My phone blips. Another email. Given that I’m stuck at an un-jaywalkable intersection in the East Village, I pause to open it. It’s another reply to my sorority sister’s chain email. The subject line from 35 emails ago simply reads: “Interesting.” I’m immediately engrossed, missing the walking man and chance to cross the street.
Earlier this week, another email sent off to “sisters” surfaced on the internet. It has received hundreds of thousands of reads, an onslaught of comments and at least two well-known dramatic readings. Rebecca Martinson’s virulent, expletive-filled rant confirmed and probably strengthened everybody’s stereotype of Greek life.
Her email evoked many emotions. I was embarrassed for her and disgusted with the email. I was incredulous that she could send something like that to an entire chapter of girls that she pays dues to be a member of. (Also that she used email, when everybody knows can easily be forwarded or published.) I thought of my own past Greek Weeks with amusement. But mostly I recalled the intense and all-consuming nature of the Greek system — the politics, the rankings, the jockeying for connection to a certain fraternity, the endless events, the rivalry of shirts and styles. I remembered what it was like to care so much about the frivolity. Keep reading »
You hear a lot of crappy things about fraternities–often deservedly so–so it’s nice to have a positive story come out of frat-land. Members of the Phi Alpha Tau chapter at Emerson College have raised funds so that one of their pledges can get top surgery. Sophomore Visual & Media Arts student Donnie Collins came out as transgender in high school, and pledged to the frat earlier this year. Collins attended an all-female boarding school and lamented that while his fellow students were all very nice, “it was all horrible.”
Collins doesn’t have any insurance support for his hormonal therapy or sexual reassignment surgery–and Emerson’s health insurance excludes such therapies. So far, he’s been paying out of pocket, and trans hormone therapies are not cheap. “I’d go to the endocrinologist and pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket, because, of course, I didn’t have insurance of my own,” he said. Keep reading »
In the mid-’90s, Todd Phillips made a documentary about the secret life of frat houses for HBO. The cable channel opted never to air the special, but it was recently unearthed and thrown up on YouTube. As you might imagine, much of what Phillips and his doc team unearth is pretty appalling. Frat pledges are urged to do rather inhuman and disgusting things — like intentionally puking and biting the heads off of live rats — in order to be accepted into particular fraternities. And the usual binge drinking, misogyny and bad behavior run rampant. It’s kind of mesmerizing. [NYMag.com]
Yale University has suspended the Delta Kappa Epsilon frat from campus for five years for an October 13th incident (captured on audio) when pledges marched outside freshman dorms chanting “No means yes! Yes means anal!” According to an email sent by the Yale College Dean on Tuesday afternoon, the school found that the actions of DKE, who are not an official campus organization, “threatened and intimidated others,” which violates the school’s Undergraduate Regulations. Individual frat members have been punished, although Yale wouldn’t disclose how because of confidentiality agreements. Keep reading »
The barfy things that frat boys do know no bounds. Fellow ladyblog Jezebel obtained an email yesterday which was allegedly written by a brother in USC’s Kappa Sigma fraternity instructing his brethren on how to “rate” their conquests. There’s a numbered scale, people. Oh, and rape jokes. Keep reading »
This NSFWish (use headphones) video shows Yale University fraternity pledges marching through campus shouting, “No means yes! Yes means anal! No means yes, yes means anal!” According to Tracy Clark-Flory at Salon.com, they also shouted, “My name is Jack, I’m a necrophiliac, I f**k dead women,” though that wasn’t captured on audio. The president of the DKE fraternity, Jordan Fourney, released an apology, calling the anal rape chants “a serious lapse in judgment by the fraternity and in very poor taste.”
Presented without comment. Because what is there to say, really? [Salon.com Broadsheet] Keep reading »
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…
Keep reading »