“Stronger Together”: Harvard Women’s Soccer Team

On October 25, Harvard’s daily newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, published this article about a ‘scouting report’ created by the 2012 Harvard men’s soccer team on female soccer recruits. This nine-page ‘report’ ranked and evaluated the incoming female soccer recruits on attractiveness and sex appeal. The document had pictures of each of the women, including a numerical score and description of each woman’s physical appearance.

This disgusting ‘report’ continued beyond numerical values of the women, but also included sexual anecdotes about each woman. Each woman was assigned a sex position in addition to her soccer position on the field. Quoting from the Harvard Crimson’s article, these are some of the sexual descriptions of each woman:

  •      “She seems relatively simple and probably inexperienced sexually, so I decided missionary would be her preferred position.”
  •      “She seems to be very strong, tall and manly so, I gave her a 3 because I felt bad. Not much needs to be said on this one folks.”
  •      “Yeah…She wants cock.”

This vile ‘report’ appears to be an annual tradition for the men’s soccer team at Harvard. This document was published this past week and created a myriad of reactions. Harvard took a strong stance on their opinion of this gross report by canceling the men’s soccer team’s season. The men’s team will forfeit every other game and will not have the opportunity to compete for the Ivy League championship or in the NCAA Tournament. I applaud the Harvard athletic association’s zero-tolerance reaction to the ‘scouting report.’

The most impressive reaction to the men’s ‘scouting report’ was an essay written by the six women recruits the 2012 ‘report’ was about. Please read their essay, Stronger Together, here.

The women’s essay is eloquent, beautiful and strong. In a time where even our politicians are supporting this “locker-room talk” (Donald Trump), it was an honor to read this incredible essay by these women who put the idea of supporting each other as women above this gross ‘report’.

The women’s joint op-ed recognized that when they were first notified of the ‘scouting report’, none of them were particularly surprised. This behavior of men, especially in athletics, has become the new norm.  Their passive reaction is what scared them the most and inspired them to respond to the ‘report’ in the essay.

The women’s report goes beyond soccer and looks at the reality women have faced for years. They discuss the degrading way men look at women, the perceived inferiority of women athletes, the equal rights of women, and ultimately our culture that sadly encourages all of these things. These women were insulted in every way possible, and yes, they’ve read the ‘scouting report’ in its entirety and know exactly every demeaning number, sex position and description that was assigned to them; yet, they want to use this experience to unify women. The women write, “…we are a team and we are stronger when we are united.”

So women and men who think this ‘scouting report’ is disgusting, vile and repulsive, let us stand with the Harvard women’s soccer team to encourage mutual respect for male and female athletes. To not allow “locker-room talk” to be an excuse for misogynistic and sexist behavior and rhetoric.  To understand that we are stronger together.

The women conclude their op-ed with an inspiring quote offering forgiveness to the men of Harvard Soccer and all men who think they hold power over women’s bodies: “I can offer you my forgiveness, which is—and forever will be—the only part of me that you can ever claim as yours.”  

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