Welcome to Augustana, Where Everyone Knows Everything About Everybody
by KEN WINDER
In the day and age of social networks like Facebook, Tinder, Chillabit or just being a student on a very small campus, it is vital to remember that our actions impact our community. Every stranger we smile at, every text sent, every like on Facebook – it all interconnects us and we are all impacted. It’s not enough just to be polite in conversations in person, or pretend we just have #rbf, when in all actuality we were totally glaring at that person. We now have to monitor our behaviors online because they have just as big as an impact on the community as our actions do offline. But I’m not here to lecture you about cyber bullying or all the different ways students can interact. I want to look at the bigger picture; I want to address how we treat each other in everyday life. More specifically I want to address how we treat each other when it comes to sexuality.
Sexuality is constantly scrutinized in our everyday lives and it is essential that we start to change how we address it, especially among our fellow peers. Many things are continuously scrutinized, like dress, number of romantic partners, or attitude to sexuality. Whether you want to wear a bag over your head, or hardly anything at all, that is your provocative and by all means, be free to do so. When it comes to romantic partners, we should have the ability to be with whom we would like to be without having the negative connotations associated with it. It doesn’t matter if you engage in romantic activities with one person, half the student population, or never at all. As long as every encounter you engage in is safe, consensual, and you treat every one of your partners with respect and dignity, it should not be an issue to the public eye. Another aspect of sexuality that is constantly criticized is how individuals regard their sexuality. To pretend sexuality doesn’t exist or keep it on the down low is the societal norm because to be comfortable and open with your body or sexual activity is not received well most of the time.
When it comes to the aforementioned aspects of sexuality, it is utterly essential that we start to change how we regard our peers. For it is not our business what an individual chooses to wear, how they act, or who they choose to sleep with. If it makes you uncomfortable, then don’t focus on it. Don’t gossip about it. Don’t post it online or talk to your friends about it, because honestly, it doesn’t affect us. What does affect the community is how you choose to regard sexuality. How you speak about someone and their choices is going to follow that person around for a very long time. It will influence who they befriend, where they can work, and what they can do in general. Whether it’s online or offline, keeping positive energy in your community can do wonders and make Augustana a more inclusive place for all.