Frats Invite Sluts, Bitches; Women Accept Degradation. Why?

“Dear Bitches, I mean witches.”

So began Duke’s Alpha Delta Phi’s e-mailed invitation to their Halloween party. It continues just as charmingly:

“The Brothers of Alpha Delta Phi know what true fear is. Fear is having someone say ‘I love you.’ … Fear is riding the C1 with Helen Keller at the helm (not because shes deaf and blind, but because she is a woman). Fear is waking up with no wallet, phone, keys, or front tooth next to a girl who you could generously deem a 3.”

Not to be outdone, Duke’s Sigma Nu frat offered their own enticement:

“Whether your dressing up as a slutty nurse, a slutty doctor, a slutty schoolgirl, or just a total slut, we invite you to find shelter in the confines of Partners D.”

Ummm, how appealing! (And I don’t just mean their grammar and spelling.)

Someone had the sense to print out the invites and scrawl handwritten messages: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention,” “Is this why you came to Duke?” and then wallpaper the campus.

Strangely, sorority sisters interviewed took it all in stride as “boys-will-be-boys.”

“Honestly, when I first received those e-mails I didn’t think anything of it,” said Emily Fausch, of Delta Delta Delta sorority. “This is the kind of thing I’ve come to expect from fraternities. In my heart, I know it’s a problem but I’ve really gotten used to it. I don’t take it too seriously. I think that college boys will be college boys.”

Now, not all fraternities are created equal. Some actually work to be respectful toward women. But at many frats, women are routinely degraded in attempts to create a sense of male superiority and “manhood” by putting women down, according to sociologist, Michael Kimmel.

But why do women so often support their own disgrace by continuing to fraternize with the frats? This woman’s comment that she’s simply gotten used to it is telling.

We live in a society that sees women as lesser-than, and which sexualizes male dominance. Both lay the groundwork for accepting ill treatment.

A few quick examples: Man, brother, and guy encompass women, but woman, sister, and gal don’t encompass men. So man becomes primary, and woman secondary. A woman marries and becomes Mrs. Leonard Smith. A man never becomes Mrs. Emily Struthers. Unless it’s an insult. Send a card from the family? Likely dad’s name goes first, then mom’s, then the children in order of appearance. Men tend to feel insulted taking the secondary spot. Women are just used to it.

We sexualize male dominance when Rhett takes Scarlett up the stairs for a night of marital rape and Scarlett cheerfully awakens the next morning. Or when Rihanna sings about enjoying mistreatment from her man, while Eminem celebrates abusing women. Watching women enjoy humiliation in porn or mainstream movies like The Secretary also eroticizes male dominance. The list goes on.

Continually treated as secondary, second-rate treatment becomes taken-for-granted, invisible. The women are used to it. It seems natural. Sometimes even sexy.

As too many frat brothers intensify the world of insult, women acclimate to the higher level shame.

All this teaches women to accept attitudes and behavior that regard them as second-class.

A college roommate of mine dated a frat boy who treated her like dirt. She defended him to all of us who cared about her. She had certainly learned to accept her own humiliation.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on November 8, 2010, in feminism, gender, men, pornography, relationships, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.

  1. BINGO!
    You just summarized my thesis!
    This has been coming ON FOR MANY YEARS, getting increasingly worse year by year until it is now normal for both male and femal to see females in just this light.
    I call it the sexualization of America from birth to death!
    It is the reason I founded TMU and have tried to bring women together from both sides of the aisle to fight it.
    Liberal women do themselves no favors going along with this and Conservative women do themselves no favor saying only sluts tolerate it. This affects every women and every man. Our baby boys and baby girls are raised on this falacy and are taught this nonsense from birth – what else are boys to think about females and what else are females to think about females- it has been normalized! No one gives it a second thought- its normal- they all admit it – no big deal! Well it damned well is a big deal when we have an entire generation of males and females who have no respect for the majority of our society! A big damned deal!

    This problem belongs to every child who is born and raised in the US – even in the modern world and subjected to a daily dose of this everywhere they look in everything they hear!

    I have been reporting on this for over 30 years and run a series every year . Please do yourselves a favor and look at what is at the root of this behavior- its all right here for your perusal- the proof positive! We have been brainwashed! We can be deprogramed- will you join me?Reply

    • different_perspective

      I agree with you that there is a problem with society, but I am not sure that it is purely the fault of men.

      I would like to make an important observation. The girls referred to in the above article are well educated American girls from good family backgrounds who can afford to go to college. Yet, they willingly CHOOSE to go to these parties and behave like whores. It was their CHOICE to do so – nobody kidnapped them.

      How DARE you blame male brainwashing for the degenerate behaviours that perfectly intelligent women have willingly chosen? This is a democracy, nobody is forcing women to behave in this way – they behave like this because it is their nature to do so.

      If a man commits a crime, nobody accuses society of brainwashing him to do so – he would go to prison. If a women behaves like a slut she is an innocent abused woman that was brainwashed. Look at yourself closely and you will see that the problem is nothing to do with men – it is selfish spoilt women who wish to do whatever the hell pleases them and expect everyone else to accept it.

