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Double standard exists from fraternities

Recently, it has come to our attention that Baker House sponsored a "Sex Goddess" competition, which culminated in the Sex Goddess Happy Hour on April 13. This competition was open to women living in Baker and included, but was not limited to, such worthy events as licking whipped cream off a cucumber, faking an orgasm and sucking milk from a bottle held by a man near his penis. Two of these events were clearly designed to imitate oral sex.

Before we go any further, it should be pointed out that while we are members of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, this letter represents only our opinions, and should not be interpreted to be the official opinion of our fraternity. But as members of ATO, we remember quite vividly the uproar caused by our "Heaven-and-Hell" T-shirts, which depicted a devil saying, "Do it, you know she wants it," to a young man.

We were criticized, and rightly so, for degrading women and for tolerating, if not actually encouraging, an attitude which views women solely as sexual objects. Our house accepted and agreed with this criticism, and by a unanimous vote, we censored the T-shirt and officially apologized to the MIT community. But this was not before our actions were condemned by GAMIT, the Undergraduate Association president and vice president, the presidents of all three MIT sororities and many individuals whom we had offended. Furthermore, the incident even became a campaign issue when our brother, Jon D. Strizzi '92 ran for UA vice president.

Therefore, we find it amazing that we have heard no word of protest in regard to the Sex Goddess competition. The same organizations which were so quick to condemn our fraternity's actions have remained strangely silent on the Baker incident. In fact, some of the contestants were members of the same sororities which attacked us for debasing women. We believe that this silence, and in some instances, this justification of and participation in the Baker Sex Goddess contest represents a growing problem on our campus: fraternophobia. Simply put, fraternity members are often accused of sexism, racism and a host of other "isms," all because we are members of the Greek system.

It hardly needs to be said that the Baker Sex Goddess contest was extremely sexist, yet there are some that have tried to justify it. It has been argued that that contest was a "private" function. But since Baker House is home to several hundred undergraduates, it was hardly a "private" affair. And does the supposed "privacy" of this event take away from its flagrant sexism? The fact that women volunteered to participate in this ordeal is also of no consequence. Any action which portrays women as mere sexual objects, to be used at men's disposal is completely intolerable. The Baker Sex Goddess contest has the same sordid effect that a pornographic movie does: It cheapens and demeans women. Can anyone truly say that men could leave such an obscene display with a more esteemed view of women?

Look at it another way. There has been absolutely no public outcry over the Baker Sex Goddess contest, but what do you suppose would have been the reaction to ATO's Sex Goddess competition? Our guess is that the brotherhood would find such an exhibition too distasteful and sexist to even consider, and we wouldn't allow it.

But if it had been an ATO event, the public reaction would have been unimaginable. We would be labeled sexist, probable rapists, and who knows what else. It would make our T-shirt fiasco look like a Sunday picnic. Put it in perspective: Men, would you rather see your sister wearing our T-shirt or drinking milk from a guy's crotch? And women, which do you think would be more appalling for your mother to see?

We're tired of this. We are fed up with the double standard which exists on campus. Fraternity members are automatically assumed to be sexist while dorm residents aren't criticized for even the most blatant sexist activities. We call upon GAMIT, the Association for Women Students, the UA, the three sororities, and all responsible students to condemn the Baker Sex Goddess competition, and to demand the same high standards of conduct from dormitories that we have come to expect from fraternities.

John Abbamondi '93->

Lance Gilmet '93->

and 11 others->

Alpha Tau Omega->