By now, most students have heard of the Smith College student who campaigned for an exclusively straight sorority on the Smith campus. Her proposition went viral on both and Tumblr on Sept. 19. For those who have not yet read her blissfully insensitive reasoning, she explained in an email to select girls that “as a straight girl at Smith, [she] feel[s] marginalized and…like the minority,” that “[the sorority] could be a really great way to socialize with people [the members would] identify more with at Smith, and to meet more guys.”
Though there may be a greater proportion of people who identify as LGBTQ+ in the Smith community than there are outside of it, until I see a study, I strongly doubt that straight women are in the minority of students at Smith. Also, just because a community is not heterocentric, homosexual discrimination against heterosexuals does not give this student the right to claim “marginalization.” As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I bristle at this idea as I do at the idea of heterophobia. Many of us in the LGBTQ+ community truly have been in the minority and marginalized. Unless she has been shunned, been pigeonholed because of stereotypes or felt frightened to express herself on account of her heterosexuality, she has no right to even broach the term “marginalize.”
By creating this social group based solely on sexuality, this student is implying that the only way women can bond is over sexuality. Are meaningful relationships only founded upon a shared figurative manhunt? Are straight women and LGBTQ+ people so different that we have nothing to offer one another?
Are we defined by our sexualities? If this student truly believes so, I am surprised that she chose to spend four years at a women’s college. Women’s colleges support the idea that we should think about more than whom we might marry. We are more than sexual objects, defined by so much more than our sexual preferences, a point that somehow managed to elude this student’s grasp.
The foundations on which this sorority would be created not only play into the idea that women only identify with those who, in generational terms, “fangirl” over boys, but also further enforce gender roles.
Baking nights? The questionably ironic reference to Mean Girls? Of course, in this student’s mind, the straight girls joining the sorority would wholeheartedly embrace these activities and behavior. For, as we all know, in order to be straight, we must act feminine. Never mind the huge number of heterosexual women who are abysmal bakers or are indifferent to pink—they’re in the closet, right? Because all straight girls like baking.
Not only does this demean women and imply that we are only able to unite in our shared search for a mate, but this objectifies men. This sorority would be created in part so that students could “meet more guys.” However, does nobody in the LGBTQ+ community want to meet guys? Or is this student implying that the sorority would only be meeting guys in order to hook up, rather than meeting men as individuals and getting to know them for their personalities? This reduces men to mere sexual objects, which is despicable in its own right. Every individual has more to offer than sex.
This student seems to have completely missed the point of college. We came to college in order to learn and, in my few weeks at Mount Holyoke College, I know I have grown exponentially as a result of being exposed to my classmates’ various differences. This student is so afraid of being around those she doesn’t “identify…with” that she hopes to manufacture her own comfort zone. Someone, on behalf of all of us, alert the Gender Studies department.
A response to last week’s new article, “Smith student tries to start ‘straight girl’ sorority.”