      • I hope you’re clear that I’m not blaming men.

        I’m actually blaming both women and men. I’m also blaming neither.

        These are points I’ll be exploring in greater depth over time. Too complex to describe in roughly 400 words. For now, consider the following:

        First, there is a difference between choosing and internalizing. When someone sees the world in the way the culture sees it, they have internalized the culture. That is to say, society now exists in their own minds. And the experience is something akin to brainwashing.

        When a person has internalized her culture she is unconscious of that fact. And when a person is unconscious of having internalized, she won’t criticize it. She effectively has no choice, because the world as she sees it seems normal to her. It’s just the way it is.

        You see people internalizing a culture when they live in a racist society and come to be racist themselves. It is all they know. Someone needs to critique the situation for their racism to even become visible to them. In their minds whites are simply superior and there’s no reason to think otherwise. That whites and blacks might be equal never occurs to them.

        However, blacks are more aware of racism because they have a memory of something different. They lived in equality before Whites kidnapped them and brought them to the Western world. Women, on the other hand, have no memory of anything different. See a post that discusses this: http://broadblogs.com/2010/07/28/why-are-we-more-offended-by-racism-than-sexism/

        The point of posts like the one I wrote is to make people conscious of sexism. To help people see that they unconsciously follow sexist ways of being. Both men and women do this. Women and men both learn male superiority, and they both re-create it when men do things like invite sluts and bitches, and when women accept the invitation.

        By the way, I don’t think sexism arose because men are just horrible people. Some forces having nothing to do with men trying to hurt women came into being after a long period of equality. I’ll be writing on that later too.

      • Different perspective were you replying to my comments about brainwashing?
        If so –
        1- are you male or female?
        2- I said both males and females were being brainwashed from birth to see females in this way ” baby boys and baby girls are raised on this falacy and are taught this nonsense from birth – what else are boys to think about females and what else are females to think about females- it has been normalized!”

        Clearly I did not blame men and I am under the impression you are blaming women rather than the society in which we are raising our children?
        Am I correct?

  2. Urgh. Reading those emails leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Good for whoever printed them and commented on them. It’s frightening just what is actually accepted, simply because ‘that’s just how it is.’

  3. The fraternity invitation to the female students at Duke University adheres to the sex object theme that commonly appears around the world depicting women. The invitation is reducing the female invitees to objects of gratification for the male hosts. The use of the word “slut” in the invite is degrading and reinforces the ideology that women are subordinate to men and not worthy of respect. I read the invitation as an innuendo meaning that if you go to the party you should be prepared to act as outlined in the invitation – As a wanton “slut”. The invitation is disrespectful and is used to set the standard of expectations once at the party. This type of social reinforcement is crippling progress for women’s rights and roles in society.
    S. Walker, 11.09.10

  4. Ngoc Huynh (R.Splitter EWRT 1B)

    According to James Gilligan’s “Violence as Proof of Masculinity,” women have been historically viewed as sex objects. Women are good for sex and conceiving children, while men are good for their masculinity and power. Contrast to popular belief, a typical male still judge a female by her physical traits (i.e. face, breasts size, etc) before he actually gets to know her. Despite feminist movements and some success in acquiring gender equality, our patriarchal society still adheres to the sex object theory, and women continues to remain the inferior sex. No matter how much historians brag about the myriad social changes that have transpired, women still don’t have a legitimate political voice to urge Congress to pass gender equality laws. As a coping mechanism, majority of women tolerate their secondary classification because evidently “second is better than none.”

  5. I really don’t agree with sociologist, Michael Kimmel, in that the frat boys act this way to assert their male superiority and “manhood” by putting women down, at least not consciously. Frat boys act this way because their behavior has been accepted for as long as there has been fraternities, they think it’s funny and regardless of what people might think (and not say) it gets a big response. The fact is, the girls will wear the “required” dress for the party and go because they will do what it takes to be accepted and to be a part of the in crowd. And many of the girls will dress that way because they like feeling sexy, they like to be looked at and they like the attention. I don’t necessarily like the way in which the frats address women some of the time (and unfortunately, there aren’t any terms which apply to boys in quite the same way) but as one of the Delta sorority students mentioned, she doesn’t take it too seriously – so neither will I.

    • It can be hard to explain in roughly 400 words how Dr. Kimmel came to his conclusion. It is something I will be exploring over time.

      Otherwise, I agree that everything else you say is true.

      While women do often put up with demeaning behavior, I don’t think it makes it okay. For one thing, the women involved aren’t the only ones affected. Also the DDD sister said that in her heart it did bother her. So she is aware of some negative effects.

