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Oct 07 2013

Frat culture is rape culture

I attended a few fraternity parties a few decades ago — and even in my callow, impressionable state, I found them largely unpleasant: too much drinking, too much dudebro scorekeeping, too much stupidity. So I was neither surprised nor impressed by this letter advising frat brothers on how to party.

It starts out kind of…OK. It’s a bit gushy with dumb jargon, but all right, some bits don’t sound so offensive.

Midnight or after, if you have been talking for awhile and they’ve had a couple drinks, ask if they want to dance. If you see an untalked to group or a solo girl, go up to her and ask if she wants anything to drink. If she says yes, get her a drink and then ask if she wants to dance. If she says no, ask her to dance. DANCING IS FUN!!!!! Always try to dance. If she does not want to dance and is with friends, say “aw thats no fun” (or something like that) and then ask one of her friends.

Dance? Hey, I like that! Very sweet. Do more of that.

Uh, wait. Next sentence:

Here is how to dance: Grab them on the hips with your 2 hands and then let them grind against your dick.

And from there it’s all downhill, culminating in ejaculating and shooing them out of your room. And if they don’t go for it, MORE ALCOHOL.

Man, fraternities haven’t changed a bit since the 1970s.

That isn’t a compliment.

117 comments

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  1. 1
    Rip Steakface

    Well, grinding is the typical form of “dancing” at frat parties and clubs now.

    Around here, we have swing dancing, which is much more fun.

  2. 2
    tmscott

    Hey PZ,
    I’m surprised that you would accept such a broad hypothesis on so few degrees of freedom.

    Just sayin’

  3. 3
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    tmscott @2:

    Huh?

  4. 4
    yubal

    Uhh..those American fraternities are surely different from German fraternities (my brother joined one in undergrad and I’ve been to a few events).

    On the topic again. When I was visiting the US many years ago for an exchange program we had a party in our house. There was this college of mine who showed up to pick up stuff and to help prepare. He was excited to preapare a punch containing mostly moonshine and fruit juice, claiming it was a “panties-dropper” they always served on their fret parties.

    My eyes still roll about this guy. I let him make it and diluted it latet 1:4 with sweet tea and water.

    Btw. He is a professor right now teaching molecular pharmacology.

  5. 5
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    There were no fraternities at my college (except for honours fraternities like Phi Alpha Theta). For most of my sophomore year, I lived in a dorm that was an old farm house a mile off campus. There was a party planned one weekend out at that dorm. Our RA was making the punches — ‘one for men and one for fun’ is how he phrased it. The one for men had one bottle of whiskey for about five gallons of punch. The ‘fun’ punch, the one to be served to the women, had five bottles of vodka and pure grain in it.

    I spent the night at proto-Wife’s room in another dorm far away. Not one of my better moments — I should have done something. yubal’s dilution would have been a good idea. Damn!

  6. 6
    unclefrogy

    many years I was invited to go to a couple of fraternity parties so I could be checked out for membership. I was kind of disappointed and felt rejected because I was not asked again, I got over it.
    uncle frogy

  7. 7
    Dick the Damned

    I’m with you on this, PZ. Don’t these guys have mothers who teach them to respect women? I guess not. :¬(

  8. 8
    Rey Fox

    DANCING IS FUN!!!!!

    Wheeeee.

  9. 9
    Travis

    I am ever so glad fraternities were basically non-existent at any of the universities I have been to. Nothing I have heard of them seems good, I am not sure how they seemingly got so prevalent at US schools. There were enough assholes acting like this operating on their own, having an organization to back them, cover for each other, goad each other on, is such a horrible thing to think about.

  10. 10
    Nathaniel Frein

    @4, Yubal

    I never understood the fascination with moonshine from any angle. It’s impossible to make a good tasting cocktail or punch with it. I can make a stronger, more enjoyable punch with a good vodka or rum.

    Anyone who makes moonshine punch is either too dumb to know how to enjoy alcohol, or too immature to care.

  11. 11
    Deoridhe

    One of the frats at my college had what was called the “Rape Room.” I never went to any o the frats; hearing about that was a big part of why.

  12. 12
    SallyStrange

    I never went to a frat party, but I’ve experienced this

    Grab them on the hips with your 2 hands and then let them grind against your dick.

    far too many times.

    It’s a nice, flirty, consensual dance, ruined. Every time.

  13. 13
    kittehserf

    I always misread frat as fart.

    oh wait …

  14. 14
    zyxw

    “let them grind against your dick.”

    Sounds painful. Why on earth would you let someone put a grinder to your dick?

    More seriously, this is why I never had any desire to be in a frat.

  15. 15
    baryogenesis

    I used to go to the rush parties in the mid-60′s. Whee! Free beer! By the second year they realized I wasn’t interested in joining a frat; I wasn’t, esp. after hearing about the outrageous hazing. But these were largely all-male parties to showcase animal-house behavior. One of the perc’s of joining involved guaranteed exam scores for certain courses.

  16. 16
    Portia

    Don’t these guys have mothers who teach them to respect women?

    This implies that women are responsible for the victimization of other women, because women are supposed to tame the wild beast that every man naturally is, whether that man is their son or their peer. Uncool.

    Oh, and the OP’s topic is gross. I think the grossness starts way before the dick-grinding part, though. If she’s alone, target her. If she’s not, attempt to manipulate her by calling her “not fun.” Ick.

  17. 17
    Bicarbonate is back

    I hope that someday Crystal Clear Consent will be taught during or in lieu of sex education. Kids do still get sex education at school, right? Or has that changed too?

    I think I was part of the first generation to get sex education. The adults clearly didn’t know how to do it, were very embarrassed and at the same time sort of impressed with themselves for managing it at all. Their faces said, “What a strange new world this is that I am now part of”. It was experimental at the time and because we moved, I ended up getting for three straight years of it from age 11 to 13. It seemed to be aimed at preventing teen pregnancy. I can’t remember learning anything that I didn’t already know. Sex education was followed by drug education (also for three straight years) and that, on the other hand, turned out to be very useful. We learned the classes of drugs, their street names, something about their chemical structures and effects on the body, how addictive they were or weren’t, what you could and couldn’t mix, safety measures, first aid and how to recognize the drug people were high on (pupils of the eyes contracted by heroine use for example).

    The best sex ed came later, in freshman year of high school via my counselor who said, “Argentina, how do you know when you’re ready to go to bed with a boy?” I told him I didn’t know and he said, “When your panties are so wet that they stick when you throw them against a wall.” Autres temps, autres moeurs.
    That was Palo Alto, California, in 1971.

  18. 18
    kittehserf

    “Sounds painful. Why on earth would you let someone put a grinder to your dick?”

    Now I’m torn between a mountain lion and an angle grinder as a must-have accessory.

  19. 19
    MJP

    I hated frat culture in college. I didn’t go to any frat parties, but half of the people in my suite during freshman year planned to join fraternities, and they threw these same sorts of obnoxious parties in the dorm rooms around mine. It was all loud and terrible music, alcohol, and grinding. I thought I was alone in hating this because I’m autistic.

