Discourse / Greek Life / Letters / January 29, 2009

Victim of TKE joke speaks out

Although TKS has a letters policy which forbids anonymity, we chose to make an exception in this case. The author makes the reasons for this clear. TKE sophomore Alex Perry, who said last week that the author had received an apology from the pledge class that made the Beowulf joke, declined to comment. –ed.

I would like to make a correction to last week’s article relating to TKE hazing. I am the “overweight woman” in the Gizmo who was used as part of the “Beowulf” joke.

The article stated that I was apologized to. I was not.

When this incident happened, I was sitting with a group of friends in the Gizmo. I was approached by a group of TKE pledges. I asked why they wanted a picture with me and was only told that it was a “pledge thing;” I assumed they were just goofing around. I remain close friends with a member of TKE from that pledge class and see him every day, so one can see why I was surprised that even after “dialogue was opened up within the house regarding the issue” and the brothers had “meaningful discourse” (according to the column by alumni Guthrie and Gagnard), I was still never told about the true meaning of the incident. On a different note, I wish that the article’s author or the authors of the original statement to TKS had thought to contact me.

I cannot express in words the hurt and humiliation I feel for both myself and the other woman who was dragged into this hazing episode. But the worst part, personally, is that I considered myself a friend to several of last year’s TKE pledge class, and while they looked on, knowing what the picture implied, not one had the courage to stop such a demeaning act.

I consider Knox a mirror of society’s absurdly high standards for women’s appearances. I am struck every day by the underlying fetish for women who are slim or even underweight, as well as the stigma against average-sized women. I am a healthy size ten and I am also a human being who does not consider herself to fit into categories associated with “fat chick” or “beast”, however Mr. Perry means to define them. Perhaps the next time the perpetrator of this prank is intoxicated, he will consider his extravagant standards, as the article implied TKE’s perspective that we “fat chicks” are only good for drunken one-night stands.

Further than this, I believe that the members of Tau Kappa Epsilon should apologize to all of the women of this campus. Whether or not they discussed their attitudes towards women amongst themselves is irrelevant to the fact that, in humiliating two women, they have projected their objectifying attitudes onto every woman on this campus.

I am making this letter anonymous because I do not want to be judged by my weight every time I walk across campus any more than I already am. I also will not name the gentleman who participated in that picture with me, as I’m sure he doesn’t want to be judged as a heartless misogynist more than he already is.

Though I like to believe that all are innocent until proven otherwise, I hope that the exposition of TKE’s attitudes and practices will prompt further exploration into possible prejudicial actions carried out by any campus organizations.

Thank you.

Anonymous Contributor

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