      But when demeaning, degrading nature seems normal and natural, so that people put up with it, that cannot be good for anyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity…

  6. I feel like maybe women don’t see how much they are being devalued unless something big happens…To be honest my freshman year at a four year college was an extreme learning experience, all I wanted was to be in a sorority just like my friends. Why do young girls tend to want to be in a sorority? Because fraternity boys want to date sorority girls. The dorms were coed floors and on our floor were guys from the basket ball team and lacrosse team. Looking back I wonder why girls were apt to do the guys laundry, to help them with the homework (if not do it for them), to even clean there dorm rooms. Were they just being helpful or were they working above and beyond to get male attention only to be used and thrown away later. Why did we not see that the attention we were getting from guys was disrespectful , I guy saying wow you have a big rack or I wanna see those girls make out was disrespectful . Unfortunately I remember all too well a friend crying after sleeping with a guy on the basketball team and later her being deemed a slut who sleeps around. Just in one year there were many encounters that were similar to this, always ending in the guy being the man and the women being trashy. Maybe younger women growing up in a generation that for the most part has always had rights, we fail to see what we don’t have.

  7. Tamara,
    You hit the nail right on the head. Thank you for being so honest. Our baby boys and girls have been raised on this swill for the past 30 some odd years. From the moment they are born both see images of females as sex objects depicted for the sheer enjoyment of males. This produces a false idea in both their minds so that they may be told one thing by the bombardment is some great and incideous both come to accept it as fact. Some will then try to convince us that we are born that way- not so we are brainwashed.

    He has been taught she is a piece of meat and will do anything to get a man – and if she proves him right – he gets his piece of meat. She has been taught to get the man she must cater to his every fantasy and need . She does whatever it takes to attract man and then caters to his every fantasy and need . Man gets laid woman gets the man.
    But in the end only one wins- man gets laid – she doesn’t get to keep the man. Man is soon lured away by another woman who has him in her crosshairs and ready to cater to his every fantasy and need. Keep in mind – he has been programed both by nature and by media that he is a rooster who needs to take care of the who hen house . You can’t blame him – this is exactly what he is programed to respond to. What we can do is stop playing the damned game.
    It takes two as you clearly pointed out! Thanks you for your comment – how refreshing to have a yooung women willing to open up like that.

    • Tamara,
      May I attached your name to your comment which I have used as an opener in my next post “Sexualizing America 11 of 12″ ? The piece is exclusively on a Lee Advertising shoot using a single model who appears to be underage and is sending a message to all young girls that perpetuates what you noticed and wondered about girls “working above and beyond to get male attention only to be used and thrown away later.”

  8. I can’t believe that Emily Fausch would say boys will be boys, when they are doing the things to the extent that they are. I mean how can you say boys will be boys when they take advantage of an intoxicated girl and gang rape her one at a time, how can you think that is normal boy behavior?! Yes boys will be boys and be attracted to women for their breasts and what not but for them to take advantage of a women like she is a piece of meat and use her like that is disgusting. Something has to be mentally wrong with those guys, they should be sent to a therapist to figure out what is wrong with them. Their will probably always be double standards with it being ok for guys to have sex with a bunch of girls and they are cool and if a girl has sex with multiple guys they are a “slut”, but that’s not fair. It’s sad how out of hand male dominance has become.

  9. Christina,
    Why Are Murder and Gang Rape Used to Sell Luxury Goods to Women?
    Have you seen some of the latest ads?
    Dolce and Cabana depict gang rape! 5 men around a women who appears to be very happy to have them – the ad sells very expensive shoes.

    Calvin Klein Jeans 3 men raping a women much more graphic – angry faces – read the article

    http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/offbeat/experts-calvin-klein-ad-could-encourage-gang-rape-dpgonc-ncx-102010

    Keep speaking up . We at the majority united are educating females to put an end to this – South America and Australia has banned this – even their men refuse to have their women portrayed this way.
    We lag – as the majority 52% of the population – it is up to us to stop whinning and do somthing.
    I am- will you help?

  10. I find this subject really interesting because it’s something that has been going around for a long time. Not only are women accepting this kind of identification by men but they are also calling each other bitches and whores. From my own personal experience, women refer to each other as bitches even though they get along with one another. So now its not only okay to use it as an insult but its also socially acceptable to use it in terms of friendship (which I find really odd). Friends wont feel offended by this because its not the language that comes off as insulting but the person. In other words people are the one who insult, not language.
    I feel as if the term is taken in pride by women because they might feel that its a form of self expression, but in turn I feel that it’s just an excuse for women to talk dirty or to not feel bad when called a bitch themselves. Men definitley fuel this type of language and because they are the ones who teach women that they ARE in fact bitches and that they need to stay that way. Men have made women think that they are no longer competition to them and that they are meant to stay beneathe them as if they are the main puzzle and women are just a small peice that fit into them.

  11. Ahhhhhh Mercedes- you too have hit the nail on the head however it is time we stop blaming men for making women think that way. Men and media have played a part in the brainwashing for sure- but we have to take some responsibility ourselves for tolerating it and going along with it.

    “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

  12. Yes, this article states a lot of truths but in my opinion its not something we need to be concerned about. When i was a little girl i was told “sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you,” and its stuck with me. When guys call us bitches and hoes they aren’t trying to hurt our feelings or be superior to us, they are merely trying to look and feel cool about themselves. So what changed from the 50s to 2010? The music industry. Guys hear Lil Wayne rap things like “f- these bitches i swear i care about everything but these bitches,” and they feel its cool to say. So don’t let them get to you girls! Their only doing it through their own insecurities. And if your not dating the guy then i don’t see what the big problem.

