My WS colleagues have luckily kept me in the loop during my maternity leave on the interesting things happening on campus this semester. A former student of mine just stepped up and bravely called out the Greek life on campus for its blatant sexism. I am so relieved to finally see some bold action here generated by another student. While I have heard plenty of criticisms of Greek life in my office, and even sometimes in classes, rarely do students put themselves out there in such a public way. When they do write op-eds to the paper, like Cassie did, they generally tone down their arguments to be respectful to the feelings of Greek students. Whatever!
Because I am impressed with Cassie's letter and I want to support her indictment of Greek life on my campus, I am posting her op-ed here for my readers:
The Gettysburg College Social Scene through the Eyes of a WomanI have written many, many times about how the Greek system and its sexist ways dominate the social scene at my college. Cassie does a good job clarifying what exactly that means in easy to understand examples in her op-ed.
I’ve learned some tricks over the years to getting along in the social scene here on campus. Let’s see…First of all, I don’t eat Thursday dinner, and I only have a snack like an orange or a yogurt Friday afternoon. I don’t want to be one of those girls turned away at the door of a party because I’m fat. I remember a sign posted outside a frat that made it so clear: “No Fat Bitches Allowed.” I mean, hello. They put it right out there. If you’re fat, don’t expect to get in. Not everyone can fit into a house at once.
Secondly, don’t bring guys along if you want to get in. There has to be a ratio of 3 girls to every 1 boy, at least. Unless the brothers at the door know the guys. In that case, make sure to bring a token few and you might get in even easier. You have to make sure that if you’re trying to get in with guys of a different frat, they better like each other. A fight or yelling match doesn’t get you in the door.
Also, don’t go out with your ugly friends! I mean, this is about having a good time, right? I remember one time I was so stupid. I was in a co-ed group of friends who were fun and loud, but not the cutest people around. The brothers at the door told us the house was full and we should get the f--- off their driveway immediately. If only I had known to surround myself with prettier people, then I wouldn’t have put them in a situation where they had to be mean.
It’s not always necessary, but at least one girl should have cleavage, and another with a short skirt helps. Not everyone screening at the door judges you on your looks, but better safe than sorry!
Now, if you make it into the door, your next goal is beer of course. There are a few options in this situation: You can send your cutest friend to flirt with the beer-dispensing brother. Make sure she knows to smile and lean over the bar when asking for the cups. She can also act a little bit drunk already so the guy feels in control of the situation. No one wants to deal with a sober woman who demands what she wants!
Now once you’re in and you have your beer, you’re set. Just keep reapplying these rules at each house until you’re sloppy to blackout drunk. (Sometimes a mystery friend will help you speed up this process by dropping a roofie in your drink.) Then go to someone’s room who you don’t care about, sleep with him in order to express your repressed sexuality (but later blame it on the booze, rather than the natural human desire to have sex), take the shame walk home in the morning, have a short cry, and laugh about it with your friends at Servo. Isn’t it fun being a girl at Gettysburg College?
Create your own social scene.
Before you get defensive and angry about this article, take a moment. Take a moment to think about if you have ever experienced these things on campus, as my friends or I have first hand. Even if you only observed these situations, you cannot justify letting them perpetuate. I understand not every guy or girl present at frat parties acts like this, but these actions are present on this campus. Let’s change that.
If you agree that social change against sexism is necessary in order to improve our campus, please sign the banner that will be displayed at the Women’s Center CUB table later this week and into the next.
What I predict will happen in response to her letter is a flurry of letters denying the reality of what she is saying. She will be accused of being "judgmental," perhaps of being sexist in her assessment of Greek women. What won't happen is an honest dialogue about how degrading this atmosphere is for women on campus. One thing to always keep in mind when you are evaluating what goes on here on my campus (which is no different from most campuses with a Greek life) is that these women are intellectually superior to the men they degrade themselves for to win a spot in their fraternity house.
My sincere wish is that Cassie gets students like her fired up enough to take back this campus and make it non-coercive, welcoming atmosphere for all.