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Letter to the Editor: Reaction to “Jane Hoe” and a call for her to step into the light

The recent op-ed “Use your ‘head,’ not your hands when pleasuring” in the Oct. 1 edition of The Times-Delphic was, in my opinion, utterly deplorable and so far below the standard of what should be represented in the paper of a school such as Drake University that I am having difficulty in finding the words to express my disappointment.  The article is what I would expect a perverted, technologically savvy eighth grade boy seeking “cool points” to post to a blog (or equivalent outlet) after having been exposed for the first time to a pornographic film or an inappropriate conversation in the locker room. I found the article to be incredibly offensive to all students at Drake, but particularly to the women on campus. The article cast women as subservient, almost inhumane creatures, with their sole purpose being the providers of men’s “ultimate pleasure.” Not only is this beyond demeaning to women, but it is also highly inaccurate and demeaning to men. I have found the students at Drake, both male and female, to be highly intelligent and capable of finding ways to respectfully enjoy the companionship of the opposite sex while engaging in activities that result in true pleasure, activities that engage both the mind and the heart. The women of Drake have so very much to offer themselves, Drake, the community, the nation and the world.  The last thing they should be concerned with is providing physical pleasure to the men on campus. Further, the last thing men should be expecting from the women on campus is physical pleasure, particularly when the high-caliber women of Drake possess the endearing qualities and attributes requisite in committed, meaningful, long-term relationships. “Ultimate pleasure” is not derived from some fleeting sexual escapade with someone you will hardly remember in a few years (though there will very likely, and rightfully so, be feelings of regret and guilt), but rather is derived from the open, honest, and respectful exchange of ideas and emotions while battling the ups-and-downs of life.

Surely parents are not spending nearly $40,000 per year to send their daughters to Drake for the purpose of “pleasuring” the men on campus.  If this were the case, I would need to drastically alter my “sales pitch” when meeting with prospective students and their parents.  Speaking of which, did you stop to think what effect the article would have on a prospective student’s parents that happened to stumble upon it while visiting campus or searching around on the Internet?  Moreover, did you consider the effect such an article might have on some of Drake’s bigger donors?  Given that Drake is a private institution, we are highly dependent on contributions from outside the university and I do not think that “Larry Flynt” dollars are our primary source of contributions (nor should they be).

The article was disgusting and significantly below the standard of what should be represented in Drake’s newspaper. You can hide behind “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press” all you wish. However, there are attending consequences, either favorable or unfavorable, depending on how such freedoms are exercised.  I personally feel that great care, responsibility, and maturity should be exhibited when exercising these freedoms, particularly in light of the price that has been paid for such freedoms.  The anonymity and lack of personal accountability to the Drake community that is afforded through the use of pseudonyms has resulted in a huge “black eye” to Drake in the case of this article.  It is beyond time for “Jane Hoe” to step into the spotlight and take personal responsibility for the drivel that s/he has put out. If this is how this particular individual feels, which I suspect is in stark contrast to how the majority of Drake’s campus feels, then they should have the courage and conviction to write under their true and full name.  Regrettably, however, unless Drake starts getting hit where it really hurts (admissions and dollars), this nonsense will persist and “Jane Hoe” will continue writing cowardly, immature, shallow, disrespectful, and non-representative rubbish.  The only other hope is for the students of Drake to actively standup to this type of cowardly and demeaning journalism and realize it has no place here at Drake.  Women in this country have a tremendous record of standing up for themselves when they are cast aside or viewed as subservient to men.  It is my sincerest hope and desire that the women of Drake will standup, draw a line in the figurative sand, and do all in their power to halt the publication of this type of material going forward, or at a minimum, voice a united demand for “Jane Hoe” to step from behind the cowardly curtain of anonymity.

Geoffrey D. Bartlett

Assistant Professor of Accounting


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  1. Cate O'Donnell October 15, 2012

    Professor Bartlett,

    I absolutely agree that the Jane Hoe column that you are replying to was in bad taste. The reason for this, though, is because it illustrates sexist expectations about women, not just because it is about sex. I think there is actually a lot of value in having frank conversations about sex and female sexuality, particularly because women who are anything but chaste seem to be up for quite a bit of unfair criticism in our society. Jane Hoe’s article was “deplorable” because it insinuated that women have a duty to pleasure men, but as well intentioned as your response is, I also think you discount how many of us (women, even!) feel that our sexuality is an important part of being human. No, we are not meant to be there “for men’s pleasure,” but that also doesn’t mean that if I decide to “hook up” with someone it’s because he pressured me or I don’t respect myself. In fact, it bothers me that in your article you assert that “the high-caliber women of Drake possess the endearing qualities and attributes requisite in committed, meaningful, long-term relationships,” as though women who want to be sexual outside of relationships or don’t want relationships are any less high-caliber.

    Neither you nor Jane Hoe make the point that I think (hope) you were trying to make: women should be in control of their own sexuality. Rather than insinuating that women should/should not pleasure their random hookups, we should be empowering them to make healthy choices on their own terms. And for the record, the Times-Delphic (and Drake at large) doesn’t exist to impress potential students, our parents, or even our faculty; it exists to teach us, empower us and help us figure out what on Earth we’re doing. A well-written, intelligent sex column could be part of doing just that.

    1. Bob October 17, 2012

      The idea that this article by Jane Hoe was “intelligent and well written” is laughable. As a journalism major, I am embarrassed not only by the content of the article, but also by the quality with which it was written. Professor Bartlett should be commended for speaking up and voicing what the vast majority of Drake students are feeling. Of the many female friends who have read this article, NONE are in agreement with anything that Jane Hoe has spewed out, nor feel that professor Bartlett insinuated anything but respect for ALL Drake students. Jane Hoe needs to take her journalistic privileges seriously and recognize that his/her “services” are no longer wanted.

  2. wow. October 17, 2012

    I agree with Cate.

  3. Brian Adams-Thies October 22, 2012

    Rock on Cate!

    “Real pleasure” doesn’t happen solely in the confines of a very limited and regimented view of a “relationship” (re: generally meaning monogamous heterosexual couplings that last long enough to produce and raise progeny). I plenty of “high caliber” people that have plenty of pleasure outside of the confines of “relationship”. Women, men and anyone in-between these poles of a gender dichotomy should be in control of their sexuality and explore their pleasure without being considered any less than “high caliber” because they choose to do so in ways that don’t supposedly engage “the mind and heart”. The bourgeois associations of romance with sexuality are quite limiting and repressive.

    Again, awesome response Cate!

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