    • I’ll write more about the dynamics behind calling women bitches and sluts as a way for men to create a sense of superiority. It will take some time since I try to keep posts to 400 words, and I don’t want to discuss only one topic for a long period of time.

      I will also write more about how words/ideas get into the subconscious, and have effects that way.

      Of course, a lot of women don’t want to rock the boat and stand up for themselves. They see that as risky, and as risking relationship.

      Men share some responsibility for denigrating women, but women do too.

      People teach others how to see them. What will you accept? If women put up with it, they will continue to be put down.

  13. Megan,
    Perhaps you do not see the problem and you feel that you can tolerate it however, you tolerating the behavior give license to men to do this to women who do not tolerate it.

    When you ask what is the problem- you seem not to care about anyone else’s feelings?
    Did you read the posts before yours? Do you realize some young girls are hanging themselves becasuse of the way they are feeling?

    I am proud that you are self assured but be assured everyone else may not be. It is not fair to expect others to be.

  14. I was disgusted by fraternities far before even reading this post, but this post definitely made me stop and think about females, and why in the world they still even wish to socialize with such people. I was told a story about a fraternity/sorority by a friend who attended UCSB. All prospective female pledges were lined up (like cattle), and told to face the line of sorority men. One by one, the boys would pick out a girl from the lineup, and they would go off to have sex. Since when did sororities become brothels? Often, these groups are looked at as the best people to hang out with, as being at the “top of the social ladder”…but who really cares when you have to demean yourself, when you have to stoop so low, to be accepted? Females aren’t aware that by socializing with these people, they are supporting what they promote, which is slanderous language towards women, sexism, and degredation. We must become aware of this, and fight it.

  15. You are so right and that is the reason for this post – be sure to let others know of the post and let’s get women moving on this front!
    We send them to college to be educated and the first thing they do is act foolish! go figure!

  16. The invitations from the frat boys are just awful. Where on earth did they get the idea that they can treat women like that? And why are sorority girls putting up with it? I remember touring a university back in high school (a top notch university I might add), and passing by these huge frat and sorority houses, and there was a big group of guys outside shirtless and drinking beer. It seems as if when guys get together in large groups, women often get put down. The whole mob mentality thing, I guess. I wish these sorority girls would do something about it, because if the guys get don’t get a response to their behavior it’d hopefully lessen. After all, what would they have done at their Halloween parties if there were no “slutty” doctors or schoolgirls there?

  17. Good Job Georgia- now you are beginning to explain it – next you might tell them what to do to stop it!

  18. I think that Frats are so openly absented minded is because women allow them to do so. Girls do seek outfits that is the most revealing, they themselves refer to them as “slutty clothing” while on the ad it clearly says sexy. We can’t entirely blame men for how they talk to women as we discuss in class its about the language and how we interpret the language can be demeaning. The word bitch is so freely used by females also, so why when is it the worse when used by men? If sorority girls rejected those frats party and don’t support male derogatory language than surely the percentage may decrease.

  19. Im currently a college student, so I am aware of what goes on and the language men use toward women especially when there are other guys around. It’s an “alpha” male thing where they show off in front of their male friends by degrading women. Now, what woman in her right mind would respond to a man who uses vulgar words to reach out to to them?! This is ludicrous! However, most of my fellow female college students don’t get mad, in fact they accepted this kind of behavior and they too believe it’s a “guy thing”. This is crazy to me too and I believe that it’s an insecurity thing where females would accept anything men say or do to them no matter how bad it is just to get any kind of affection from them. They don’t want to be the girls not invited to the party or the girls not getting attention, so they will accept this kind of behavior.

  20. In response to the blog about Frat Boys at Duke University and their tasteless Halloween party invitation I must stay that young men are becoming more abusive toward women and some women are becoming more tolerate of the abuse. Since when did it become OK to refer to women as Bitches? Not to mention the reference to Helen Keller and insulting her as a woman.
    I was once a young college Frat boy many years ago and I must admit I engaged in degrading comments and joked with my Frat brothers about women. We never went that far or published anything degrading or so verbally abusive to the women we went to school with. The women we went to school with would never have tolerated it for one and the administration would have expelled us from school if we had done anything like that.
    Today having a college aged daughter who is attending University my attitudes and views about appropriate behavior towards women has changed dramatically. I do not want her or anyone else’s daughter to be subjected to the abuse described in the two Duke Frat invitations.
    The invitations discussed in this blog made me angry that the level of abuse toward women on our college campuses today has become so much more intense. Furthermore, the abuse is somehow tolerated and found to be acceptable. The women interviewed in the blog really didn’t find it so bad and actually expected this kind of abusive language from Frat boys. That is scary that women are willing to accept being objectified and degraded.
    I believe that Frat boys should be held accountable for their sexist behavior by the school administrations. I also believe that if we are going to make any real changes in the misogynistic attitudes of these young men, parents, teachers, coaches, as well as the colleges and universities in our county have an obligation to educate them about the negative impact of their words and actions toward women.
    Young women should also be educated and supported in taking a stand against this abusive behavior by men in general.

