A prestigous Melbourne boys school is copping flak after an old boy delivered a sexist speech at the school’s speech day event last week, causing parents to question the school’s commitment to cultural reform after an Instagram scandal earlier in the year.
The speaker at Brighton Grammar‘s speech day, an alumni-turned-athlete, delivered an address before the school reminiscing on the lads spurring each other forward when “picking up girls” and later “celebrating each other’s success”.
According to parents, the speaker said the following:
We were always pushing each other from the get go. Whether it be learning in the classroom, on the footy field … or picking up girls […] We were always seeking out the next challenge, working hard, trying new things, celebrating each other’s success.
The reason this reasonably innocuous – if ill-advised – statement is copping heat from the school community is that Brighton Grammar was this year embroiled in a scandal involving two Year 11 students, who set up an Instagram account called ‘Young Sluts’ which targeted girls as young as 11 or 12.
The online group had more than 40 members, most of whom were believed to be students at the school. To many parents, the cavalier way sexist sentiments were expressed in the alumni’s speech shows the school doesn’t care much about reform.
One parent told news.com.au that the attitude expressed by the speaker – comparing ‘picking up girls’ to wins on the footy field – is what enabled the conditions which led to the creation of the infamous account.
“I hear these boys talk about ‘scoring’ with girls, just like they talk about scoring in football. Like girls are targets, or goals. It’s all part of the same culture that reduces girls to trophies” the parent said.
“There is this footy culture, and it bleeds over into how boys are taught to think, taught to talk about girls. They see them as a prize, a conquest to bond with their teammates over.”
School principal Ross Featherston confirmed that the speaker had made a comment about “picking up girls” and that he regrets that it occurred.
Source: Courier Mail.
Photo: Google Maps.