  20. 20
    conway

    When I was in college, a classmate asked me to double date with his girlfriend and her sister. He drove us to a Frat party. As we approached the front door, two guys came crashing out onto the porch. One was punching the other screaming, “You touched her tit! You touched her tit!” We turned and left.

    That’s the closest I ever came to attending a Frat party.

  21. 21
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    My view of frat culture used to be that they were an institutionalized celebration of the rape culture, officially recognized and supported (often to the detriment of other organizations) and treated as some normal part of the growing up process. In other words, the literal teaching of how to rape culture to those in the phase of their life of learning how to be adults.

    But then my current girlfriend turned out to belong to a queer frat. One which was all gender inclusive, including trans* inclusive and was supposed to be feminist aware and all sorts of good shit. Literally the best you could get. Then she described the extent of the rape culture that was entrenched in it. The massive number of incidents where someone was raped by a member of the frat and the order did literally nothing about it. The inclusion of incidents where the raped party had to drop out of the expensive school they paid for and were excited for because of how badly the incident fucked them up. And then she described the incident where she was herself raped at one of their parties and the rest of them just watched as it happened and cheered her rapist on for “putting on a show”. When her rapist was done, they kept her as a member in good standing and barely noticed as my girlfriend fell out of the community and disappeared into further depression.

    Now I just want to burn all those fucking rape factories to the ground and punch anyone in the mouth who thinks there is anything worth saving in that fundamentally broken “important college experience”.

  22. 22
    SallyStrange

    Speak of the devil…

    http://gawker.com/frat-house-panics-after-bro-sends-out-guidelines-on-lu-1442143270

    Frat House Panics After Bro Sends Out Guidelines on “Luring Rapebait”

  23. 23
    SallyStrange

    Oh sorry, didn’t realize that that WAS the source material.

  24. 24
    Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff

    I do freelance video production. One of the most interesting contracts I had was making a video history of one of the University of British Columbia’s oldest frats. The fratboys delivered to me photos, albums, and newspaper items going back to 1920.

    What I noted was that the photos proved the “frat culture” of the 1920′s was EXACTLY the same as the frat culture of the 2000′s: callow youths dancing, getting drunk, being hazed, and “bonding” in a particularly effective and odious way. I looked at the faces, separated by nearly a century, and they were the same: young, crude, brutal, narcissistic, and arrogant.

    I never considered joining a fraternity, and I’m glad I didn’t — though I’m quite sure they would never have a weirdo like me in the first place.

  25. 25
    Ingdigo Jump

    I hated frat culture in college. I didn’t go to any frat parties, but half of the people in my suite during freshman year planned to join fraternities, and they threw these same sorts of obnoxious parties in the dorm rooms around mine. It was all loud and terrible music, alcohol, and grinding. I thought I was alone in hating this because I’m autistic.

    I’m not autistic and I loath those scenes.I prefer talking. I bore easily

  26. 26
    Great American Satan

    Why is no one I can find selling a “NO FRATTIES” t-shirt?

  27. 27
    ugfabian .

    @Conway:

    Well, in his defense, he DID touch a tit.

  28. 28
    jaggington

    Women who refuse to attend such parties are all killjoy feminist lesbians. Women who do join in must make sure they don’t drink anything in case it is spiked and they get too drunk, but it is incredibly rude and boring of them to turn down a drink when it’s offered; they should avoid being too forward, so no eye contact or smiling because that is egging the men on, but they should join in with all the fun and games because otherwise they are stand-offish and stuck up.

    It would be a total waste of time and resources to teach the frat men about consent and respect and civilised behaviour. These poor men are obviously unable to, and should not be expected to be able to, control themselves, especially around all the drunk women (who may not actually be drunk) who must be total sluts because they are there.

    *may not be subtle

  29. 29
    jaggington

    In my post above, the footnote *may not be subtle refers to the invisible tags “subtle* sarcasm” that I should have previewed to ensure they would actually appear on screen when posted.

  30. 30
    Great American Satan

    jaggington, that was lovely.

  31. 31
    andrewphilips

    I had a fantastic experience at my college fraternity. I learned a tremendous amount about life and politics. I was given the opportunity to take on positions of leadership and responsibility. We participated in many aspects of collegiate life and worked hard on our National Fraternity’s charity – Multiple Sclerosis. Many of my fraternity brothers are friends to this day. Yes, we drank our share of alcohol and did stupid things – two things many college students do. To my knowledge, no one was raped in our house. I never witnessed anyone using alcohol (or drugs) to take advantage of another.

    Although not every fraternity is a seething pit of misogynists, I’m quite certain you all can find plenty of evidence of ones that are. Then again, so what? We have misogynists who are atheists. Shall we paint all atheists with a misogyny brush? What if I said all you GDIs were just sore about not getting into a fraternity? Would you accept being placed in that category? Of course not.

    Make no mistake, that guy in the OP is a real asshole, no doubt about that. Still. “Waaa, waaa, … all fraternity guys are assholes and rapists. Waaa, waaa, fraternities are rape dens.”

    Fuck you.

  32. 32
    echidna

    andrewphillips,

    Nobody said that all frat guys are rapists. But fraternities, as an organisational structure, provide the encouragement and cover for those who do.

    Just as not all soldiers are rapists, and not all officers punish the victim, it is still reasonable to comment on how institutions can be problematic in this area.

    Sure not all frats are terrible. But the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

  33. 33
    MJP

    Ingdigo Jump @25:

    I’m quite aware now that many non-autistic people dislike the frat dudebro culture as well. However, I only came to this realization within the last year or two.

  34. 34
    Great American Satan

    Philips- There were no frats at the art school I went to, but you gotta admit, the average frat dude is nigh unto the most privileged person on the planet – black frats and such excepted. Anyhow, from thy position on high, with race, sex, orientation, gender, and socioeconomic status in a row, methinks you should be able to take a joke.

    Also, at this point, yeah, I’d paint all atheists with the misogyny brush until they prove themselves good allies to progressive causes. I certainly wouldn’t mention my atheism as a reason why women should trust me.

  35. 35
    Great American Satan

    I made some assumptions there about you that may not have been justified, so correct me if wrong.

  36. 36
    =8)-DX

    As a dropout of a university and course where most people were privately lodged.. what’s a frat party for? We just went out and got drunk at pubs, talking about philosophy, politics and how hilarious our teachers were. And the people who wanted to have sex did this thing called “dating”.

    What did I miss? (I’m suspicious it’s something about illicit drinking in countries with 21-year age limits and gender segregated dormitories?)

  37. 37
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    ALWAYS START WITH THE MAKING OUT!!!! NO RAPING.

    Ah, if she consents to making out, everything that follows is just natural progress of “one thing led to another” and obviously not rape.
    Not to mention that rapes are horrible violent things, not something that starts with a makeout session.