  21. Devon,
    The girls who don’t go along with this – often are harassed and bullied viciously now. This is something that young women cannot handle alone they need help from all of society and I am certainly encouraged you have stepped up. I have been ignored for nearly 40 years now. It has gotten to this point and it has grown on us like a cancer– our kids are normalized to it– they need our help.

  22. Dunedainranger33

    Devon, what a refreshing post. First off, thank you beyond expression for holding yourself accountable for your actions, knowing their harmful effects on women. When you explained how your perspective has changed since becoming a father and watching a daughter progress through college, I couldn’t help but think about a personal issue I have with my own father. I’m a female and 22–five years older than my brother is–and still not allowed to “date.” I was dating a boy during my senior year of college–when my father found out, it was all over. D-O-N-E. He never even met the guy to claim I had made a poor choice. The “poor choice,” according to my father, was that it was my senior year and I should be concentrating on my school. My 17-year old brother (a senior in HIGH SCHOOL), however, just revealed to my parents that he is not only dating a girl, but a Japanese girl. My parents have nothing against other ethnicities, but they certainly want us to marry within our own ethnicity (Armenian) to keep our heritage strong. Can you guess how they reacted to my brother saying he had a girlfriend during his senior year of high school? They were COMPLETELY INDIFFERENT.

    Learning this, I was OUTRAGED. How is this fair??? Well, reading your post, a thought occurred to me. My father, though highly respectable, very well may have been “one of those guys” back in his day. He knows first-hand what women go through in a college setting and he just wants the best for his daughters. Maybe he was socially driven or pressured to join the guys back then too. After all, he grew up in Iran and joined the Iranian military, as all the boys had to, which may have further encouraged raunchy, “frat behavior.”

    Putting things even more into perspective, my male cousin said his father (my uncle) actually ENCOURAGED my cousin to date lots of women instead of committing to one for more than two or three dates. This helped me see how my dad might have been before marrying my mother–maybe he abused women like the frat boys do, maybe he slept around and broke girls’ hearts.

    Devon, I agree college girls from earlier decades were much stronger in the sense that they would never tolerate such behavior from the boys. Today, it’s hard to say women are 100% to blame for “accepting” abuse like that delivered by the Duke frat boys. Many women feel that without a “light-hearted” attitude towards such lingo and reference, they will be cast away from the social circle, or even more drastically, the very era they were born into. Their sense of what it means to be tough has completely flipped a 180–back then, a strong woman was intolerant, either walking away or bringing attention to the cause; today, a strong woman is one who can “lighten up” and take a joke. Or two. Or ten.

    Insightful. Thanks for posting, Devon.

  23. James Stinkerton

    Oh my God, how can men be so cruel as to insult the fragile flower of womanhood called the college co-ed? Isn’t it enough that they brought the condoms along in fear of being date raped into submission on the night of their senior prom? Women as we all know, are made from diamond dust, morning dew, and pure driven snow, how can men with looks, money and prestige be so degrading to treat women in a manner which turns them into mindless robots, hell bent on their own nakedness. We can only hope that in the future men will relinquish their mind control devices which they use against hapless women, whom as we all know from the last 50 years of feminism are stronger, wiser, and more intelligent than men who are merely sub human beasts who care only about sex. Because God knows women have no carnal desires, or any attraction to men who don’t give women’s everchanging kaleidoscope of emotional whimsy the ultimate respect it deserves. I know this because I have watched Sex in the City and have also overheard women having very solemn conversations about sex toys and the size of men’s demon snake endowments.

    I mean I could be wrong, and that women don’t like beta males like me, but would rather be, and enjoy being plowed by tall, strong, handsome, exciting men from powerful families. But if I thought that I might lose all my female friends who said they might introduce me to someone.

    • So true! Well, the diamond dust part.

      But when women enjoy sex they’re sluts (and apparently should be called that) but when men enjoy sex they’re players, studs, pimps – all considered positive.

      This sort of name-calling does lead to sexual repression. Women on average don’t enjoy sex as much as men. And they don’t enjoy it as much as women in egalitarian cultures (read up on Tahitians and American Indians before European Contact.) If you want to be with women who enjoy sex less than they could, keep it up!

      But you’re also missing much of the point. Frats calling women sluts isn’t the only way women learn to see themselves as second-class. It’s not simply frats brainwashing women.

      And many men are not like the frats I’ve described. In fact, many frat men aren’t like that either. Even when they bow down to pressure, many would rather not act disrespectfully toward women.

      Read my responses to others. It’s both men’s fault and women’s. It’s also neither of their faults, because we’ve all been brainwashed (not literally, but something akin to it).

      It’s so hard to treat women respectfully?

  24. Wow, I’m beside myself with aw.

    What’s most appalling, is the fact that you are directly correlating fraternities with the degradation of women. As a former president of a fraternity, and a former president of the inter-fraternity council, your opinions of fraternities couldn’t be further from the truth. In the world of psychological academia, great efforts are made to minimize stereotypes and bias towards particular groups, which is why I’m so surprised that you would promote such ballyhoo.

    Yes, there are always those people involved with whichever organization they are affiliated, and some will step past the line, demonstrated by the email included – but, those words are from an individual who possesses poor judgment, and I guarantee you that those words are not shared across all party lines.

