Inappropriate banners on move-in day objectify females

J. Michael Bertsch, News/Lifestyles Editor

On August 23, the SDSU class of 2023 was greeted by new, smiling faces and introduced to their new life on campus. 

But later that evening, students and their parents were forced to witness something less than inviting.

Throughout Brookings, numerous hand-painted banners were hung on the front of houses with messages directed toward female students and their mothers. 

The messages displayed phrases such as: “Mother daughter drop-off” and “moms drink free.”

This alternate form of catcalling objectifies over half the student population at SDSU, increases worry in both students and parents during move-in weekend, has no comedic value and will not increase one’s popularity with the opposite gender.

 Over 5,700 students identify as female at SDSU, making up 52.6% of the student population. The display of predatory banners in Brookings minimizes the identity of these thousands of students and equal them to personal exploits.

Additionally, though efforts of inclusion are generally seen as appreciated, the targeting of both students and parents communicates a message of desperation and further objectification.

One-in-five women in college report experiencing sexual assault. If that number was directly translated to the female population at SDSU, that equates to over 1,000 women being sexually assaulted in Brookings.

Though this isn’t a local statistic, a one-in-five likelihood of a horrible traumatizing experience is not a comforting  statistic for female students or their parents.

 Move-in weekend is a stressful time for any incoming freshman and their family, and students and their parents should be worrying about how to organize a dorm room and what their classes will be like, not the mindset of male students on campus.

Think about it: these flags being mounted on houses call for incoming freshman girls to come to the house of a person they have never met. Though students may be going for a form of shock humor, this practice is far creepier and scarier than it is funny.

 When searching for “Catcalling success rate” online, one may notice that nearly every article out of the 273,000 results state a negative viewpoint on catcalling, or is labeled under “satire.”

For the purposes of this article, I felt it beneficial to conduct my own research. On my own Twitter account, I sent out a poll asking specifically: “has catcalling ever worked?”

Fifty accounts responded to the poll, with 48 saying no, catcalling has never worked. 

There are many ways to express interest in a female student (or her mother); however, a spray painted flag mounted onto the side of a house is not a good idea.

J. Michael Bertsch is the News and Lifestyles Editor at The Collegian and can be reached at [email protected]