Monday, February 18, 2008

Fraternities Fighting Casual Sex Face Challenges, Too

Fraternity parties are notorious sites for casual "hook ups." Recently I got another view of this issue from an officer of one fraternity that is trying to change that story in their own house.

"being respectful of women [is] a key element among our brothers, and even brothers [will be] called out for any disrespectful actions (such as groping, or any action that may make a woman uncomfortable).

[In our house, at least,] I believe the general statement that “fraternity parties are places where people hook up” to be especially true with non-fraternity male members. I believe the dance floor of a fraternity party provides a certain degree of anonymity in which males can “make a move” on a female, and if the female is willing, she can be taken back to a dorm without anyone noticing. I am frustrated by such occurrences because men who take women home anonymously will not have the criticism from the entire chapter to motivate them to choose the right decision."

Fraternities have the power to partly regulate their members' actions -- for good or ill. If, as sometimes happens, fraternity means that brothers assist one another in taking advantage of women, as in "Animal House," then the group makes things worse. On the other hand, a "good guy" fraternity can help one another uphold a higher standard of treating women respectfully. In that case it is the independent men who take advantage of the fraternity's open parties to meet incautious women, without the fraternity having any leverage to regulate the men's behavior.

The fraternity is, in this case, a help to women and the moral order; it is the independence of independents that leaves women and the moral order without protection.

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