    Keeping in line with the Duke theme, if you recall, the Duke lacrosse team was put through hell and back regarding a factitious rape charge, which ended up placing a life-long stigma on those involved – although the charges were completely erroneous and the district attorney was disbarred due to his conduct during the investigation. Despite the fact the charges proved to be false, the lacrosse team did hire exotic dancers to perform at their party, so clearly this behavior is not limited to those who are a part of the fraternity system.

    Furthermore, how can this degradation be measured without actually knowing how many of the women conformed with the call for slutty outfits? If 100% of the ladies invited to the party conformed, than are we to pass judgment on sororities or women as a whole?

    Fraternities, in many cases, are the institutions which provide more community service aid than any other school organization. There are also responsible people involved with the fraternities who are put into positions to address emails and slander such as those mentioned above. I have personally placed fraternities on probation for these types of remarks. I also had bi-weekly meetings with the Chancellor of my school, during my IFC presidency, not only to address concerns, but also to keep him informed of community outreach programs with which each institution was involved.

    Your inferences regarding the practices of mainstream media are deliberately focused on those that promote your point of degradation, and completely overlook the reciprocal. The Victoria Secret catalog, for example, the catalog with the high circulation of any, purposely creates the same protocol with regards to their models’ wardrobes. One can only assume that the Victoria Secret catalog promotes certain looks, which very well may be considered slutty, because they sell what’s offered. And who are they selling to – women!

    Your particular bias and stereotyping doesn’t go unnoticed either. Obviously, you have a significant maladaptive view about fraternities, hence, referring to the members of a fraternity as “frat boys”. It’s a fraternity, not a frat, and your use of the word “boy” to emphasize your point, clearly demonstrates your contempt for such organizations and those who are involved.

    Overall, there are gross stereotypes and bias in this excerpt, and I would encourage anyone who reads this to question what is being “used” as the catalyst to draw false correlations and causations. Believe it or not, there are some guys, either involved with the fraternity system or not, who actually are good guys and have absolutely no intent in degrading women whatsoever.

    • You make some fair points. Enough so that I have changed 2 paragraphs to read:

      Now, not all frats are created equal. Some actually work to be respectful toward women. But at many fraternities, women are routinely degraded in attempts to create a sense of male superiority and “manhood” by putting women down, according to sociologist, Michael Kimmel.

      And:

      As too many frat brothers intensify the world of insult, women acclimate to the higher level shame.

      In this piece, I’m actually more concerned with women acclimating to degradation, and why, than I am with how the “frat boys” are acting. Which brings up two of your other points.

      First, I’m concerned with women, not sororities. If any of the women acquiesced (doesn’t need to be 100%) it’s a problem because their acceptance teaches men to disrespect women.

      Second, I purposely use the term “frat boy” because these guys are acting like immature boys, not men. At any point where these guys are behaving immaturely, I have, and will, continue to label them “frats.”

      Finally, to your point about the Victoria’s Secret catalog’s portraying women in sexy dress: I’m not concerned with women dressing sexually (I have other probs w/Victoria Secret. See: http://broadblogs.com/2011/01/06/how-to-look-like-a-victoria%e2%80%99s-secret-angel/

      I’m concerned with:

      1. Calling women who dress sexy, or who act sexual, “sluts.” When guys are sexual it’s a badge of honor: stud, player, pimp. But women are put down for their sexuality.

      2. I also have concerns about women feeling pressured to starve and get plastic surgery to look like Victoria Secret models.

      3. Also have a problem with women being portrayed in a one-dimensional way. Sexy is fine if it’s one part of a multi-dimensional woman.

      Thank you for your comment.

  25. I understand your frustration with some of the immature “frat boys”, but immaturity is not limited to or exclusive to the fraternity system. The elicit emails may have come from an immature “Social Chairman”, but **ALL** fraternities have responsible members, which is why I think it’s making an over generalization and placing a negative stereotype on those who choose to become involved with such an organization. As president, I was responsible for handling a $1.5 million budget, which demands responsibility – and furthermore, cannot be handled by a “boy”. The term “boy” the way you are using it, originated from the era in which white slave owners would call their black slaves “boy” as a way of demeaning them.

    Our media sensationalizes and promotes this double standard, which is the root cause of these behaviors. For example, when Halloween comes around, frequently costume stores will display these slutty types of outfits. Since there is no call to action to adhere to a specific dress code for Halloween, the choice to dress in a slutty outfit is made solely by the woman – but again, media plays a part in societal norms and what’s acceptable.

    I would also argue that the battle of putting one gender down is much more prevalent within the male gender, i.e. men will fight to be more dominant than the other male. Male superiority, as seen across many species, is aimed at other males in order to be the most desirable mate. Assuming that a male covets a “hook-up”, more flies are caught with honey, not vinegar.

    Thank you too for responding. I understand the double standard and I disagree with its manifestation within society, but I disagree with the groups you are targeting as the catalyst for such standards.

    • The difference between calling frat boys “boy” and African Americans “boy” is that one deserves the title, but the other does not. When the sorts of frat boys I’m referring to grow up, and treat women with respect, I’ll call them men. You, on the other hand, sound like a man to me.

