September 27, 2014

THAT'S "FRATERNITY"

Frat Boys, Drunken Girls and Paternalism  (Virginia Postrel, 9/26/14, Forbes)

Judging, or even acknowledging, the risky behavior of female college students has become a cultural taboo.

Hence the fate of Forbes.com contributor Bill Frezza, who briefly published a column -- under the deliberately provocative headline "Drunk Female Guests Are The Gravest Threat To Fraternities" -- warning fraternities to watch out for female party guests who show up intoxicated. "I don't care how pretty or flirtatious a young lady is; if she's visibly intoxicated, don't let her in," he wrote. The consequences, he warned, could be grave:

The column was almost immediately jerked from the site, and Frezza, who has written for Forbes since 2011, was summarily fired. (Forbes columns are essentially blog posts, put up by their contributors without editing. Contributors are paid based on traffic, which may account for the headline and equally designed-to-outrage stock photo.)

Commentators were outraged that Frezza -- a man! -- appealed to the self-interest of fraternity members, and addressed the subject from their perspective rather than tackling broader issues of morality or condemning the decadence of Greek life. "Blaming the problem on other people and taking zero time for self-reflection is exactly how fraternities arrived at their punchline status in the first place," wrote Jezebel's Erin Gloria Ryan. Jezebel represents the same lack of introspection -- with the same punchline results -- among well-educated young women.

Read coolly, Frezza's rhetorical strategy is clear. Although provocative, the column wasn't just link bait. An adviser to his old Massachusetts Institute of Technology fraternity, which Frezza has described as "the central institution of my life," he was trying to scare young men into monitoring the behavior of wildly intoxicated young women, despite the immediate temptations they present.1 "It is precisely those irresponsible women that the brothers must be trained to identify and protect against, because all it takes is one to bring an entire fraternity system down," he warned.

It would be helpful if these educational institutions taught them that part of manhood is accepting that you have a duty towards women.
Posted by at September 27, 2014 5:57 AM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« THE POINT OF THE TALKS IS THAT THEY GET TO KEEP A NUCLEAR PROGRAM: | Main | A PEOPLE WHO THINK THEMSELVES A NATION ARE ONE: »