A friend of mine who is on-campus at my university sent me a picture of this flier:
(click to embiggen.)
A transcript for the embiggening-impaired:
Dear Maxwell House,
We have noticed that while you are not the only group on campus that throws parties with sexist and offensive themes, your parties consistently promote themes that objectify and dehumanize women in general and [University] Women particularly. We recognize that as a social group, you cater to ideas that you think will draw the biggest crowds, and we also recognize that some of your parties have become “traditions” in your group. We are specifically thinking of your annual “St. Maxwell’s School for Girls” and the recent “Red Light District” parties, among many others.
So we are speaking up.
We feel strongly that the casual attitude you have towards these serious issues, only serves to make our campus a more inequitable and unsafe place for women (and men who support them).
We strongly urge you to reconsider throwing these types of themed parties and advertising your parties with sexist or degrading messages. If you are a member who agrees with us, or a member who wants to continue this discussion, we strongly urge you to voice your opinions to your fellow members.
Talk about it.
The Feminist Front
I would like to add a little detail from my personal experience freshman year. The sexist advertisements were not restricted to fliers, no! They slipped tiny pieces of paper under students’ doors bearing their asinine exhortations. I remember the invitation for the “St. Maxwell’s School for Girls” even had a photograph of a busty woman in a “sexy schoolgirl” outfit, as if to demonstrate the expected dress code for female attendees.
Yes, that is right: against my will, pictures of half-clad women were put in my room. There was no opt-out. There was only returning from class to find heaving bosoms staring up at you from the floor. It felt more than a little like a violation of my space. I hadn’t started this blog yet (or even quite figured out the whole feminism thing), or else you surely would have heard about it at the time, but it bothered me. I couldn’t even keep my own room a sexism-free space. And as far as I knew nobody else even cared, so I couldn’t even complain. I was just “overreacting.”
So I am THRILLED to see that others were also upset by the terrible party themes and inappropriate advertising. And kudos to them for not only speaking up, but publishing an email address! I think it’s saldy quite likely that they’ll be getting a lot of hatemail in the next little while; would you be a dear and send them a nice message? Just a line or two to say, “good for you!”
I’m certainly going to.