  38. 38
    SallyStrange

    Although not every fraternity is a seething pit of misogynists,

    Perhaps, but the chance that a given fraternity is NOT a seething pit of rape-happy misogynists is so low that it’s really not worth any woman’s time trying to figure out which ones are which.

    Fuck you too, whiny little titty-baby.

  39. 39
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    SallyStrange @38

    What you said.

    I’ve seen the smiling faces. I went to a college that didn’t have any officially recognized frats, though they still infested the main center of the school to do their rush week once a year. Every year they sold the same package of horseshit that andrew sold. How much they supported their frat’s one official charity. How it wasn’t about the hazing or the rape, but rather about the lifelong friendships and connections and the chance to support the world. Every last one of them was quick to explain how they weren’t like those bad frats that give frats such a bad name that they weren’t officially wanted at the school. And through the grapevine, even though I wasn’t all that connected to it, there was a warning about every last one of them based on some poor girl who went to one of their parties and had shit done to her against her will. Every last one.

    Beyond that, I’ve seen ones that began with downright queer-aware, gender-inclusive, feminist-aware and supportive beginnings just straight up be drowned by the culture into supporting “greek life” (i.e. rape culture and the support of it) above their initial high-minded ideals. And I’ve seen those who’ve belonged to “oh hey, my lesbian sorority was totally not like a real geek organization” nonetheless come out of the orgs drowning in inherited MRA bullshit and nasty internalized ideas of how to sexually approach people.

    There might be a mystical unicorn out there that doesn’t abuse, which actually does its share to combat the rape culture and legitimately redeem the well-earned reputation that frats and sororities have, but given the history, I’m at least not inclined to be charitable and I’m not the only one.

    So yeah, ditto, fuck the tears for the poor privileged douchebags who feel that their little clique isn’t well-thought of because of the earned nasty reputation of the system.

  40. 40
    pensnest

    Dick the Damned #7

    Don’t these guys have mothers who teach them to respect women?

    Their fathers could also have taught them to respect women, but presumably didn’t bother. Why is that, do you think?

  41. 41
    Maureen Brian

    Probably, pensnest, because their fathers were also initiated into the rape culture at university, along with all the high-falutin’ rationalisations for misogyny with which we are so familiar. It’s one of the most effective places for socialising people that way.

    Observant readers will have noted that – from Prof Dawkins to the execrable Dr Mason – some of our biggest and most determined enemies are among the very highly educated, especially those in fields where male domination of numbers was taken as read during their formative years.

  42. 42
    andrewryan

    “ask if she wants to dance. If she says no, ask her to dance.”

    Eh? She just said she doesn’t want to.

  43. 43
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    yubal

    Uhh..those American fraternities are surely different from German fraternities (my brother joined one in undergrad and I’ve been to a few events).

    German fraternities are traditionally authoritarian organizations where old straight white cis upper middle-class guys guve young straight white guys a leg up. If you’re in law-school and a fraternity you graduate with a very good likelyhood of a good job waiting for you.

    andrewphilips

    . To my knowledge, no one was raped in our house. I never witnessed anyone using alcohol (or drugs) to take advantage of another.

    Therefore what?
    Really, it is possible that your fraternity is the one special snowflake where no rape ever happened. But I’m not inclined to believe it.

  44. 44
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I agree with Portia in #16.

  45. 45
    andrewryan

    #44, I think it’s an uncharitable interpretation of the post it’s quoting.
    If I knew someone who was always being rude about blind people, and yet their own dad was blind, I would say “Jeez, you’d have thought his dad would have taught him not to be rude about blind people”. That wouldn’t mean that I didn’t think his 20/20 vision mom couldn’t ALSO have taught him that, and it doesn’t mean that I’d expect every man to naturally be rude about blind people until a blind person taught them better. It just means that at the very least I’d have thought having a blind close relative might have led this particular guy to have a better outlook.

    Likewise, saying “I’m surprised his mom didn’t teach him to respect women more” doesn’t mean I’d expect men without moms to be sexist, or that it’s a mom’s job to over turn a boy’s natural propensity to be sexist, or that a dad can’t teach a boy not to be sexist.

  46. 46
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    andrewryan

    If I knew someone who was always being rude about blind people, and yet their own dad was blind, I would say “Jeez, you’d have thought his dad would have taught him not to be rude about blind people”.

    Interesting.
    If I had something to say in that situation, it would be more along the lines of “You’d have thought having a blind father would have taught him not to be rude about blind people”.

    Considering the overwhelming sexism in society, where society is more uncaring about blind people’s needs than actively working against them all the time (which still sucks for blind people, but makes a difference for a seeing person learning not to be an asshole about blindness), things don’t work quite the same in these two examples of course. It’s harder to unlearn and fight against sexism that inserts itself into nearly every aspect of one’s life.

    It’s really galling to hear that in the end, everything is always women’s fault. Boy is sexist? Oh well, mother should have taught him better. Father? No, poor guy is steeped in sexist culture too. I guess his mother is at fault for that one. It also gives little credit to men, who are apparently incapable of figuring things out for themselves.

  47. 47
    Maureen Brian

    andrewryan,

    If that remark had been the very first time in the history of the universe that anyone ever said such a thing then, I agree, it would not be worth the pixels to comment upon it.

    When, though, it is part of a chorus of of several thousand voices all proclaiming “you must take responsibility for this person’s good behaviour and basic grasp of ethics” from when you’re about seven until the day you die then it is part of a pattern of privilege and blame-shifting.

    And, mirabile dictu, when you’re a woman – as portia is, as Beatrice is, as I am – you rapidly gain the relevant life experience and can tell which is which.

  48. 48
    Travis

    Whenever this topic comes up some former frat member always shows up to say that their frat was not like this. However, study after study has found that frat members account for significantly more rapes than nonmembers, well out of proportion to their numbers, and are also much more likely to be rape apologists. They are a high risk group. Obviously many fraternities do have incidents of rape, but it never seems to be a fraternity anyone was a member of.

  49. 49
    andrewryan

    “it would be more along the lines of “You’d have thought having a blind father would have taught him not to be rude about blind people”.”

    Yes, I’d think both – I’d have thought natural empathy for his dad would have taught him not to be rude, and failing that, you’d have thought his dad would have pointed it out to him.

    But I guess the obvious answer to THAT is: “Well why couldn’t his mom have equally been able to point out that her husband was blind too – why suggest it’s the dad’s responsibility?”, so I see your point.

    “It also gives little credit to men, who are apparently incapable of figuring things out for themselves.”

    I think the lack of credit for the rapey guy here is a given. I’m also not sure the assumption is that the mother failed, more that the guy obviously ignored the mother (or dad) WHEN she taught him that.

  50. 50
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    andrewryan,

    Parents and guardians should raise their children well. Sometimes they try and do all the right stuff and still end up with horrible human beings. We could discuss family dynamics and relationships endlessly.

    All I’m saying is that “his mother should have raised him better” is a very loaded statement that I am sick of hearing in relation to everything from a guy having a messy apartment and wearing sneakers to a business meeting to a guy harassing or raping women.

