On September 9, 2013 – let me repeat – 2013, Total Frat Move (TFM), a website that features Greek life-oriented content, published a list entitled “50 Ways to be the Perfect College Girlfriend.” When I originally saw this title, I wasn’t familiar with TFM. Little did I know that this unfortunate list of “qualities” a college girl should have wasn’t satirical or even some kind of parody mocking sexism. No, this was 100 percent serious. I’ll only provide a few gems off of the list, for your sake:
“There’s nothing less sexy than insecurity. Except maybe love handles. Have an attractive mother. Trust me, it’s important. It should go without saying, but be in a sorority. Eventually we’re going to ask you for a threesome. Either accept or divert our attention with a b-job. No tantrum necessary. If we stop texting you, assume we’re just asleep until we’ve given you reason to think otherwise. We hate condoms, and everyone hates abortions. You’re a grown up now, it’s time to get on the pill. Look good naked.”
I am not going to waste your time and delve into the countless reasons as to why this list is terrible; I figure that by being in the 21st century, this should be obvious. This list promotes rape culture and non-consensual sex, especially on a college campus; eating disorders and the constant struggle to be the perfect Barbie doll (whatever that means); materialism, or the idea that a woman is only as good as her body; the pain a woman feels when she’s unable to meet a man’s irrational expectations and the idea that a man can tell a woman how to handle her body. That is, they understand what it feels like to be on, for example, birth control.
Lists such as these prove counterproductive for women’s struggle for equality. One of the most striking things about this is that it was written by a columnist named StuffFratPeopleLike. Not only does that generalize the entirety of Greek culture, but it does so in the worst way possible. This list makes it seem as if the only reason Greek life exists is to have sex with skinny sorority girls with attractive mothers. Oh, and alcohol.
I’ve never been a huge promoter of Greek life. I find the very notion of it sexist – the males throw the parties and provide the booze while the women are asked to come into their homes and drink said booze.
Formal might be the worst conglomeration of this pent-up sexual frustration: women make coolers filled with alcohol and food for their dates, who pay for everything, including the queen-sized bed.
Furthermore, the mere names of mixers are troubling, especially here at Emory. For example, “Business Bros and Secretary Hos” or “Cirque du Get Laid.” The mere nomenclature promotes the subordination of women, with the men always “on top.” This kind of odd power-struggle is complicit with slut-shaming and heteronormative generalizations. Harping on the first example, the hierarchy in the business world (or any kind of employment position, frankly) is corrupt due to wage inequality. Why do undergraduates need to perpetuate such a problematizing and offensive stereotype?
I am not trying to generalize “frat bros” or “sorority girls.” I understand that there’s been a lot of progress in the conventions of Greek life. Sexism can be stopped, and it starts with awareness. It starts with understanding that we can live in a world freed from gendered words and stereotypes; that as women, we too have the intellect to be leaders.
And it starts with recognizing that we are not men and women first, but rather human beings.
So here’s my list: There’s nothing less sexy than discrimination. Except maybe a man addicted to steroids. Have an attractive father, or don’t. I couldn’t really give a s–t. It should go without saying: be whoever you want to be, whether that’s Greek, Italian, Indian or Chinese. Eventually we’re going to talk about intimacy – be ready to understand what we want and how that won’t be changed. Especially if you throw a tantrum. If we stop texting you, assume that we are independent people who probably have a lot going on unless we tell you otherwise. If you ever try to tell us what to put inside of our bodies, expect to never see or hear from us again. We are women with able bodies and a higher understanding of contraceptives. And finally, look good mentally. Nobody wants to date an ignorant fool, like the one who clearly wrote “50 Ways to be the Perfect College Girlfriend.”
Editorials Editor Priyanka Krishnamurthy is a College junior from Coppell, Texas.
Cartoon by Priyanka Pai