My friend Shadee wrote a column for the Chronicle. The column provided yet another testament as to why the Chronicle message boards and discussion sections should be moderated. “Go back to Iran,” “Shia whore,” “bitch,” “traitorous snake,” – are some of the choice epithets the Chronicle team is basically allowing to be expressed on their turf, stifling meaningful debate and making a mockery of free speech. The entire Chronicle site is a breeding ground for trolls, and an embarrassment to Duke.
OK, having said that, I don’t agree with Shadee’s column. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I agreed with any of her arguments. I can sort of see what she’s trying to get at, but, once again, hyperbole gets in the way: the problem with Duke feminism isn’t pink nail polish, or something along the same lines, it’s the fact that a relatively small, but very visible minority of girls let guys treat them like dirt, and a relatively small, but very visible minority of guys thinks that this is just the way things ought to be. These same girls are then touted as “symbols” of Duke undergraduate life in shallow articles like the one vomited out by Rolling Stone last year. And real issues take a backseat to the gaudy drama. It can be especially hard for incoming freshmen to wade through all this BS.
Aside from the trolls, a couple of intelligent voices pointed out that femininity does not equal subjugation. I would like to qualify this statement: femininity does not always equal subjugation. Why do I say this? Because human beings always find creative ways to oppress themselves. You can be oppressed by your lipstick – if your entire life revolves around your appearance. The other problem lies within the way that femininity becomes a standard for everyone; just think about those whiny guys who troll on feminist websites and act pissed off about “hairy, butch bitchez,” as if there aren’t enough very feminine girls to gawk at, as if the “bitchez” ought to exist solely for the aesthetic pleasure of said whiny guys (Please. I own more skirts than I do pants – and I can regularly be seen sashaying down the sidewalks at Duke, at least for the time being – if the “bitchez” are getting you down by not dressing and acting in the way that you like, go outside and observe the rest of the world going about its business. Just leave other people alone.).
A large number of heterosexual women on campus will dress in the manner that will attract the opposite sex. There are many ways to attract men, and there’s a fetish for practically everything out there (from leather to aluminum foil to clown suits), but generally, there’s something about a woman’s curves and wiles that gets most men looking. Feminine clothing tends to highlight said curves and wiles. This isn’t true of everyone, and it certainly shouldn’t be forced on people the way it often is now, but it is what it is.
Underneath it all, we’ve got mating instincts working against all common sense. Perhaps I’m being cynical, but it’s been a cynical sort of afternoon.