  51. 51
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    andrewryan

    or that it’s a mom’s job to over turn a boy’s natural propensity to be sexist,

    WTF?
    Boys aren’t any more “naturally sexist” than they are naturally racist” or “naturally homophobic”. And no, seriously, that comment, it was the umpteenth repetition of “There’s a man who behaves badly, let’s find a woman to shift the blame on”

  52. 52
    andrewryan

    #51: “Boys aren’t any more “naturally sexist” than they are naturally racist” ”

    Right, hence the preceding words that you missed off when you quoted me: “doesn’t mean…”

    But looking at the original disputed quote: “Don’t these guys have mothers who teach them to respect women?” I quite agree with you that it suggests it’s the mothers’ job, and any guy who doesn’t respect women must have been failed by his mom.

    #50: “All I’m saying is that “his mother should have raised him better” is a very loaded statement…”

    Yes, you are right, I agree with everything you say in that post.

  53. 53
    Doug Hudson

    My Dad was in the frat in the 60s, and he said that Animal House was basically a documentary.

    Beyond that, I only remember him mentioning it two or three times, and he never suggested that I or my brothers join a frat.

  54. 54
    saganite

    I dunno, I would assume that even well-raised and well-behaved kids can be twisted by a fraternity, so I wouldn’t put too much stock in mothers’ or fathers’ role there.
    Don’t they live most of their lives as part of the fraternity then? With most activities and leisure time, too? Not to mention the hazing, the conformity enforced upon members? Isn’t a frat sort of taking on the role cliques otherwise take, albeit more organized and authoritarian?
    If I’m correct on these aspects, then it’d be entirely unsurprising to me for people to become so thoroughly engulfed in those surroundings, regardless of how they were raised, that their behaviours, views and outlooks would change into… well… that.

  55. 55
    cswella

    @AndrewPhilips:

    Nobody ever claims all catholics are child rapists either, but I would be entirely justified to claim the Catholic Church is an evil institution that defends and enables rapists.

    “To my knowledge, no one was raped in my parish. I never witnessed anyone having sex with a child.”

    Fuck you.

  56. 56
    chris61

    Oh so glad I went to a university without frats.

  57. 57
    opposablethumbs

    andrewryan, the way you expressed that most certainly implied that it’s a mother’s responsibility (rather than a father’s). You may not have wished to imply this, but you did.

    And your analogy in #45 conveniently elides the fact men in this little scenario are actively and deliberately treating women like crap, actively and deliberately setting up situations for the express purpose of attacking women. A better analogy would be with someone who routinely gets their kicks not by “being rude” but by seeking out and inviting the company of blind people for the sole purpose of assaulting them and throwing them under a car.

    Oh, and you really think that boys have a “natural propensity to be sexist” ? Uh-huh. Sexuality is innate in all its many forms, but sexism is cultural, learned behaviour.

  58. 58
    Doug Hudson

    andrewryan, just out of curiosity, is your ‘nym a Bioshock reference? No offense intended, if it’s your real name I apologize.

  59. 59
    opposablethumbs

    Oh, and that post of mine came a bit late; I see now that andrewryan did respond already to others saying similar things upthread, so please feel free to consider my #57 already answered.

  60. 60
    LykeX

    @jaggington and anyone else with that problem
    Less than and greater than signs are automatically interpreted as tags, regardless of whether the bracketed text is an actual tag or not. If you want the symbols themselves to appear, you’ll need to use the codes < and >

    <sarcasm>

    Shows up as

    <sarcasm>

  61. 61
    gussnarp

    I submit that fraternities have changed since the 1970s. They’ve gotten worse. I’m not sure why colleges have bent over backwards to accommodate these organizations. They should be put on a very tight leash if not altogether disbanded. The first step would be to eliminate frat houses.

    Interesting aside: Miami University in Oxford, Ohio has frat houses (and has had its share of troubling behavior from fraternities) but no sorority houses. Turns out there’s a local law that defines anyplace where more than some set number of women (2?) live together as a brothel. If it’s that easy to get rid of sorority houses because some bunch of old prudes didn’t like women, then it ought to be a piece of cake to get rid of frat houses where a number of actual crimes are likely committed on a regular basis.

  62. 62
    andrewryan

    #57 “Oh, and you really think that boys have a “natural propensity to be sexist”?”

    No. No I don’t think that at all. I said: “[that] doesn’t mean I’d expect men without moms to be sexist, or that it’s a mom’s job to over turn a boy’s natural propensity to be sexist”.

    To quote one phrase out of that is like me quoting you as saying “it’s a mother’s responsibility” or Giliel as saying “they are naturally racist” and not including the rest of the sentence!

    #58: This is my real name (no gimmicks). I might have put ‘Andy Ryan’, except it looks like a bad anagram of Ayn Rand.

    “A better analogy would be with someone who routinely gets their kicks not by “being rude” but by seeking out and inviting the company of blind people for the sole purpose of assaulting them and throwing them under a car.”

    Sure. And then it would be surprising to find out that that person had a blind parent.

  63. 63
    cswella

    “Interesting aside: Miami University in Oxford, Ohio has frat houses (and has had its share of troubling behavior from fraternities) but no sorority houses. Turns out there’s a local law that defines anyplace where more than some set number of women (2?) live together as a brothel.”

    The fuck? That shit is unconstitutional, isn’t it?

  64. 64
    Scr... Archivist

    Let’s talk solutions. I like gussnarp’s suggestion @62 to eliminate frat houses. But more may be required.

    But saganite @54 asks “Isn’t a frat sort of taking on the role cliques otherwise take, albeit more organized and authoritarian?” Informal groups will still engage in crime, and their members will protect each other, but without official recognition they’d have less protection from investigation and prosecution. And without an institutional framework it’s harder to promote an institutional culture.

    Some in this thread have noted that their colleges and universities did not have fraternities, or at least recognized ones. Is this because they are outside the U.S. or because they are small schools or what?

    Should fraternities be disbanded? I think they should, and would like to know what others think. Would closure also apply to sororities? Should the service-oriented and honors “fraternities” be kept, or call themselves something different? Maybe the last group could simply made into normal campus organizations.

    Giliell @43 points out that “If you’re in law-school and a fraternity you graduate with a very good likelyhood of a good job waiting for you.” Which points to the economic and class elements of fraternities. They promulgate the “good old boys’ network” at the expense of merit.

    @36, =8)-DX asks, “What did I miss? (I’m suspicious it’s something about illicit drinking in countries with 21-year age limits and gender segregated dormitories?)”

    Maybe larger cultural changes would dilute the demand for fraternities. What countries are successful at teaching young people how to deal with alcohol, are able to keep drinking ages below the typical age of college admission, and having integrated dorms? And how can U.S. society incorporate lessons learned from these countries?

  65. 65
    gussnarp

    @cswella #63 –

    Well, you’d think so. It does seem like the kind of law that might have gotten passed a hundred years ago and just stayed on the books. It could also be apocryphal, I heard it from a member of a Miami sorority. At any rate, it is true that there are no sorority houses there, but there are frat houses (well, it’s entirely possible that sentence should be past tense, it might have changed without my knowing it, while I’m being strictly accurate).

