by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
May 24, 2001
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- As I was driving on a recent Spring weekend through H= anover, N.H., the home of Dartmouth College, I noticed that several of the fraternities were having outdoor parties. Crowds of young men and women mi= ngled happily on lawns with paper cups in their hands.
But something struck me as wrong.
Isn't this the campus rocked by scandal earlier this month, when a frate= rnity was busted for publishing a periodic newsletter containing intimate d= escriptions of its members' sexual lives -- naming names and detailing deta= ils? The one where a future issue promised to reveal amember's "patented t= ips" on how to commit date rape?
The one which became a national news story? Shock! Horror! Disbelief! Men behaving badly! What have we come to (or returned to, or, for that matt= er, elected president of the United States)?
The one which, in a classic case of foot-in-mouth disease, the fraternit= y defended itself by saying that many other fraternities publish similar ne= wsletters?
"I was more than disgusted," one Dartmouth co-ed told the press. "I was sad."
So why, I wondered, were so many females freely associating with men who= had been revealed to be nothing better than pigs? What are we teaching ou= r daughters if they are still dim enough to associate with the sort of men who think of date rape as a sport with bragging rights?
And the biggest question of all, why are we still raising our sons to be= jerks?
But then, I wondered, why am I concerned? Wasn't it because I felt tha= t publishing the names and sexual details of young women reduced them women= to pathetic creatures? Turned them into objects and body parts? Exposed t= heir inherent vulnerability? Turned them into victims? And if that was tru= e, doesn't it mean that insexual terms, men still have all the power?
Why should I imagine that these women need my protection?
One thing our daughters are hopefully learning is that they are sexual beings with the right to sleep with whomever they want -- even jerks. Maybe= , when they're very young, especially jerks. They have the right to make m= istakes, to be hurt, to learn, and to pick themselves up, dust themselves o= ff, and start all over again.
Victorian days are over. Women can remain virgins, be monogamous, be ser= ially monogamous, or take a little walk on the wild side. That's what "fre= edom of choice" means. They have the same strong sexual desires as men, an= d the same right to explore those desires. Reason and caution, of course, should prevail, but we're talking about adolescents here, and even if they don't, a right remains a right.
And who is to say, after all, that sororities don't publish similar new= sletters?
Actually, some do. One of my favorite "sorority newsletters" can befound= at GroupieCentral.com.
Groupie Central is the Web site that celebrates groupies -- women who sp= ecialize in rock stars -- in all their splendor. It's written by groupies f= or groupies, would-be groupies, and gossip hounds like myself.
If you want to know about Marilyn Manson's enema encounters, Chris Isaak= 's self-love party trick, and which current rocker won't use condoms but ha= s an STD that he won't tell his new lovers about, Groupie Central is the pl= ace to go.
It not only rehashes the great old stories about the excesses of The Who= and Led Zep, but tells you what the boys in Backstreet Boys and 'NSync are= up to in their off-hours. It tells you that Eminem is well-endowed, doesn'= t like girls who look like his wife, and "don't be surprised if he wants to= videotape."
The groupies have taken a real dislike to Brittany Spears and Christina Aguilera ("Sluttiest female celebrity at the 20001 Grammy awards... flashin= g her new breast implants), but I suggest they are jealous because the pop tarts have stolen their act, put it on stage, and made a fortune out of it.=
(For gay and lesbians, the groupies have a whole page on women -- and so= me names, like Dolly Parton and Janet Jackson -- may surprise you. Plus ano= ther page about male rockers who are or who might be gay.)
Any way you look at it, the Dartmouth frat boys couldn't have been any raunchier in their publication than the women of Groupie Central are in= theirs.
Maybe the Dartmouth women could learn a lesson here -- don't get sorry, get even. They could put out their own newsletters, telling which frat boy= s are too small, which are too quick, and which are talented in bed. They can even rate them.
They can fight fire with fire and equalize the power.=
Kissing and telling used to be something that "wasn't done" by gentlemen= . Now both men and women are kissing and telling with impunity.
True, I= had hoped that by now, men and women would have elevated themselves out of= the gutter. But then, I'm naive.
For true gender equality, power has to be equalized. That's what happens= on Groupie Central. Those women are as far from pathetic, vulnerable victi= mized creatures as you can get. In fact, they make you feel sorry for the rock stars.
We've always known that boys can be pigs. Maybe girls should be, too.
= Joyce Marcel is a freelance journalist who writes about culture, politic= s, economics and travel.