October 5, 2018
Over the past few weeks, multiple women have come forward and reported a sexual assault by the current Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Due to lack of enforced accountability for young privileged men, Kavanaugh has been able to go through his life claiming innocence and defending himself by accusing the women of lying.
He grew up as a member of a young and privileged group of prep-school boys who were taught that they were virtually invincible. This treatment correlates not only to sexual misconduct and assault, but to a greater mentality of entitlement.
In discussing the Kavanaugh confirmation, many people have raised issues with the attitude that “boys will be boys” and invincibility of privileged white men in prep-schools like the one Kavanaugh attended. However, many ignore a version of this in our own community … The BBQ Club.
As a club that has been around for longer than many teachers, BBQ Club has a deeply ingrained culture of misogyny, sexism, racism and upper-class privilege. Of course, not everyone in the club is white or wealthy as the stereotype entails, however the misogynistic undertones still ring true. The club itself is an exclusive “boys group” in which one has to pay nearly $100 to wear a jersey that members so proudly flaunt every Friday. Even the name, BBQ Club, stems from a traditionally male-only activity. From the “Team 15” Instagram account, posting pictures of girls passed out and intoxicated at parties to the “18” group chat which consisted of boys throwing around derogatory comments about girls in their grade, it seems there is no end to the misogynistic behavior. Although BBQ Club was not explicitly associated with many of these incidents, anyone who claims that the club and the incidents are not related is ignoring the facts. Members of BBQ Club and the boys involved in these online scandals overlap frequently. These same boys continue on their clear path to the top.
In our community, we continue to treat privileged young men the same way that they always have been treated: like they’re above the law. Although many people claim Berkeley is different than schools like Kavanaugh’s, it is not. There is a dire need to hold young men accountable for their actions. By condoning BBQ club, we are condoning the culture that does not hold young men responsible for their actions, especially in relation to sexual misconduct. We are condoning the confirmation of Kavanaugh and the election of Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter if some individuals in the club are good people, the club as a whole is misogynistic and perpetuates a culture of elitist sexism.
When the BBQ club reconvenes each year, our community silently permits privileged young men to continue to do whatever they want with no consequences.
The culture around young men’s behavior is plaguing our society. It is prevalent on every level, starting with the leader of our nation, all the way down to high school classrooms. One of the main reasons acts of sexual assault are committed is the entitlement to power that is so often drilled into privileged young men. Where there is entitlement, there is a lack of respect and awareness for others. Kavanaugh and his posse grew up in a world that let them believe that their actions would never have consequences. Because of this, they were never forced to recognize that their actions were wrong.
For every issue that has come up in the aftermath of Kavanaugh’s nomination, we have another opportunity to show growth. As a community, we must assert that we do not, under any circumstances, condone the kind of entitlement that often leads to sexual misconduct.
This cycle of privileged male entitlement can no longer be tolerated. This ends now.
(The author’s name is withheld at their request with the approval of the Jacket Editorial Board. The views do not necessarily reflect those of the Editorial Board or Jacket staff.)