Yale group hosts ‘Anti-Valentine’s’ to fight ‘capitalism’

Toni Airaksinen
New York Campus Correspondent

  • A feminist group that wants fraternities to accept female members is hosting an "Anti-Valentine's" event to protest "a tradition rooted in capitalism and heteronormativity."
  • Later in the week, the Yale Women’s Center will play host to a “10 Things We Love About Exploiting Capitalist Holidays” event.
  • Feminist students at Yale University are hosting an “Anti-Valentine’s” film screening Wednesday to encourage the “deconstruction” of fraternity culture.

    Hosted by Engender, a group of students who aim to integrate women into fraternities, “Anti-Valentine’s” will feature a screening of “This World: Frat Boys,” a sociological documentary that exposes the “sinister side” of fraternities, according to The Guardian.

    "Nothing is in vogue right now quite like bashing fraternities. After all, fraternities are all exclusive, wealthy and masculine; therefore, they must be evil, right?"   

    “Are you going out this Wednesday out of respect a tradition rooted in capitalism and heteronormativity? Or have you slipped through the cracks to suffer the awkward, social consequences of aloneness on Valentine’s?” the event asks. “Either way…come celebrate your Wednesday Night at Yale at the Women's Center, with Engender, for a screening of ‘This World: Frat Boys.’”

    [RELATED: Harvard sorority goes ‘gender-neutral’ to avoid sanctions]

    Founded in 2016, Engender aims to make fraternities open to women, but does not have a corresponding push to make sororities co-ed. Engender specifically targets fraternities due to their alleged “control over campus social life,” according to its mission statement.

    Inspired by Engender, a high-ranking Yale University official emailed all fraternities two weeks ago to encourage them to let women join. And last week, 10 women and non-binary students requested bids from Sigma Phi Epsilon, reported The Yale Daily News.

    But while the group has seen some support, no women have successfully rushed a fraternity, yet.

    In an interview with Campus Reform, student Natalie Schultz-Henry said successful integration would combat the “epidemic of sexual assault, hazing, and unequal professional opportunities created by the exclusion of women from fraternities.”

    Student Grant Richardson disagrees. He recently wrote an op-ed in the Daily News defending fraternities and disputing the allegation that they breed “toxic masculinity.”

    “Nothing is in vogue right now quite like bashing fraternities. After all, fraternities are all exclusive, wealthy and masculine; therefore, they must be evil, right?” the third-year student wrote.

    “If single-sex organizations are inherently bad, then sports teams and sororities should be abolished along with fraternities, but activist groups like Engender opt for the easy punching bag of criticizing fraternities over intellectual consistency,” he added.

    [RELATED: ‘Consent talks’ now required at door for Berkeley frat parties]

    In an interview with Campus Reform, Richardson pointed out that while The Yale Daily News has published numerous anti-fraternity op-eds, there was “not one in defense of fraternities” before he published his op-ed

    “I knew that a lot of people on campus disagreed with Engender's mission, yet did not want to put themselves out there by writing an article,” he said. “Since no one else seemed willing to do it, I decided to publicly defend the fraternities.”

    While Richardson doesn’t believe fraternities are “perfect,’ he does contend that they do provide some value to campus, such as helping students form friendships and a social support network.

    “Anyone that believes fraternities are bastions of rape culture have never been inside a fraternity in 2018,” he asserted. “Fraternity brothers are acutely aware of this stigma, and want to do everything possible to dispel this.”

    [RELATED: Prof exempts ‘black fraternities’ from call to abolish frats]

    To cap off Valentines Day week, on Friday the Yale Women’s Center will also play host to a “10 Things We Love About Exploiting Capitalist Holidays” event, which declares that “love is dead and so is Heath ledger.”

    Campus Reform reached out to Sigma Phi Epsilon for comment on if they might accept women, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen





    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    New York Campus Correspondent
    Toni Airaksinen is a New York Campus Correspondent, where she reports on free speech issues and social justice research. She is a senior at Barnard College, majoring in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. She is also a columnist for PJ Media, and formerly held a post with USA TODAY College, The Columbia Spectator, and Quillette.
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