OK, we know the following characterization is NOT 100 percent representative of all fraternities in this country.
But still, the stats about sexual assault and tales of misogynistic behavior in the essay, “Bros Before Hos,” published by history and gender studies professor Nicholas L. Syrett on the National Sexuality Resource Center’s web site, are beyond scary.
You’ll have to read the essay yourself for his particularly eloquent argument about how the closeness of men in frats fosters misogynistic behavior and a fear of homosexuality—it’s worth a read for anyone who has known or loved a frat boy. Synett’s certainly not arguing frat boys are worse than other men, but they do live in a unique environment that has an affect on them. Frat boys don’t sound like they’ve ever not had a weird relationship with sex, masculinity and power.
Six scary things we learned about frat boys from reading his essay, after the jump…
- In the past 30 years, male students in frats have been more likely than male students who aren’t in frats to rape.
- Syrett says some studies guess 70 to 90 percent of gang rapes reported on college campuses were committed by frat boys.
- Frat boys have always had a rep for living it up. In 1924, Dartmouth’s Zeta Psi frat bragged: “Brother ‘Stan’ Lonsdale has improved the already magnificent reputation he had attained in past years as Lothario and Don Juan put together, and as representative in the chapter in all women’s colleges within a radius of several hundred miles.” My, my. Here’s hoping Brother Stan had nothing itchy in his drawers.
- Seventy-fine years later, Zeta Psi was still a notorious: In 2001, Dartmouth’s school newspaper published excerpts from the Zeta Psi’s newsletter, which joked that one of the brothers would teach everyone his “patented date rape techniques.” Hilarious.
- In the 1950s, two sociologists discovered that frat boys were particularly likely to try to “take advantage” of their female dates (although what that actually means is unclear). They noted that some of these men used “menacing threats or coercive infliction of physical pain,” which these days we call “date rape.”
- Still, frat boys don’t/weren’t necessarily enjoying all the pressure on them to have sex, or at least, sexual experiences. One study in the 1960s found that frat boys had higher rates of dissatisfaction over other male students.
For the record, we do know quite a few respectful, decent men who belonged to frats. But we also know frat boys who made Old School look like Yo, Gabba Gabba!—so don’t try to pull the polo shirt over our eyes.