Sexist Survey Offends Students

I really don’t know if I’m supposed to be disgusted or amused by Coach Lynch’s antics. In case you’re lost, here’s a quick recap: A football coach in Wyoming gave his players a questionnaire every time they raised concerns or complaints about something. Seems logical so far. Some of the items asking why a student filed this “Hurt Feelings Report” included: “I am a pussy,” “I am a little bitch,” “My butt is easily hurt,” and my personal favorite, “I have woman-like hormones.” This report also needed a “girly-man signature” at the bottom, and required you to print your name next to “little sissy filing report.”

Now that you’re all caught up, you can appreciate both the humor and the repugnance in this situation. On the one hand, here is this football coach taking sheltered high school kids, that feel entitled to everything and never want anything less than a palace and a iPhone 4S given to them (oh, I forgot, I’m not talking about Orange County students), and he’s welcoming them to the real world. Given, he’s not doing it with a hug or a friendly handshake, but he’s doing it how he knows best; humor (and ridicule). I can understand why people would be upset by this, but really, take a step back and look at it. He starts out by asking them what ear the hurtful words were spoken into. He’s clearly mocking the sometimes absurdist specificity of complaint reports. I get that by doing that, he is also undermining the entire complaint that a student has, but I’ll admit, I did giggle when I read that. The coach also says he’ll provide Midol and a blanky for players who file this report. Regardless of how you feel about Midol or blankies, I think you can admit, that’s humorous.

On the other hand, the activist in me dies a little when I read this. After years of working for equality campaigns, when I read things like “Are you filing this because you’re a queer?” it makes me sick to my stomach. And then angry. And then nauseous again. I become an angry, queasy Hulk. It boggles my mind how, in this day and age, someone can be so intolerant and ignorant, and so willingly promote negative stereotypes.

Basically, this coach is saying that all gay people do is whine, and if you complain about anything in your life, you are obviously a “diaper-wearing, queer, cry baby.” Furthermore, as much as jokingly quoted the “woman-like hormones” to my girlfriend, I do acknowledge the blatant sexism present in this report. And it isn’t just limited to that chauvinistic, hilarious hormones comment. By recommending Midol, calling the accuser a “girly-man,” and equating being a woman to being “thin skinned,” “a pussy” and pretty much everything else coach Lynch included on the report, he’s demeaning everything it is to be a woman.

While I think it’s a great thing to be able to find humor in a situation, and I am not the biggest fan of political correctness (as present in pretty much all my articles), I am strongly opposed to using a group of people as if their name is interchangeable with something wrong or bad. I cringe when I hear people say “that’s so gay,” as if being homosexual is the same as having too much homework, or getting in an accident, or not having enough money to buy “medicinal” marijuana. And, unfortunately, that is exactly what this coach is doing. He is using an entire group of people, and comparing a handful of negative characteristics (or at least, what he perceives as negative), and labels them synonymous. So, all of the sudden, being gay is equivalent to being excessively sensitive or a “little bitch.” Being a woman is equivalent to always complaining, and in need of Midol.

While the public has been divided on the now-former football coach’s questionnaire, the most ironic part of the story hasn’t even been mentioned yet.

Coach Lynch is now counselor Lynch, after resigning from his football position to become the high school’s counselor. Fantastic. I’m sure that’s exactly what the students need. After all, I can’t think of anyone better to be in charge of talking kids through major depression or traumatic breakups. Well played, Coach Lynch. Well played.

Justin Huft is a third-year psychology and social behavior major. He can be reached at jhuft@uci.edu.