Demeaning Women? It’s Tradition
Why are frat boys — the ones who belong to dangerous fraternities, anyway — so intent on degrading and intimidating women?
I suspect the behavior comes partly from inheriting a culture that benefits the “haves” over the “have-nots.” And partly, insecurity at the cusp of manhood.
Today, let’s look at culture.
Years ago, plenty of college men were none too pleased when women were finally admitted to “their” universities. For instance, Dartmouth is a hotbed of sexist frats, and that Ivy League school refused to accept women until 1972. And only after intense alumni resistance.
Campus frat life seems to reflect that anger. Since the Greek system is all about tradition, even that hostile tradition keeps getting passed down.
And it helps when you benefit from it.
It’s not just women who are targeted. All of the more disempowered groups are.
Michael Bronski is a Dartmouth professor of women’s and gender studies who says, “The fraternities here have a tremendous sense of entitlement.”
A preoccupation with maintaining the status and privilege of elites can be seen in a history of hostility toward women, people of color and the poor.
Male > Female
- The Yale frat, Delta Kappa Epsilon, parades around the women’s dorms shouting, “No means yes! Yes means anal!”
- A Dartmouth fraternity, Zeta Psi, published a newsletter naming and disparaging women who’d had sex with its members. “Patented date rape techniques” were promised for a future edition.
- Wesleyan fraternity, Psi Upsilon, was banned from hosting social events after rape accusations
- University of Wisconsin women blacked out and were hospitalized after a frat party, awakening to find red or black X’s on their hands
White > Ethnic (and female)
- Black frat members must constantly deal with racial slurs
- A San Diego State fraternity shouted racial epithets at strippers
Rich Whites > Poor (and ethnic)
- Students heckled “Occupy Dartmouth” activists by shouting, “Faggots! Occupy my asshole!”
- Dartmouth students with sledgehammers hacked symbolic shanties built to protest South African apartheid.
It’s all about the social construction of “I’m superior.” And the benefits that derive when you can convince others that it’s true.
But do jerks really deserve to be at the top? Uh, no.
Posted on May 25, 2016, in feminism, men, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged feminism, fraternities, men, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women. Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.