When the opportunity came for me to write for The Odyssey in the fall of 2008, I was excited to add a perspective defying common stereotypes of a fraternity man.
Too often, it can be argued that men bearing letters on their chests only concentrate on food, booze and sex. Therefore I wanted to vindicate greek life by sharing my views on politics.
However, the stereotype has recently dug further down its rabbit hole. “Rating Girls,” published in the April 7 edition of The Odyssey, proved the ignorance of the greek man and demolished any attempt at improvement on the image of a fraternity.
After reading the “column,” I’m ashamed to identify as a fraternity man. Calling women inferior to men destroys the overall objectives every house establishes in their bylaws. In some shape or form, these rules create the mission for the young college men to be “leaders on the university’s grounds.” Fraternities were designed to build men to be the future of the country, not to ruin it.
It’s baffling that “Rating Girls” is considered as a satire in the “Laugh Out Loud” section of The Odyssey. Between the digs at handicapped women or the intellectual capability of others, the article is the latest in a string of stories published carrying the alpha male dominance concept. In no paragraph does the author ever acknowledge the absurdity of the words written. In fact, he pushes it further with detailed slander that unknowingly labels him as a womanizing, shallow pig.
The article was pulled from its Web site shortly after its publication. But the damage had been done. Thousands of copies were already delivered to the front doors of each house, and hundreds of women, both greek and non-greek, were offended and appalled that such views still exist.
So as a man — a fraternity man — I want to apologize to any person who was offended after reading it. It’s an embarrassment to know that social views like this still occur today, at a time when our generation is seen as the most progressive in the history of this nation.
Though there has been little punishment from this incident (when there should have been), I do hope this writer learns the value of respect — respect for the publication, respect to ALL women and respect toward this campus. Articles like “Rating Girls” should be considered an insult for the staff of The Odyssey because it shows this guy doesn’t appreciate the more than 60 hours a week the editors put into weekly publication — or else he would have produced an informative and compelling story for the greek community.
Last but not least, the irony with the situation will be the most comedic part of this act. This man intended on a sure “Laugh Out Loud” for men. But after all is said and done, we will be the ones laughing because the power of the Google search does wonders, especially for future employers.
Former Odyssey columnist
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I have always had a special affinity for art in places where art “isn’t supposed to be.” Certainly, most of us enjoy an afternoon browsing a gallery or museum, but there is something really nice about finding art in unexpected places.
I was pleased to see Matthew Cinkoske's recent column about domestic violence at IU — "Is IU mishandling student domestic violence?" June 14, 2015.
I would like to bring to the attention of the IDS the fact that harassment of disabled students occurs regularly at IU Bloomington. I personally know of physically impaired students who have been harassed in Ballantine Hall for taking the elevator up or down one floor. And they aren’t just harassed by fellow students; faculty and staff are guilty, too. Just because someone looks healthy, doesn’t mean that they are. Invisible disabilities are any of a number of chronic conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living while showing no outward signs of the illness. I also know of a physically impaired student who was made fun of recently for riding a scooter in Forest Residence Center. This is a student who can barely walk—and only for short distances—and only when feeling physically up to it. This same student was also harassed in the Forest parking lot by someone who didn’t think a handicap parking space should be used by a disabled student, even though the appropriate IU parking permit was displayed in the car. Harassment may be reported to the IU Incident Teams at (812) 855-8188 or email@example.com. I mention these incidents because they happened to students I know. And if they can happen to them, they can happen to anyone. I ask the entire campus community: How would you feel if someone you cared about was ridiculed or harassed because they had a disability? How does it feel to learn that members of the campus community, whether you know them or not, have to deal with harassment at IU Bloomington on a daily basis? I urge us all to think before speaking, show some Hoosier compassion, and offer to help instead of contributing to an intolerant environment. I also urge the IDS to investigate and report on the harassment of disabled students on this campus. As an IU alumna, IU employee, and IU parent, I hate to think of Indiana University’s reputation being tarnished by charges of harassment of any kind. Melissa Thorne Bloomington
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