My sexist, simple, political hometown

What is it with my home town Göttingen? The little picturesque student city in the middle of Germany produced two strange news in the last week.

First, I stumbled upon this video by Kathleen Leinemann which is supposed to become the “city’s hymn”. It’s a very, very, very simple song with a country appeal and the video is of the kind where your parents clap your shoulder and say “at least your not in prison”. The video went a little viral on Facebook, since these kind of embarrassing oddities do get their share. But well, maybe my home town deserves it, I know why I had to leave when I was 19.

The second story is about students, football and sexism. Apparently Göttingen’s students teams have a tendency to chose sexist names. One team is called “FC Siewillja” (“FC she wants it”) and one of the many word games people play when choosing a hobby team’s name. Other teams are called “FC Nuttich” (“FC Slutty”), or “Borussia Bunga Bunga”. This team had to face a shitstorm after giving a sarcastic answer to a concerned female student on their Facebook page.

The story unfolded and was discussed on many blogs and pages. Like always, there is no real consensus to be found. One part claims that language is power and by using words to degrade women sexual harassment is manifested. While others can’t understand the uproar and just laugh about a wordplay. The FC Siewillja team at least felt sorry for being sarcastic and not answering appropriately to the first comment, they changed their logo from a naked women to a full beer glass. To be fair, most teams use metaphors from alcohol for their names like “Wacker Durchsaufen” (“Bravely Binging”, referring to the second league club “Wacker Burghausen”). Or AS Rum.

What does this tell us about Göttingen? Göttingen has always been a very political city. With a strong leftist alternative scene in the 80ies and 90ies it saw many demonstrations and had one tragic incident where a member of the local antifascist group was killed in a police car incident which hardened the situation and produced many violent anti-police demonstrations in the beginning of the 90ies. Then, during the last years, Göttingen’s university received elite status and thus many conservative and success focused students moved there, clashing with the former leftist political milieu at the university.

I assume that while student football teams have all sorts of pseudo-funny and sexist names all over the country, the shitstorm had to happen in Göttingen. Because of this clash and the political heritage. Or I am going too far here. And Göttingen in the end is the simple minded place that the video in the beginning likes us to believe.