. Ruth

     /  March 21, 2011

    Hi,
    I agree with the article .Yes there may be some bad elements in USIU but that does not mean that the trending topic was justified.When you get down to it the only people who really enjoy these jokes are sexist bastards.So then they go a step further and publish it all over the net which just lets the whole world know how juvenile they are and get pissed if anyone tries to criticize them (cough*Ben* cough).It doesn’t matter if one chick is a flozzy,creating that trending topic was just a way to put all mamas down.And who exactly gave them the right to tell us to “regulate our pussies and lay low ” ,dude its mine and I can do whatever I wanna do with it.
    Any way sorry if I’m rumbling but that’s just my two cents

    Reply
  5. Jess

     /  March 22, 2011

    Everything youve written is true(you have impecable english by the way)… and though its sad how it was turned into a platform for people to vent. I found it hilarious, not just from the rather crude but well thougt out jokes. But also how so many people can so easily be sucked into the rather stupid act of stereotyping. which sucks considering one would expect education to erode such. we cannot control how people think, how they act, what they say, there level of intellect or how of it they use. but instead of being angered or hurt or offended or whatever negative emotion spiked from things like this, you can find the humor in people’s misplaced anger(like I did), or simply ignore it and turn your attention to events that are more worth of your apparent awesome writtubg skills. cause at the end of the day, why stress on something you can’t change.

    Reply
    • Jess, the reason I “can’t” find this funny is simply because what’s behind it, sexism, objectification and what not, isn’t. and i can’t ignore it because you can’t and you can’t resign to the fact that women-hating-slut-shaming-haha-retarded-bitches will never change because everyone has the responsibility to respect everyone else and we need to do SOMETHING about what our sisters are being called and subjected to. we can change this culture if we just decide to start somewhere and this was a wonderful at which we could call out these people. my writtibug skills are useless if i don’t point these things out

      Reply

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