  66. 66
    gussnarp

    Oh, and in re andrewphilips @ #31: What the hell is a GDI? Is that some derogatory term fraternities use for the unwashed masses that you’re totally only using hypothetically?

  67. 67
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Monitor note:
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    If you are replying to a specific comment, use the comment number and poster's name.

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  68. 68
    opposablethumbs

    me # 59

    Oh, and that post of mine came a bit late; I see now that andrewryan did respond already to others saying similar things upthread, so please feel free to consider my #57 already answered.

    - I saw you’d already answered before my post appeared, andrew, so I added that note because I didn’t want you to feel piled on (don’t know if you did feel that, but anyway). Thank you for answering.

  69. 69
    Doug Hudson

    andrewryan@62, sorry for the awkward question; bioshock made a big impression on me, I’m afraid.

    In general, frats are also notorious for hazing and underage drinking. One must question whether the theoretical benefits of fraternities outweigh the very real risks they pose.

    On the other hand, freedom of association and all that–even if schools banned them, they could always move off campus. My undergrad didn’t allow residential frat houses, but that didn’t really impact the frat life any.

    Better education is really the answer, and to do that, people need to acknowledge that there is a problem.

    Instead, periodically a nasty rape gets publicity, or a student dies from hazing, and a frat house gets shut down, and everyone tut tuts, and things keep going as they always do.

  70. 70
    zyxw

    Scr @64

    Some in this thread have noted that their colleges and universities did not have fraternities, or at least recognized ones. Is this because they are outside the U.S. or because they are small schools or what?

    I went to school in Ontario. As far as I know, there was only one frat, in a university of 30,000 or so. I don’t even think they were an “officially recognized” frat, so I’m kinda fuzzy on the concepts. My aversion to fraternities was based on my interaction with boys in high school who said they were going to join a frat (e.g. guys who were going to the US for post-secondary education). I didn’t like a lot of the attitudes they expressed. Not saying all boys who join frats are like that, but the ones I knew certainly were.

  71. 71
    irisvanderpluym

    cswella #63, gussnarp #65:

    Penn State has(had?) the same restriction: sorority houses = brothels. And this is not unconstitutional because the Equal Rights Amendment has not been incorporated into the U.S. constitution.

  72. 72
    andrewryan

    #68 Yeah I know – I thought I’d answer anyway. No worries re: piling. I deserve to get piled on sometimes, and if I don’t, then so be it.

  73. 73
    cswella

    “On the other hand, freedom of association and all that–even if schools banned them, they could always move off campus. My undergrad didn’t allow residential frat houses, but that didn’t really impact the frat life any.”

    I would love for universities (especially state funded) to drop fraternities and sororities altogether. Put them on their own, make them fund it by themselves. It means they get no protection or funding from the university, and hopefully discourages more than a few of these from functioning. Toss out Frat/sororities with the top 3/4 of the athletic funding/promotion.

    There are plenty of ways for universities/colleges to promote healthy community without any of the garbage.

  74. 74
    chigau (違う)

    PSA
    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>
    results in

    paste words here

    This makes your comments easier to understand if you are quoting someone.
    Also, please use the nym and number of the comment to which you are responding.

  75. 75
    Rey Fox

    I’m not sure why colleges have bent over backwards to accommodate these organizations.

    They’re deeply embedded in the old boys club culture. Or vice versa. And they’ve produced many Pillars of the Community over the years. I don’t know how much of Congress is made up of former fraternity members, but I would bet that it’s a supermajority at least. University boards are probably the same.

    Having been very much not embedded in the fraternity culture myself, I have to ask one thing: What are the costs of living in a fraternity, at least compared to dorms or apartments? As college costs continue to rise, there’s also this disturbing trend of “luxury student apartments” going up by major universities (Columbia, MO, where I live, is becoming lousy with them). Theoretically, the shared housing approach of fraternities and sororities should make them pretty low-cost.

    Thus, I feel like banning fraternities could be a blow to any lower income students who want to go to college. But I could be totally wrong about that, seeing as how fraternities also tend to be the playground of the above-mentioned Pillars of the Community and all their attendant riches.

  76. 76
    Doug Hudson

    Chigau@74

    paste copied text here

    Thanks! For some reason I always have trouble getting that to work. I’ll copy this down somewhere.

  77. 77
    Doug Hudson

    Rey Fox @75

    Thus, I feel like banning fraternities could be a blow to any lower income students who want to go to college.

    Huh, I hadn’t considered that. Interesting point.

  78. 78
    gussnarp

    @Rey Fox #75: Somehow I don’t think frats are doing a lot for lower income students. There may be lower costs involved in living in frat houses, but first you’ve got to get into the fraternity and somehow I imagine that the venn diagram of fraternity members and lower income students has very little overlap. You’d have to demonstrate a very large benefit to justify fraternities, and I doubt it’s there. By all means, lets look at it and find out though.

  79. 79
    cswella

    Rey Fox @75

    Thus, I feel like banning fraternities could be a blow to any lower income students who want to go to college.

    Possibly, and the sports programs could have this positive result as well. But these benefits are not things that are only dependent on the programs, so I think the problem of low income education is separated. In the same way that making people happy is a result of religion, the solution isn’t more religion, it’s finding why people aren’t happy.

  80. 80
    cswella

    Rey Fox @75

    Thus, I feel like banning fraternities could be a blow to any lower income students who want to go to college. But I could be totally wrong about that, seeing as how fraternities also tend to be the playground of the above-mentioned Pillars of the Community and all their attendant riches.

    Possibly, and the sports programs could have this positive result as well. But these benefits are not things that are only dependent on the programs, so I think the problem of low income education is separated. In the same way that making people happy is a result of religion, the solution isn’t more religion, it’s finding why people aren’t happy.

  81. 81
    gussnarp

    Oh hey, somebody’s looked at income/social class and greek residence. It’s one very short paper culling data form another survey, and the percentages are confusing the heck out of me, but it’s a start: http://www.afa1976.org/Portals/0/documents/Essentials/Soria%20Essentials%20Article%20May%202013%20FINAL.pdf

  82. 82
    cswella

    Weird, I was getting a message about duplicates on the first click to submit. sorry about doublepost

  83. 83
    gussnarp

    Re me @81: I had to do the math because the table doesn’t make sense with regard to percentages. The number is the number of respondents who answered yes to the question, but the percent is the percent of the total yeses that came from that group. In other words, the number for the low income row and the lives in greek residence is the number of low income people who live in greek residence. But the percent for that row/column is the percent of greek residents who are low income. It would be more intuitive if it were the percent of low income students who live in greek housing (that’s @1 percent, btw, while the percent of wealthy in greek residence is @10% ).

