MIXED MESSAGES ON SEX
(by Richard Morgan, from the Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/11/2002)
OHIO WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY officials have no problem with female athletes who like to "swim for Dick," but they were irate over a Greek-planned "Schoolgirl Party" and cracked down when the men's rugby team articulated a desire to "go down on your sister." Double standard?
In November, campus officials ordered the rugby team to stop wearing T-shirts that read, "We may not go down in history, but we'll go down on your sister!"
And, pressured by the university, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity dropped plans for a "Schoolgirl Party," in which members would pose as professors and judge female students on their appearance and drinking ability. Instead, the fraternity held a dance.
Joy E. Homitsky, moderator of the Women's House, an all-female dormitory, says that the original party would have "put women in a subordinate role" and that the rugby shirts were "targeting women."
Anders M. Lindstrom, a senior and the rugby team's captain, says the shirt has been misunderstood.
"It's basically a joke," he says. "Except for the Women's House, the majority of students--parents, too--like the shirts. They understand it's a joke."
But Pamela D. Besel, a university spokeswoman, says both cases were violations of "common sense," adding that the T-shirts were "not in the best of taste." The university, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, may take action against the fraternity, citing a pattern of offensive behavior.
Meanwhile, some students wonder why the university has not complained about the women's swim team's T-shirts, which say: "We swim for Dick." It's a reference to Richard L. Hawes Jr., the coach.
In an op-ed last month in the student newspaper, The Transcript, Bethany J. Schwan, a sophomore, criticized the university's apparent lack of concern about the shirts: "Too often in this post-feminist world we live in, the sexist comments are not being done away with, as some women would like to believe. They have merely been refocused toward the degradation of men."