The long and twisted tales of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) started with the news of his "get-out-of-jail-free card" after a DUI while serving in the state legislature. The bro-world that he represents is part of a larger problem, Teen Vogue argued, that is bleeding into life outside of college.
Writing Monday, Hope Corrigan explained that the typical culture created by college fraternities isn't supposed to make it past graduation. Instead, it has become somehow acceptable to continue the reckless behavior and "casual misogyny" in the "adult" world.
"The congressman, whose father is a towering figure in Florida Republican politics, is not the first high-profile man whose alleged professional behavior resembles that of a fraternity chapter run amok," Corrigan wrote. "The misogyny of American 'frat-boy culture' runs rampant in almost every industry, from film to retail. For decades, women have had to work around intrusive displays of masculinity to do their jobs, an exhausting task in a world that often not only turns a blind eye to but also rewards certain kinds of abusive behavior in the workplace. The mentality reinforced by fraternity culture doesn't melt away at college graduation — instead, it bleeds into everyday life, plaguing women in a variety of professional settings."
She went on to cite the security camera company Verkada, whose male employees were caught using their access to watch their female colleagues, post clips of the footage in a work Slack channel, and then conduct their own sexually explicit commentary.
Women sued the sports entertainment company Topgolf claiming they "created, condoned, and covered up a misogynistic 'frat boy' culture at its Las Vegas location."
The insurance company Zenefits fired half of its staff in 2017 and the CEO banned alcohol after used condoms, cigarettes and cups of beer were strewn all over the place.
"Often the common denominator for companies that foster a 'frat-boy culture' appears to be that other employees, namely women and minorities, are collateral damage for the inappropriate behavior of the men who work there," explained Corrigan. "Mass layoffs, shuffling leadership, embarrassing PR nightmares, and sexual assaults affect those who don't engage in the behavior at the root of these problems."
It's as if the saying "boys will be boys" is being used to excuse illegal behavior. She recalled former President Donald Trump's claim of "locker room talk" after he confessed to sexually assaulting women by grabbing their genitals without consent.
"Matt Gaetz kind of personifies the worst of the worst, but the culture that allowed him to do that and allowed him to get away with it and allowed him to keep doing it is very common," said Florida state Rep. Anna Eskamani.
"When you see people like Matt Gaetz being held accountable for their behavior, that also changes behavior," she continued. "Share your experiences, because as we speak, we are creating a healthier culture for the future, but accountability plays a role in building that culture."