At Harvard University, all first-year freshmen must live in college dormitories. Students find out in the spring which of the 12 undergraduate houses they'll get to live in, and in anticipation of the annual Housing Day -- where they find out where they're assigned to live -- many houses send out YouTube videos aiming to excite freshmen about living with them.
This year, one of the videos sent by Kirkland House isn't going over well.
According to the Harvard Crimson newspaper, emails sent over the Kirkland listserv Friday morning encouraged residents to share a video titled "Dark Boar" set to the Katy Perry song "Dark Horse." The video showed women in masks and one wearing a giant boar head, which is the house's mascot. It was taken down by Friday night.
Students interviewed by the Crimson offered different concerns about the video. Some thought the masks over women were offensive, others didn't like how people criticized scantily-clad women and not the guys in boxer shorts.
The satirical blog Satire V dinged the video for likening women to meat.
Kirkland House: We Respect Our Meat—I Mean, Women http://t.co/HCkJ5XUR8T
— Satire V (@therealsatirev) March 7, 2014
Each house has its own mascot, and many tried to incorporate them in Housing Day videos not taken down. Dunster House made "What does the Moose say?" and Currier did "What does the tree say?"; Pfoho used their polar bears in a "Frozen" parody; Quincy has penguins; Lowell just used their housemasters in a "Drunk In Love" spin.
Ian D. Nightingale, a Harvard junior, said "Dark Boar" failed because it "didn’t quite go far enough in the parody aspect," leading some people to perceive it "as being objectifying rather than humorous," as the Crimson explained.
"I just think that it wasn’t a good idea, it wasn’t funny, and some people were offended by it, which is a bad combination," Nightingale said.
According to the Crimson, Kirkland's now planning to host a "gathering" to discuss the "portrayal of race, gender, and sexuality" in Housing Day videos.