Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Dr Cooper missed the mark

Published:Thursday | November 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Dr Cooper's recent opinion piece is very problematic. The list of offences is pretty long, but for purposes of this comment, I will focus on the poor writing and logic, the explicit and implicit homophobia, the misogyny and the sexualisation of ordinary social interactions.

First, Dr Cooper's clear intent is to insult the Kingston College (KC) Old Boys' Association. But the insult would be toothless if Jamaican society was more tolerant of the rights of sexual minorities. It is very disappointing to see someone who is supposed to be a thought leader write an opinion piece ridiculing sexual minorities in a country with a sad history of discrimination.

Second, the article is misogynistic in its suggestion that the only reason women should want to attend the function is so that they can be objectified by men. This suggestion is so absurd that not even the most "sex positive" advocate would make it.

Third and relatedly, the article suggests that interactions at social functions such as an alumni dinner are and should be sexual. Moreover, Dr Cooper sexualises children by equating childhood bonding, friendship and other normal socialisation behaviours with sexual interactions.

The contretemps caused by the KC alumni's decision makes it timely to have a conversation about misogyny, masculinity and related issues in Jamaican society and to examine the role that same-sex schools have played with respect to such issues. Sadly, Dr Cooper's poorly written and reasoned diatribe is a distraction from this very important conversation.

Ian Walker

iankwalker@gmail.com