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Meredith Fineman

Meredith Fineman

Posted: March 10, 2011 09:38 AM

USC's Kappa Sigma: Women Are Just 'Targets'


An email written by a brother of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at USC has been making national headlines with his instructions on how to be a "Cocksman," telling his fraternity to "take notes" about how to have sex with girls. He decrees:

"Note: I will refer to females as "targets". They aren't actual people like us men. Consequently, giving them a certain name or distinction is pointless." (You can read the email here. )

The language is sexist, racist, gross, foul, offensive, and degrading.

What scares me most is not the sex-for-ranking stuff, but rather how violent the language is. The document is a literal "battle plan," encouraging treating women in a violent and derogatory manner. By referring to women as "targets," it's almost as if they're animals -- being hunted and treated in a predatory nature.

The fraternity is apologizing like crazy, but let's be real: This sort of stuff happens all the time. I'm aware of fraternity listservs in college that regularly circulated pictures of past weekend's hookups for guys to rate, or lists of the hottest freshman girls. A friend once forwarded me such a post, and it was horrifying, but also deeply fascinating. These fraternity listservs are seen as the ultimate secret, and completely anti-female. Is this what happens among all frat guys? There's an element of morbid curiosity too -- it's a peek into a male psyche, although I'd hope not a common one.

I remember an instance of someone telling me that FFJD was on a fraternity listserv, I sat there wondering (and dreading) some of the things that would probably be written. For some reason, among frat brothers, sharing and swapping stories, sexual encounters, advice, and divulging very personal information about women in the community is not only commonplace, but encouraged.

Apparently in college we love to organize everything, even our sex lives. But this is something that probably shouldn't be on anyone's to-do list. Or any list really. As I wrote about before, we are obsessed with rating things -- the email lays out a very detailed number scale on which to rate women. I've accidentally witnessed my own rating (by two boys when I lived in South America who didn't realize I was American) and sure, girls have done it to guys.

Since when, between the Duke F*ck List, and this stuff, did sex in college mean a sport? Tactics? Strategy? By making sex into a game, it removes all romance, intimacy, and love.

This sex for sport/win is not something, sadly, just associated with college -- read Maureen Dowd's piece on the D.C.-Area high school that had the senior boys ranking freshman girls, with a point system.

Fraternity and sorority culture is a great bonding tool -- it fosters campus life, engages groups of students in new and different ways. I've written before about my love of my sorority. I also recognize the danger of a group mentality. It's examples like this that bring out the worst in the Greek system.

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