  84. 84
    gussnarp

    And here’s some information about frats/sororities at Dartmouth: http://thedartmouth.com/2012/11/13/news/greek

  85. 85
    andrewphilips

    A university administrator told me that they tolerate fraternities because fraternal alumni donate in higher percentages and more money than non-fraternal alumni – this is adjusted for socio-economic factors.

    @75, Rey Fox, Fraternity costs can be a wash with overall school costs, depends on the fraternity and the school.

    @48, Travis,

    However, study after study has found that frat members account for significantly more rapes than nonmembers, well out of proportion to their numbers, and are also much more likely to be rape apologists.

    reference please.

  86. 86
    smhll

    The only Greek group I was a member of was an honor society, but we still had an initiation ceremony that was supposed to be kept secret. Encouraging in-group secret keeping promotes bonding but is also mighty handy for covering up unethical behavior and criminal behavior, like passing around copies of last year’s tests and tolerating or encouraging the assault of incapacitated guests.

    IMO, secretiveness is an intentional feature that, over time, will nearly always lead to unscrupulous behavior of various kinds.

    Discriminatory favoritism is also baked in to the fraternity/sorority model.

  87. 87
  88. 88
    SallyStrange

    A couple of years after I graduated, a fraternity at my alma mater made national news for distributing a survey to its members which asked them, among other things, who they would like to rape.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/14/university-of-vermont-fra_n_1148585.html

    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that this phenomenon a.) is so similar to the one in the OP and b.) happened at a fraternity, though, right andrephilips? To exercise our pattern-detection might cause frat members undue embarrassment and discomfort, so let’s just turn that off and continue to fuck over the many victims of fraternity members’ penchant for sexual exploitation under the guise of macho many sexual conquest.

  89. 89
    numerobis

    I was part of a “social house” (a frat without greek letters) for nerds; I’m fairly certain we were less rapey than average. We didn’t serve alcohol and drugs at loud parties, we didn’t haze our newcomers, and most of us were virgins. Instead, we had tame potlucks during the day, and we destroyed each others’ villages and armies in very-late-night board and video game sessions. So yes, these things exist. I’m not going to claim “less rapey” means zero, but it was certainly not a den of alcohol and sex like many of the louder greeks were.

    For example, where we lived was the former house of a notorious frat that had been kicked off campus. They had been kicked out for … setting a fire in the basement. Not for raping and hazing; that was clearly OK by University rules.

  90. 90
    SallyStrange

    That a fraternity at Wesleyan is known as a “rape factory” is just a coincidence… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/11/wesleyan-rape-lawsuit-settlement_n_3908416.html

    That a Bozeman MSU fraternity is cooperating with police in two separate investigations of rape is just a coincidence… http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/montana_state_university/article_6b562e20-1ff5-11e3-a9c2-0019bb2963f4.html

    That members of the SAME fraternity that got suspended from UVM’s campus are being suspended while police investigate reports of sexual assault at that fraternity at the U of Texas in Arlington is just a coincidence… http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/09/17/5170885/4th-alleged-rape-reported-at-uta.html

    That the Wikipedia page has a separate section under its entry for “campus rape” to talk about the role fraternities play in perpetuating rape culture is just a coincidence… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campus_rape

    That there is a book about fraternities, gang rape, and rape culture is just a coincidence… http://www.amazon.com/Fraternity-Gang-Rape-Brotherhood-Privilege/dp/0814740383

    Obviously it’s not a coincidence. So, if none of this describes you and your experience, then congrats on being an outlier, but please stop pretending like your experience is representative. The data clearly say otherwise.

  91. 91
    Doug Hudson

    SallyStrange and cswella,

    Thanks for the references, those are handy. I was pretty sure that where there was this much smoke, there was fire, but its good to have data.

  92. 92
    WithinThisMind

    Apparently, according to some of our ‘allies’, getting a woman drunk for carnal purposes isn’t ‘rape’, it’s just ‘taking advantage’.

  93. 93
    carlie

    Scr @64

    Some in this thread have noted that their colleges and universities did not have fraternities, or at least recognized ones. Is this because they are outside the U.S. or because they are small schools or what?

    Just depends on the school and its history with fraternities. I’ve seen schools of fewer than a thousand students where over 90% of the campus was Greek, and large schools with almost no fraternity presence.

    Rey Fox @75

    Thus, I feel like banning fraternities could be a blow to any lower income students who want to go to college.

    I recall people I knew in sororities had large annual membership bills, they were required to have a certain amount of group-logo gear, they had to pay for various events, formal wear for said events, costumes for other events, etc. It didn’t come cheap.

  94. 94
    carlie

    Also Rey:

    Columbia, MO, where I live, is becoming lousy with them

    Columbia was my pit stop on trips home and elsewhere when I was in college. Exit 128, I know it well. :)

  95. 95
    Rey Fox

    Well, I suppose the idea of saving money through communal living IS pretty communist, after all.

  96. 96
    Rey Fox

    Exit 128, I know it well. :)

    I’m sorry.

    (Probably is a decent enough pit stop when you’ve been on the road a long time, but I know it as a horrible traffic snarl of stoplights and fast food.)

  97. 97
    Travis

    andrewphilips,
    A very quick Google search will find them. I can only give the few I have on hand, or have saved in the past.

    This is one study that looks at the attitudes of frat and sororities, and includes plenty of references for you, especially under the “fraternity culture” section: http://www.academia.edu/3288958/Sorority_womens_and_fraternity_mens_rape_myth_acceptance_and_bystander_intervention_attitudes

    http://jiv.sagepub.com/content/15/12/1313.abstract

    https://www.geneseo.edu/webfm_send/3420

    http://acumen.lib.ua.edu/content/u0015/0000001/0000116/u0015_0000001_0000116.pdf

    http://courses.ttu.edu/jkoch/intro/Readings/Frat%20Rape.pdf

  98. 98
    carlie

    Rey – well, *coughcoughgarble* years ago it wasn’t nearly so built up. Just had the Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and the QuickTrip. The Steak’n'Shake wasn’t even there yet when I traveled it regularly, never mind the Golden Corral and all. And route 63 was a two lane road, dammit, and kids were nicer to their elders and music was better and muttermuttermutter….

  99. 99
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    When I went to college, the school in question had only one fraternity, and it wasn’t a big part of campus social life.

    They hadn’t banned fraternities. But there was a rule that all first-year students must live either on-campus or with relatives in town (so locals didn’t have to pay for dorms if they didn’t want to) and fraternity houses didn’t count as on-campus housing.

    Apparently giving everyone a year to make friends and connections outside that fraternity structure made it a lot less appealing.

    Note: while this doesn’t require legislation, it does require the school to have enough dorm space for most of the students. I suspect that if all sophomores moved off campus, the frats would have significantly more attraction.

  100. 100
    Raging Bee

    Man, fraternities haven’t changed a bit since the 1970s.

    Did they put this kind of shit in writing back in the 1970s? I didn’t hear of it. If not, then they’ve changed for the worse.

