For those of you looking for a guide on how to treat women with respect, you probably should look beyond the email sent by one student at Georgia Tech. A few days ago, the website totalfratmove.com received multiple tip-offs about a reportedly “creepy” email sent by an active fraternity member to his chapter brothers. The email was sent for the purpose of teaching the recipients how to “mack and succeed at parties,” and provided pointed instructions on how to do so. The letter begins by threatening the reader with expulsion from the party if they are not having interactions with a female: “If you are talking to a brother of your pledge brothers when there are girls just standing around, YOU ARE OUTTA HERE!!!”
The emails starts to get really creepy at the end of the paragraph, when the speaker exclaims, “If [a girl] is hammered any time before midnight, just skip the chit chat and go dance!” Because clearly, you should have no interest in this girl beyond getting to rub up against her in a dark room, and learning about her as a person is only valuable if it gets you closer to having sex. But let’s cut this guy a break; drunk people can be kind of difficult to have conversations with, right?
Now here’s where things get more questionable, and far creepier. The writer broaches the subject of how one should dance: “Grab them on the hips with your 2 hands and then let them grind against your dick.” Yeah, “let,” implying that all girls want is to rub their butts against some sweaty guy they just met at a party. This is not to imply that women don’t like sex; however, making the assumption that any girl you are dancing with is just dying for a piece of your sweet lovin’ creates that danger of you forgetting that she might not want that.
What this line of the email is suggesting is that women have an insatiable appetite for frat boys, and that there are no exceptions. But the email keeps getting worse: “Here is how to escalate: Try to twist her hips around to face you and dance front to front. … you can stick your hand up her shirt … you can go for a butt grab … , or use your imagination.” Are you kidding me? This guy is so presumptuous, he thinks that he can give consent on behalf of the girls his fraternity brothers are interested in. This is by far the most disturbing part of the email. This guy actually thinks he has the authority to grant his brothers access to a woman’s body.
The danger in this email lays not so much in the overt “rapeyness” but in the over-sexualization of women. In fact, the writer overtly states, in all capitals “NO RAPING.” However, despite this warning, the overwhelming message of this email is that women should be used for sex, and not much else. By emphasizing the importance of “escalating” (sexually), the writer is implying that the importance of a physical bond far exceeds the importance of an emotional one. By removing the emotional connection, you run the risk of barring yourself from seeing the similarities between you and your partner, and recognizing your common humanity. Although the writer doesn’t realize it, he is encouraging his frat brothers to strip away their ability to empathize with the girls they meet.
While this is an extreme example of over-sexualization of women, traces of this mindset have found their way into the party culture here at University of California, Santa Barbara. For example, some houses on Del Playa appoint guys to stand outside to keep males out so the guys inside will have a better chance of scoring. This kind of action on the part of our community sends the message that women exist for male sexual enjoyment, and only for that.
Instead of allowing our culture to focus in on sex, we should shift somewhat to establishing connections with our partners. Not romantic, necessarily, but enough to allow ourselves to recognize their humanity over the blasting lyrics of “Blurred Lines.”