Heading back to campus just now, after a lovely sushi lunch with a friend (an indulgence, yes, but it felt appropriate on such a beautiful afternoon), I cycled past an undergraduate girl who was standing on the sidewalk chatting with a friend. While she was wearing a T-shirt on top, she appeared to be wearing little more than a teeny string bikini on her bottom. If she had been on the beach or near a pool — heck, even if she had been standing up to her ankles in the lukewarm water of a kiddie pool, it would have made a bit of sense. But the fact was, there was no water to be found. She did not appear to be engaging in any kind of activity that would require a this-is-only-hanging-on-thanks-to-two-bits-of-string-tied-in-bows-at-my-slim-hips garment.
Sorry to harp on about undergrads, but it’s hard to be on campus these days and not notice them. It’s also almost impossible not to notice the scads of young female flesh on display. From short-shorts and mini-dresses, to the self-improvement jobs they do on their easy-to-identitfy-I’m-new-frosh T-shirts, the young women on this campus seem intent on using their perfectly tanned skin as a means of fitting in on campus.
I suppose, however, that rampant sexuality has always been part of the frosh experience, right? I was out with some people yesterday and we got talking about the current state of today’s incoming undergrads. One person mentioned that he had a friend who had attended Queen’s in the 70s (don’t quote me – but I think that’s what he said) and she (along with the other young women in her cohort) were expected to wear t-shirts and shorts the whole week, and were continually being soaked down with water and then being forced to do sexually charged hazing rituals.
Indeed, though things have been seriously toned down in our P.C. era (not that any young women are complaining, thank you very much) the sexual undertones continue to dominate the mood this week. Even the main chant many of the frosh are expected to respond to is inherently about feeling (orgasmically) goooooooooood. It goes like this:
frosh leader: Hey Frosh- how do you feel?
frosh response (in any size group, any gender): We feel good, we feel sooooo good, uh uh (a grunting, sexually suggestive noise, accompanied by a forward hip thrust).
Call me prudish, but I do find myself wondering why, as a society, we insist on pushing the university-equals-sex mantra on our eager young students? I know that first year university students are supposed to be all about getting-it-on, but really– can’t we leave them to their own devices on this one? Do we have to build it in to the welcome-to-university curriculum? Do they have to be taught the grunting chants and hip thrusts? And can’t we figure out a way to let young women feel smart and beautiful – without having them feel that the only way to achieve it is through amount of skin bared?
Ok- rant over. I’m going to go back to being a quiet grad student, spending friday afternoon at the library, trying to assuage the guilt of not having done anything scholastic in waaaaaay too long. Happy weekending!