  101. 101
    Raging Bee

    I think fraternities are a holdover from a bygone era, when social and geographic mobility were a lot lower than they are today, and someone who graduated and moved to another town needed a per-exising set of contacts to rely on to settle into his new place and start to make connections. I hear they were pretty good for that — and maybe their importance in that role gave them a sense of duty that they just don’t have today.

    Today, I’m really not sure fraternities are that much use at all. And maybe it’s their relative uselessness that enables them to sink to greater depths of irresponsibility and depravity. (Do black fraternities have the same level of rape-culture?)

  102. 102
    christopherkoulouris

    The moral of the story? It’s never good to widely share your misogynistic sensibilities, but it is always okay to be one in private…(fraternity) women always swoon over that stuff…

    Masculinity in chaos…

    http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/10/georgia-tech-frat-brother-sends-email-on-how-to-score-rape-bait/

  103. 103
    cicely

    andrewryan’s:

    Likewise, saying “I’m surprised his mom didn’t teach him to respect women more” doesn’t mean I’d expect men without moms to be sexist, or that it’s a mom’s job to over turn a boy’s natural propensity to be sexist, or that a dad can’t teach a boy not to be sexist.

    “Natural propensity”??? Like a biological Default to Asshole? A lack of something on the Y chromosome, maybe, that is corrected in girls when the Xs double up?
     
    </sarcasm and dark bogus-science humor>
    -

  104. 104
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    christopherkoulouris

    When you’re quoting—especially when you’re quoting something like that, which you really don’t want to appear to be your own words:

    <blockquote>Quoted text goes here</blockquote>

    Produces

    Quoted text goes here

  105. 105
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Vicki, that sound similar to what the school I got my Ph.D. at is pulling – or was trying to pull, I haven’t been following the story.

    Previously, the model was “all freshman live in dorms, then can move off campus starting sophomore year. Frat rushing starts for sophomores (freshman can’t be rushed). The college decided to institute making people live on campus during their sophomore years too.

    Frat houses are not college property, so they don’t “count” as living on campus. This plan was attacked by the frats as an attack on the frats – and it may well have been, I’m not sure. I do know that while I was a grad student there were a few highly publicized incidents of parties spiraling out of control (which led to an angry police department), coupled with some advertisements about “ratio induced bitch syndrome” (i.e. female students reacting to a high male:female ratio on campus by being selective about men) that may have been the handiwork of the frats.

    This is more about the role of sororities in upholding traditional femininity, but the school I did my undergraduate at recently landed in the news when a woman there decided that the thing to do was put out feelers about starting a chapter of Delta Gamma on campus – a chapter that would just be for straight women, where they’d do their nails, have fashion shows, and socialize with the football team. Her letter indicated that she felt oppressed and that she was a “minority” on campus because of all the lesbians. Now, this is going to go exactly nowhere, because DG issued a statement to the effect of, “we have a non-discrimination policy for LGBT people, and you’re being stupid; stop tarnishing our brand with your nonsense” and because Smith is one of those schools with no Greek life. The way they get away with this: students live on campus all four years. While you can get a waiver (and yes, it is a waiver) to live off campus, they’re generally reserved for students who have disabilities that cannot be accommodated or students who are married and/or have children – and even then, the housing options include a college-owned block of apartments designed for students who are accompanied by partners and/or children. The going assumption is that if you’re an undergraduate, you live on campus. Which removes the “the college doesn’t own the Greek house” option altogether.

  106. 106
    kittehserf

    andrewryan @42 –

    “ask if she wants to dance. If she says no, ask her to dance.”

    Eh? She just said she doesn’t want to.

    I read it that way too, first time, but it actually refers to her saying yes or no to a drink. It’s badly written.

    ask if she wants anything to drink. If she says yes, get her a drink [and then ask if she wants to dance.] If she says no, ask her to dance.”

    (Brackets mine.)

  107. 107
    Merlin

    So, to sum up:
    Frats…
    Teach and encourage Rape Culture and Misogyny as women become sex objects to be scored for personal pleasure and proof of virility and power.
    Perpetuate an attitude of Entitlement to better treatment from women as well as other frat members later on in life.
    Increase substance abuse through irresponsible intake of alcohol and intense group pressure.
    Increase crime incidence such as rape, assault/battery, etc.
    Enforce a arbitrary hierarchical structure that embraces the abuse of those lower than you through hazing and harsh exclusionary methods.

    However, Alums may donate more (maybe).

    Really, why is this abusive structure allowed? I mean, what is the legal allowance for a group with such hatred, abuse and corruption inherent to its structure? Are we trying to train fratboys to be Republican politicians?

  108. 108
    dvizard

    See, but the one thing I don’t understand is…

    why do women even bother to go to frat parties? I’m not saying that makes the behaviour there any less disgusting or acceptable – I’m asking what drives girls to go to places full of misogynistic assholes where the assholes make the rules?

    I mean, I’m an atheist, I don’t go to church. The rare cases when I go, like Christmas with my family, I brace myself for the bullshit I’ll be getting delivered there, and afterwards get out again.

    So why are the girls going to frat parties? I’m also not saying that by going there they somehow agree to gettng raped – I just don’t understand the motivation behind going.

    If girls, in general, stopped attending events like this, and instead organized events with decent people being nice to each other, all this frat boy culture would quickly dry out simply because no one would want to go there anymore, and you’d be forced to actually be a nice person if you want to meet girls.

  109. 109
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    dvizard

    Presumably, because they’ve not yet found out how bad such parties often are. I’d also mix in a large amount of “bad stuff always happens in other places, not here, where everyone’s so nice ‘n’ friendly.” Also, never underestimate the power of “it won’t happen to me,” especially when we’re talking of young people.

  110. 110
    =8)-DX

    @cicely
    #103

    Likewise, saying “I’m surprised his mom didn’t teach him to respect women more” doesn’t mean I’d expect men without moms to be sexist, or that it’s a mom’s

    Natural propensity”??? Like a biological Default to Asshole? A lack of something on the Y chromosome, maybe, that is corrected in girls when the Xs double up?

    I don’t agree with Andrew’s phrasing here, and of course I don’t think that girls have some magical chromosomal immunity from assholery .. but: taken generally, kids are often “naturally” racist, sexist, bullying little emotionally unstable savages. It’s why childrearing is so difficult. (They’re also overly trusting, naive and friendly – goes both ways).
    At least in my country, racism among schoolchildren is on average significantly higher than the general public, and from experience I know that sexist attitudes and stereotypes do seem to just appear (maybe also due to natural self-identification in school, girls often just play with girls/etc, despite mixed classrooms) and are something I have to *unteach* my kid. And not just obviously learned cultural biases, but also simple childish simplifications (men are like dad, women are like mum). So from that perspective, and taking into account societies where women are the primary childrearers, “I’m surprised his mom didn’t teach him to respect women more” is more of a sad but pragmatic statement of the current status quo.

    Except of course it’s nothing surprising – kids often reject their parents, ignore your advice, grow up hating what you thought was most important in life. And there’s the other point of most young men not associating “sexy young woman I want to have sex with” with “my mother”. What experience of sex and relationships do these young men supposedly automatically get from their mum, comparable to what they would get from interacting with a blind parent?

