Student’s op-ed raises questions

Addison Smith | Opinions Editor

In the wake of their Greek life scandal after an article published in Rolling Stone graphically depicted a girl’s rape, an account that was later found to be falsified, the University of Virginia made more headlines when their National Panhellenic Council declared that sorority women were not allowed to attend Men’s Bid Night festivities.

When Phi Kappa Psi brothers were accused of raping a girl named Jackie, the story became national news. Some newspapers accused the article of not contacting other sources and the account of being falsified. Jackie’s account didn’t match up with aspects of her story. A semester later, sorority members were asked to not attend parties on Jan. 31 in light of events and rape issues at UVA.

A seeming non-issue to some (being disinvited to a college party), soon became a larger deal when Erin Dyer, a sorority sister at UVA, wrote an op-ed piece that ran in The Washington Post entitled “If I were A Boy” depicting this ban on attending parties a declaration of women as sexual objects. As Dyer states, “this policy promotes a culture that reduces women to objects of sexual pleasure, only useful as subjects of the male gaze.”

And while some commenters on the article believe this is quite a leap in thought process, the idea of her piece remains: Women are meant to be arm pieces and, if needed, sexual partners for those entering fraternities on bid night. By saying that she and other members of Greek organizations could not attend these parties, NPC reduced them to bodies, not people.

However, amidst a scandal at the University of Virginia where rape and sexual assault seem to have been wiped under the rug, this policy may be a good idea due to the rape culture we are so accustomed to, and the trouble UVA is already in with sexual assault. However, instilling fines and banning sisters from social events if they attend, as Dyer states are consequences, are not the ways to shove this idea down throats.

There’s the idea that if women don’t want to get raped, they shouldn’t head to an area or party where sexual assault could potentially happen. This “victim blaming” in society has become a social norm. Thoughts of “her dress was too short” and “she drank too much” are used as excuses to get away with sexual assault. However, as many have come to realize, women aren’t sexual objects. At the same time, men aren’t asking to be raped either. Nobody is ever asking to be raped or portrayed as an object for sex. Sexual assault of both sexes by either sex needs to be ended entirely.

So, the NPC at UVA has given into the idea that if one attends a “Boys’ Bid Night” party, one is asking to be sexually assaulted. While UVA and its administration haven’t been diligent regarding sexual assault on campus, according to reports, simply stating that women cannot attend these parties puts both genders in a bad light. Neither stereotype portrayed is correct, and NPC at UVA has turned a night of fun into a night of supposed terror by demanding sorority women don’t attend these parties.

Sexual assault occurs everywhere. However, this op-ed by Dyer explores the categorization of women and the light it shines on rape culture.

If you don’t want to be sexually assaulted, demand to live in a culture where assault isn’t common. We have all heard that one in four women will be sexually assaulted in college, and we know that men are assaulted too. Don’t ban a gender from attending a party, work at the core of the issue and push the idea that sexual assault is negative into the heads of everyone. No one should be forced to do something he or she doesn’t want to. Women and men are not objects of sexual pleasure, and Dyer needs to account for men as well in her account. No one is an object.