  26. Thank you for not lumping me into the “frat boy” category.

    As I mentioned before, I agree there is an issue, but I disagree with targeting fraternities. Respectfully, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the fact that many immature “frat boys” are African American, too. Would you be okay with calling an African American “frat boy” a “boy”, considering how it was derived? It sounds as though the stereotype to whom you are referring is primarily made up of white males between the ages 18-22. I hope that I’m off base with that assessment because it would be a gross oversight to only include white males in your profile of a member of a fraternity.

    • Actually, I really don’t care what color someone is. If they are behaving in an immature, misogynistic fashion, they are acting like boys, not men. But our culture is more worried about the “isms” that affect men than “isms” that affect women, so women are just supposed to ignore hurtful treatment if it comes from a man who is not white, apparently. See my post on this: Why Are We More Offended By Racism Than Sexism? http://broadblogs.com/2010/07/28/why-are-we-more-offended-by-racism-than-sexism/

      To you other point. 1) Frats aren’t being singled out. Are all of my posts on frats? I only have two entries on them. 2) There is a difference between a stereotype and a social pattern. And there is a social pattern of higher-than-usual levels of misogyny among a great many frats. While some fraternities work to support women, many others are marked by misogyny, more so than other sectors of society. Rates of rape are much higher among fraternity guys than among most other male groups. Where else have you heard of things like men shouting, “No means yes, yes means anal” in front of a women’s center and women’s dorms? There is something amiss in large parts of that subculture. You’ll be hearing more on the problem with frats later to give you a greater sense of the problem that too commonly arises in that subculture.

      But thank you for your comment.

  27. I have actually been in a fraternity and was a member of Sigma Pi. Now, thinking back just how much frats and sororities affect incoming freshman is part of the problem. It is the mentality of high school seniors to join Greek life that ultimately put them in greater risks for guys to demean and girls being demeaned. So, it is really a choice to join Greek life. For some people, they just know that it’s not their lifestyle. But for the others who do join, is it better to join with some kind of educational background? For example, I never talked to my parents about Greek life until I was in it. I never knew what to expect other than the stereotype that it is a place to party and hook up. Isn’t better if parents would talk to their kids about Greek life just like they would talk to their kids about sex? Obviously, there is a link between Greek life and sex and I believe the need to talk to your kids can ultimately put them in the right path.

  28. The status of females was inferior to men since decades. Despite the fact that feminists fight for the discrimination of females, this article showed that women will never be treated equally as men. ‘Bitches’ and ‘sluts’ are words to describe party girls due to their wild behavior. However, do we ever realize that these offensive terms are only created for women? What about men? Do we ever make up words with similar meanings to describe men who act wild and crazy in parties? No, offensive words are only used to describe women, how unfair is that?
    The word ‘slut’ appeared so much in the invitation of the party that I really wonder why girls would want to attend it at all. If this invitation was given to me, I would definitely throw it away feeling offended. It’s just not right to degrade women’s status in such a way!

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Actually there is hope. Things have gotten much better for women over time. And the world hasn’t always been patriarchal (and isn’t entirely even now). If the world once contained equality, I’m sure it can again. But it’ll take work.

  29. Actually, not all women would tolerate this bullshit. I for one would never dream of even speaking to a man who referred to my gender as “bitches.” In all honesty, I don’t know any females who would, thankfully. Unfortunately, women have been treated like shit for so long, some of them feel that is their only lot in life. But thankfully, women are starting to realize they DON’T NEED MEN’S APPROVAL ANY LONGER and are moving on. For that matter, they don’t need men either! Wanting is a completely different matter. I want my husband but I don’t need him. What is more satisfying in a relationship, being wanted or being needed? Personally, I will opt for wanted.

  30. I have been going to a small private college where sorority/frat life is number one important thing in the world. It’s funny that the beginning of this post talks about Alpha Phi as it is considered the “sluttiest” sorority on campus, and the girls definitely try to live up to the stereotype. They wear the skimpiest clothing, the most makeup, and the cockiest out of the other sorirites. They are also the hardest sorority to get into, because you have to have the right look in order to get in. Alpha Phi is the one the guys talk about the most, because they think they can get “easy access” to the girls. These girls have accepted the stereotype and the shallow expectations that come with being in this sorority, from what they have to look like, act like, and hooking up with random boys. They are selling themselves far too short. They absolutely are used to this, and think it’s attractive to be that way and to be seen that way.
    Furthermore, many fraternaty boys think that they can have sex with a lot of random girls if they join a sorority, and in some cases they are right. For some guys I know, that is one of their main reasons why they want to join a frat, or a particular frat.

    Many people who join sororities or frats are lonely. They haven’t found a place to fit in yet, and they are desperate to find their way. By joining organizations that have these standards, they know who they are supposed to be in those terms, and can try and mold to it to be well liked and feel accepted. Some people are willing to do almost whatever it takes to feel accepted, especaially in college when everyone is trying to find their way.

