Wednesday 10 October 2012
Yesterday we published an article on Fresher's Week sexism by Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project. It elicited a phenomenal reaction from the Independent Voices community and was shared nearly 7,000 times on various social networks.
Some felt the article took party themes too seriously. VKBN1 wrote: "Really, get over it. Tarts and Vicars, Pimps and Hoes etc has been going on for as long as I can remember. It's just a 'theme'."
Others were concerned that our writer was indirectly patronising women. "This article makes girls out to be brainless, defenceless and naive," writes Millie May. "If you don't want to wear something slutty - DON'T"
David Harley sees a depressing future for participants in such events; "They grow up into the kind of people who regard workplace harassment as normal, and are liable to come crashing down in flames." Meanwhile GuyBurgess feels that condemning such events highlights a contradiction in modern feminism "So what's the difference between freshers' week and a slut walk?"
A few commenters wrote in defence of particular universities or party organisers. Bgdve09 writes "As a York Uni Alum and having been a member of the Derwent JCRC, I can safely say that Slag n Drag has been a successful even on the Derwent College Freshers Week calender for many years...Nobody has been presurised [sic] into dressing up and most of the girls don't go as 'slags' anyway"
In defence of the University of York, several people also pointed out that the line "...where a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it," was a quotation from the film Mean Girls and therefore meant ironically.
Whatever they thought about the party themes, commentators were almost uniformly aghast at the practice of "slut-dropping", which the article describes as the practice of offering a drunk girl a lift home, then driving miles in the wrong direction and ditching her. Although a couple felt that the female in this situation should bear the brunt of the responsibility: "Who in their right mind gets into a stranger's car, drunk or sober?" writes Vicky Farley.
So, should universities ban sexist Freshers Week events? Scroll down to add your comments to the debate.