    Though what I am surprised at is that anyone would find it news that children are naturally prone to bigotry based on simplistic stereotypes and faulty logic.

  111. 111
    jaggington

    =8)-DX @110

    kids are often “naturally” racist, sexist, bullying little emotionally unstable savages.

    I’m going to disagree with your conclusions big time, despite your observations mirroring mine.

    racism among schoolchildren is on average significantly higher than the general public, and from experience I know that sexist attitudes and stereotypes do seem to just appear

    You do realise that socialisation at school is an environmental factor? If your children have become more expressive of racist and sexist ideas since going to school, then maybe it’s not because they are ‘naturally’ racist or sexist?

  112. 112
    daniellavine

    andrewryan@45:

    I think it was uncharitable of you to read #16 as uncharitable.

    Just because someone calls out the sexism of a statement like “Don’t these guys have mothers who teach them to respect women?” doesn’t mean that person is being a totally mean, disagreeable person or that they are accusing the person who said clueless thing of being actively misogynistic. The fact is that pretty much all of us have been acquired some bullshit views simply by being immersed in a bullshit culture.

    The response to pointing this stuff out can be something like: “Hey, interesting. I’ve never thought about it like that before. Thanks for pointing that out and I’ll try to be better about that sort of thing.”

    I thought #16 was interesting. I’m sure we’ve all known clueless but well-meaning people say stupid stuff because they didn’t think about it. #16 was just a prompt that maybe clueless well-meaning people should think a little more the next time they say something like that.

    Right? I don’t see any real need to make excuses for it or have arguments about the intent. Just “Thanks, I’ll try to do better next time.”

  113. 113
    andrewphilips

    OK, so I read through this academic article included above. I tried the other articles, however, they are behind pay walls. None of these articles contains any specific study of the incidence of rape perpetrated by fraternity men, including in comparison to the general campus undergraduate population (“Do fraternity members commit more rape than non-fraternity members as a ratio of populations?”). To be fair, there are a number of studies showing fraternities have a larger proportion of men with sexually aggressive attitudes towards women and other studies that show men with such attitudes are more likely to rape. I’m not trying to be intentionally dense here, but if the studies are so prevalent as Travis submits above,

    study after study has found that frat members account for significantly more rapes than nonmembers, well out of proportion to their numbers, and are also much more likely to be rape apologists

    then I’d like to see one that is explicit in its findings please.

    Two points from this article that are quite significant, however.

    No 1, from the first paragraph, college women are likely to be victims of rape or attempted rape at 1 in 4. That number is far, far too high; it’s absolutely horrible. The article discusses strategies for reducing rape through prevention and awareness programs, although indicates these haven’t seem to had much affect. Something must be done to better protect women.

    No 2, the article mentions that Sorority women are more likely to be raped than the general campus population. There is discussion, but no causal relation indicating why this is. The presumption is that it’s their association with fraternities, but here, there’s only implication and no causal study.

    Go ahead, rail on fraternities all you like, remove them from every university, if you can. Currently and in the end, I think without clearer data, you’re anger may be quite misdirected and energy poorly used. 25% of college women experiencing rape violence is a huge number (granted, any amount of rape more than zero is too much). That’s such a larger issue and needs to be addressed.

    Can we fix the entire undergraduate culture that tolerates this? Whose standard are we walking past now?

  114. 114
    Charly

    @andrewphilips, #113
    What about this study? Quote the abstract:
    “…fraternity members and members of sports teams were overrepresented among the accused.”

    Or this one:
    “…Research has shown that fraternity men are significantly more likely than other college menand the general population to approve of coercing women to engage in sexual behavior…”

    It took me about five minutes to find those via google scholar during my lunch break at work. And I did not even know what “fraternity” means until today.

    Just sayin’. I bet that there are some well read people around who would be able to give ample of reading.

  115. 115
    smhll

    Can we fix the entire undergraduate culture that tolerates this? Whose standard are we walking past now?

    I went to a state university with many frats, but maybe only 20% of the student body belonging to fraternities or sororities. Students partying and trying to have sex with partners who were sloshed was not limited to the fraternities but was prevalent most everywhere on Friday and Saturday nights.

    And education campaign that helps both men and women understand that jumping on a drunk person and fiddling with their genitals isn’t cool and is in fact illegal seems necessary. (But maybe not sufficient.)

    I think I read an article about the “r-pe bait” email on Slate (?) and a high percentage of commenters did not seem to understand that sex with a very drunk person who was not ‘objecting’ was still NOT a consensual act. They didn’t seem to understand that consent requires mental competence.

  116. 116
    andrewphilips

    Charly, thank you. The first reference is quite helpful, more on that below. The second reference was the one others have pointed to. I dug into that one and despite the quote you mined, there’s no supporting evidence in the paper, and the referenced papers supporting that statement do not appear to have any data either. (I emphasize “appear” because I could only glean info from their abstracts).

    I looked for the whole paper for the first study – “Acquaintance rape: The influence of alcohol, fraternity membership, and sports team membership.” – but could not find it. If anyone has an electronic copy of that paper, I would like to read it. In searching, I did however find this summary of the paper on this website:

    Both fraternity and sports team members were over-represented among the crimes of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault and battery, illegal restraint, and intimidation. Fraternity men represented approximately 25% of men on the campus, and were reported as 47.6% of the men involved in sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. Sports team members make up less than 2% of the campus population and were found to comprise 20.2% of the men involved in sexual assault or attempted sexual assault.

    Those are alarming statistics and do show that fraternities (and athletes!) are over-represented in rape incidents, and athletes appear to be far worse perpetrators, at least in this study. The paper is from 1993 – I’m assuming the statistics have held steady for the past 20 years.

    However, before some start calling for the demolition of athletic programs even before fraternity programs, one theme of the papers on the summary page I linked to above stood out quite clearly. I’ll quote from a summary of the paper by Foubert, J. D., & McEwen, M. K. (1998).

    The study supports the hypothesis that rape prevention programming is most effective in an all-male peer education format.

    Some conclusions/suggestions:
    1. Not every member of a fraternity (or athletic org) is a rapist.
    2. Having organized concentrations of men allows university staff to better reach and provide mandatory rape prevention programming.
    3. Best use of time/energy/effort is to provide rape prevention programming and education to as many students as possible in order to dispel rape myths and increase empathy with (potential) victims.

    As far as higher incidence of rape in fraternities, I stand corrected. Thank you.

  117. 117
    nathanaelnerode

    I have seen more than a few college organizations which should have been called fraternities, and even some which used to be called fraternities, which shun the name “fraternity” because they don’t want to be associated with alcohol-swilling rapists. (If you do your research you’ll find quite a few of these “no, really, we’re not a fraternity” groups on most campuses.)

    Given that, I feel more and more comfortable demonizing all “frats”. The ones who don’t deserve it are already abandoning the name, in favor of other phrases.

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