  31. I attended school in Santa Barbara and lived in Isla Vista, a little suburb of Goleta that housed only college students. I never joined a sorority or really even associated with anyone in a frat. I just personally wasn’t into dating guys in neon colored tank tops who lived off beer and overused the word “bro”. (I know, I’m stereotyping) I wouldn’t take offense to those emails, or any sort of degrading behavior because how can you take guys like that seriously? Words in the email aren’t even spelled correctly, so much for an education at Duke. Also, frat guys have such a stigma attached to themselves that it’s almost embarrassing to be part of one at some schools. I mean round up a bunch of 18-22 year old guys, fuel them with alcohol and give them funds to throw parties in hopes to attract pretty girls, they get such a sense of entitlement.

    • Ok. But would you accept their invitation?

      I have my doubts that men would be so okay with women degrading them. But then, men don’t unconsciously become used to such ways of seeing, as women so often do.

  32. Certain-to-be-wrong

    “Dear Bitches, I Mean Witches”, how degrading! Even with the opening I am appalled and upset that this was allowed to go out with no consequence. Then again this was taking place at a prestigious university by the Alpha Delta Phi. This screams to me that money can buy you anything from girls to power. Then it goes on to say “Whether your dressing up as a slutty nurse, a slutty doctor, a slutty schoolgirl, or just a total slut, we invite you to find shelter in the confines of Partners D” as if the opening line wasted enough of a slap in the face to woman they add more.
    I feel that woman help to encourage this kind of behavior by allowing it.

  33. Freemenow, you are so right. People have got to stop calling each other derogatory names. We need an intervention to stop this nonsense. It must come to an end because it is just disgusting, mortifying, and just plain wrong. People have allowed this behavior and I cannot stress enough how furious it makes me that it still goes on today. We all have to work together to put a stop to it. Women, stand up for yourselves and do not allow this to happen anymore. Men, unite, and stand alongside women as we battle for equal treatment and respect. Do not let this ignorance take over and go on. I was listening on the radio last week about a woman who got raped. The police officer said she wouldn’t have been raped if she didn’t wear the revealing clothes she wore. This is ridiculous! A man of the law actually said this bollocks. It doesn’t matter what she was wearing. There are just some sick people out there. People will leer at women if they are in jeans and a turtleneck. Anyway, even if she was wearing something revealing does not make her a slut or target. People should be able to control themselves. Anyway, they were also talking about how they are going to have a protest in order to show that you should be able to wear whatever you want when you want. The radio jockies were discussing that personally it didn’t matter to them what women wore. They should just cover up and be safe because there are perverts out there who believe they are justified in doing bad things like disrespecting others because they feel like it.

  34. I was very surprised when I got to the part where it talked about how the top male in the household will always have his name first on cards and letters. The fact that he does this does not surprise me, what surprised me is that it is something I see all the time yet I never realized how sexist it is. Our society is so centered on male dominance that I do not even realize most of it because it is just normal to us. We have basically been brainwashed, it is sad. Things like this make me wonder if there will ever be a society where men and women can be completely equal.

  35. I agree with you when you say male violence has been eroticized. So many girls claim to want a bad boy. But why? They’re only gonna hurt you in the end. But there is more excitement there than being with a good boy. I think it’s disgusting that those invites were allowed to be printed and that they weren’t given a warning or told off. But what’s sadder is that the girls that attended made excuses for them and didn’t even care. It’s sad because a large majority of girls think that way. Look at the music videos. The video girls, or ”video vixens” as they much often are reffered to as aren’t being presented in a repsectable way but the girls do look mighty proud dancing with almost no clothes on in the videos. I have nothing against them, they do what they have to do but so many girls are being degraded in some music videos and that’s a real shame.

  36. I think perhaps for this article there could be a few things going on. Yes, for the longest time there has been a history of “male dominance” or “male superiority”. With that being said many women felt like they needed men to be in their lives and were also attracted to the bay boys. Another thing is that these men are now, at least among other men, seen as real men and cool guys. So girls will then get the idea that they want to be with these guys. There could always be the fear of being called a lesbian.

  37. I have long been of the opinion that the college fraternity epitomizes everything that can possibly go wrong in the human male. I grew up in a well known (and highly esteemed) university town in California. No one ever explicitly told me to stay away from frat parties; it was just common knowledge that if you didn’t want to be gang raped you gave them a wide berth. (I knew this even as a young teen.) Years later, when I worked with Women Against Rape in Eugene, Oregon, we had a Take Back the Night march. We walked through the most dangerous parts of town starting at the county jail then immediately headed to frat row. Or course we were jeered and heckled (no surprise there) and some of the frat boys even ran out into the street yelling and pulling down their pants so we could get busy servicing them. Fortunately, Men Against Rape was marching with us and dispatched the troglodytes back to their caves. I’m not surprised that all this time later the bad behavior persists on the part of the males, but I am terribly saddened that young women find this behavior perfectly acceptable and are willing to go along with it. I would have hoped that our efforts at consciousness raising would have produced a better result for this generation.

  38. You might be interested to look into Lupe Fiasco’s new song/music video “Bitch Bad.” He explores the representation of women in hip hop (as internalized/projected by both men and women), particularly apropos of the conceptualization of a “bad bitch.”

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