In response to allegations of sexism, UVUSA officer Joe Jurisic wanted to make it absolutely clear, once and for all, that he is NOT a feminist.
Yes, Joe, I think we knew that.
But what does this imply? According to the very basic, Merriam-Webster definition, feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”
So, we have someone representing a student body comprised of both men and women who simultaneously does not believe in equality for women.
Therefore, with Jurisic in office, a large percentage of the student body is at a clear disadvantage.
Bizarre vocabulary misunderstandings aside (Jurisic is apparently unaware that sexism and feminism are in fact antonyms), Jurisic’s recent letter to the editor “apologizing” for his misogynistic tweets is wholly unsatisfactory. Furthermore, it is insulting.
The primary argument Jurisic enlists in his defense is that “Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites are a terrible representation of an individual.” He urges us not to take his words at face value. He wishes we would have a nice chat with him over a cup of coffee and really get to know him instead of making rash judgments based on his Twitter account.
As a public relations major, one would have assumed Jurisic would be more concerned with the message he broadcasts to the public.
If, deep down, Jurisic truly is the non-sexist he claims to be, then why does he reserve the amiable side of himself for private meetings over coffee while adopting the persona of a misogynistic bigot in his public internet life?
Perhaps Jurisic has forgotten he is an elected representative of UVU’s student body—an understandable mistake, given he ran for office unopposed and can be considered “elected” only in the loosest sense of the term.
As a UVUSA representative, the things Jurisic says in a public forum reflect on the student body as a whole.
How can UVUSA represent the ENTIRE student body if it includes members who use language that is demeaning to 43 percent of the student population?
If this kind of sexist attitude truly is reflective of UVU this might go a long way to explaining our dismal female graduation rates.
Needless to say, for anyone concerned with elevating the status of women on our campus, sexist language and attitudes cannot be tolerated, especially from one of our supposed representatives.
But Jurisic would like to move the discussion away from sexism. Not only does Jurisic deny his remarks are sexist, he also adds insult to injury by claiming if you are offended, it is your fault because you “chose” to be offended.
This really is quite the “apology.”
By admitting his comments are inappropriate but not sexist, Jurisic pretends not to specifically target women while making derogatory statements—such as “My turnover rate for followers is like my turnover for hoes #pimpinainteasy.”
Such tweets equate the value of women with mere sexual utility.
Those of us who “chose” to be offended by the tweets might have done so because, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, the average age for a girl in the U.S. to be coerced into becoming a prostitute (i.e., the Merriam-Webster definition of “hoe”) is between 12 and 14 years old.
Furthermore, associating oneself with “pimping” is to associate oneself with profiting from the manipulative sexual exploitation of these children.
These are not matters to joke about. They are matters we should be fighting to end.
Those of us who work against sexual exploitation were indeed gravely offended by Jurisic’s completely ignorant remarks, or calculated misogyny—either way, he is not someone we want representing the UVU student body.
And what of Jurisic’s claim that social networking sites are terrible representations of individuals? A 2008 study by Mitja Back actually found the opposite is true.
By studying the social networking profiles of hundreds of participants, researchers found these profiles were actually very accurate representations of the account user.
It seems Jurisic has the whole formula backwards. In his case, the representation is just fine. It’s the individual that needs some work.