Posted by R. Alden Wicker ('09)
While I can't talk about all the angles here I will say this: Yes, your fears are all correct. The campus, behind the scenes, is vicious. Yes, if you do something dumb, everyone will talk about it. (Ok, here I go, I'm ready for the extremely offended emails to come shooting back.) And I am glad! I have learned more here about being a lady than I could learn at a state school. Why do you think Girls Gone Wild has never appeared on our campus? Thank the gossipy climate for that. Students occasionally misbehave, but we know better. Where the bracket writers went wrong was in their choice of language choice and putting it in print.
But at the same time, it's really not that vicious here. Once when I was at a state school party, I witnessed a guy shove a girl off her seat onto the floor and cuss her out. "Whatever, she's a slut," he said when I confronted him about it. And no one cared. That does not happen here. Even if I embodied every stereotype of a slut, the W&L gentlemen would never insult me and mean it. I know our sexual assault is high, (perhaps W&L gentlemen are just sneakier? A topic for another time.) but I hope you will keep this in mind as we try to move forward and address that issue.
Finally, my most important point. No, the list and the bracket cannot be lumped together, because they stem from two very different situations.
The authors of the bracket were urged on by all of their peers. The author of the list was completely alone in her actions, and had/has a twisted world view. Maybe she did this because she thought the bracket made it ok, but I highly, highly doubt it.
She was not excoriated for her actions because she is a female. It was because she took the slander to a whole new level, wholesale making up stuff about her whole sorority in a blatant attempt to sell her body, and those of her sorority sisters, to a fraternity.
The Bracket was dumb. That's been beaten to death. My point is that you just can't try to fit this into a "poor females" box. There were boys on there too, and there were boys that were upset. It's more a matter of social capital. I enjoyed LeBlanc's post because I think she really got it. I would suggest addressing the issues of gender equality for a more fitting topic.