“Do you know what rush boobs are?” my roommate asked me the other night. She was approached by one of her guy friends who asked her if she would be willing to take a picture of her breasts with his fraternity’s letters painted on them.
This appears to be a common promotional strategy used among fraternities at many universities to attract more men to rush greek organizations. Totalfratmove.com has a collection of “rush boobs” dating back two years.
It’s also a strategy that exploits women and doesn’t exactly help the image of fraternities at a time when sexual assault controversies are a consistent issue in the media.
There are many benefits of joining a fraternity. It gives men a chance to live in an academic community. Men are able to participate in a variety of charitable events. Future business connections and friendships are built. Social events are brought to the members on a regular basis. There is no need to use women’s body parts as a recruiting tool for fraternities.
By using women’s breasts as a recruiting tool, fraternities are sending the message, “You will have unlimited access to these boobs if you join our organization.” Men then enter the fraternity expecting to constantly have sexual access to women.
That expectation can slowly morph into men thinking they have a right to a woman’s body. This could potentially lead to an increase of sexual assault among fraternity members.
Part of being a fraternity member is learning how to be a gentleman around women. However, this sexually exploitive marketing tactic is completely contradictory to fraternal philosophy.
It is also important to consider the fact that these fraternity members who take exploitative pictures of women are the same men who some day become our co-workers or bosses. As a woman, it makes me incredibly uncomfortable to think about working with a man who would view my body as a promotional tool for an organization that is supposed to build good character in its members.
However, the women who allow their bodies to be used as a promotional tool need to think of consequences as well.
These pictures of their breasts are posted online for thousands of men to see. The pictures stay online forever. There are websites specifically designated for “rush boob” advertisements.
The women in these photos are our future teachers and CEOs. It is quite possible for the pictures of a woman to be released again by a former fraternity member after she experiences success years down the road. This can be detrimental to her career, especially at a time when more women are becoming leaders.
Consistency and integrity are two important characteristics of a stable organization. Fraternities need to start using recruiting tools that are consistent with their philosophies and teachings on how to treat women well.
You cannot recruit new members with sexually exploitative pictures of women and then weeks later try to teach pledges how to act like a gentleman toward a lady.
Fraternities who use the “rush boob” marketing tactic feel the need to give a sexual incentive to potential members. And they are in need of a serious review of greek life philosophy and purpose.