Letter to the Editor: Women’s basketball team responds to toxic masculinity op-ed

By The Women’s Basketball Team

In the Beacon’s most recent issue, our former teammate and close friend, Kenna McCafferty, added her voice to the #MeToo movement. In her opinion article, she discussed the negative effects of toxic masculinity on both men and women and insightfully reflected on her own experiences within the Emerson Athletics Department. Her piece is honest, articulate, and sensitive to the topic at hand. The Emerson Women’s Basketball Team stands behind Kenna’s words, and we encourage you to read it with the same care with which Kenna wrote it.

Though no individuals are named and no specific events are detailed, we want these students, after a year of dialogue, to understand why their actions are unacceptable. There is obviously a clear distinction between a prosecutable offense and an unwanted advance. But behavior shouldn’t have to reach the point of illegality to be considered morally wrong. Our request for basic human decency should not be answered with contention and resentment. Women’s bodies are not up for debate.

We hope to start an Emerson-wide conversation about sexual harassment and toxic masculinity and to educate those that have turned a blind eye to these issues. We must each reflect on our behavior and examine our own role in the perpetuation of toxic masculinity. All members of the Emerson Men’s Basketball team and all Emerson students have the power to speak out against sexually inappropriate misconduct, rather than silently condoning or even encouraging it. Women are screaming as loud as we can. Men must echo.

Time Magazine’s announcement of ‘The Silence Breakers,’ those who spoke out against sexual harassment and assault, as their Person of the Year proves that this isn’t just an Emerson Athletics issue or an Emerson College issue. This behavior is everywhere, and it is destructive. If we do not end these patterns of toxic masculinity, mob mentality, and the treatment of women as conquests, these actions will continue. Hold each other accountable, and change will follow.


Signed, The Women’s Basketball Team