Thursday, May 2, 2013

Stop from Perpetuating Rape Culture

Yesterday, Total Frat Move (TFM) decided to publish an article that comments on the slut shaming endured by activists in Plattsburgh, NY during their annual Take Back the Night. A local fraternity publicly harassed the survivors, victims, and allies. The author’s response was to reprimand these men for their “poor form,” which when you consider the men’s insensitivity, is a failed criticism.  Interestingly, the author also recommends possible posters for further protests against sexual assault, such as “You Blew it! We Won’t Put Out For You Anymore!” 

The author’s response to the fraternity’s blatant disrespect of women is completely within the character of the website and it’s online community. TFM is responsible for creating a viral platform for misogyny and rape culture under the guise of "fraternity satire.” An online community for privileged white men in college fraternities, these men enjoy congratulating each other on their social superiority while belittling women and anyone who doesn’t own several golf courses. TFM is particularly popular for their collection of one liners submitted by fraternity men on their interactions with college women: “The instant pass out after ejaculation,” “The dilemma between sitting next to a hot girl or a smart girl during your final,” and “Willing your slam to a new member once you graduate” (Willing refers to the practice of passing down a sentimental fraternity object to a younger member, and a slam is short for a “slam piece,” who is a young woman that he is having sex with).    

The author of this most recent example of online sexism fails to recognize the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses or the role that Greek organizations play in its continuation. He is writing for an audience that views survivors of sexual assault as sluts who were asking for what they got. He reinforces this mentality by refusing to describe the actions of the Plattsburgh fraternity for what they are: sexual harassment.   

My friend Elizabeth and I decided to confront the sexism in this article and remind TFM that women are not sluts, but humans who will no longer stand for ignorance on issues of sexual violence. Facebook became our battleground. Here’s what happened:  


TFM responds to Elizabeth’s anger caused by the author’s casual slut shaming, by arguing that they are a “satirical website” and it isn’t their responsibility to take a “moral stance,” especially because they provide “funny commentary” on the college experience. 

No TFM, sexual assault is not funny. 

One in four women will experience rape or attempted rape by the time they complete their college education. The first three months of freshman year are called the “Red Zone,” because young women are most likely to become victims of sexual violence during this time. One in twelve college men say that they forced a woman to have sex against their will. 

This website ignores the role that fraternities play in committing sexual assault. Nicholas Syrett’s recent study shows that fraternity men may perpetuate 70-80% of college gang rapes. In 2011, Yale suspended the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity for their public chant “No Means Yes, and Yes Means Anal!”  This is example is just one of the more public demonstrations of the horrible sexism that characterizes many of today’s fraternities. 

Recently, national news has begun to recognize the severity of sexual assault on college campuses. Survivors at Amherst College, Swarthmore College, the University of North Carolina, and others have decided to confront their administrations and demand action. Websites like TFM do not help college activists as they work to create safer campuses, more often than not they cripple causes and distance college men from being able to empathize and support Survivors. 

Our Facebook debate concluded with TFM deleting our comments and our demands for an apology. We were also blocked from further posting on the thread. We are asking the online community to help us pressure Total Frat into not only issuing an apology for their callous article, but to also publically acknowledge the role that their website’s misogynist culture plays in harming the efforts of college activists.  We demand that TFM educates their users on the prevalence of sexual assault. 

Once TFM deleted our comments, this is what the final thread looks like. And yes, we’re mad.


If you're mad too, please consider signing our petition!! 

-Michelle Carroll