I’m writing in response to John Corrigan’s latest column, the piece “Time of the month a time of care.” I’m having a hard time thinking of how to express the embarrassment I feel that The Temple News took up valuable print and online space to publish this column, the anger I feel as an LGBT and female member of the Temple community, and any other range of feelings as I think of my good friends who are journalism students and even fellow columnists for The Temple News and that have to share a title with this “writer.”
The fact that Corrigan’s piece was published is disconcerting for a number of reasons, the first being the blatant sexism. Corrigan paints a hyperbolized, trivialized portrait of a damsel in distress helplessly suffering from the ghastly monster of menstruation. He lacks sensitivity as he mocks women for experiencing cramps and PMS — let alone disorders like PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) that are real and serious issues which require treatment and medication. It’s almost as if Corrigan doesn’t realize that biology is out of our hands — women have no excuse to stop fawning over their boyfriend’s every need, and should she chose not to completely submit herself sexually, well, how dare she exercise her right to say no to sex, to feel anything other than adoration for her big, strong boyfriend. Corrigan equates women to monsters akin to werewolves, creatures who can’t control the god-awful transformation that happens once a month, unpredictably destroying anyone with a penis that crosses their path.
Corrigan also expresses a misunderstanding of the LGBT community, making transexuality the butt of a tasteless joke (which implies that the only benefit of womanhood is yoga) that displays blatant insensitivity toward trans* people. By stating that Chaz Bono “had the right idea,” Corrigan is perpetuating the stone-aged belief that homosexuality or transexuality is a choice, and one made over trivial matters like yoga. This isn’t even to mention Corrigan’s past work, such as his column on the gay best friend.
Furthermore, I am embarrassed on behalf of my friends who are fellow students in Temple’s journalism program and staff writers for The Temple News. Temple University is an academic institution that prides itself on the quality of its communications programs. Students from all over Pennsylvania and even the country come here to get a quality education, and now they have become a joke due to their peer’s “journalism,” which has reached a national audience on websites like Gawker. Just three weeks ago I was quoted in Sara Patterson’s column “Re-election promising for LGBT students’ futures,” providing my feedback on the 2012 elections from the point of view as a lesbian student here. I was proud not only to be quoted in the news speaking about something I feel passionately for, but I was proud that my friend Sara could write such a progressive column for Temple’s diverse population. Columns like Sara’s are what The Temple News should be getting attention for, not work like Corrigan’s that marginalizes a significant portion of Temple University’s population.
I understand that Corrigan might not grasp the gravity of his words. I guess Corrigan’s columns are a failed attempted at humor or tongue-in-cheek wit. He could be trying to make waves and widen his readership by making controversial commentary such as his latest column. That is where his editors fail. It isn’t outrageous that college-age men feel this way; plenty of people have said the same garbage in the past. That’s why editors should be monitoring the content that makes it onto the pages of the news. The fact that this column was published makes me question the judgment of any member of Temple News’ editorial staff, and it discourages me from ever again trusting the product of this group. I almost pity Corrigan for being exposed to an angry audience due to his editors’ oversight.
I hope that The Temple News will use the backlash from this column to reconsider their editorial processes and the subject matter of their columns. I know that I am not alone in feeling this outrage. As a concerned member of the Temple Made community, I only want the best for all of us at large.
I can only ask that you will take the time to consider the issues I’ve raised.
Class of 2015